Nowadays, lots of companies need system architects to take care of their digital world. If you are excited to try this career path, you need to understand what it’s about and what skills you should have.
As a system architect, I know how challenging it is to step into this industry. But don’t worry! I will show you how to become a system architect in seven steps.
A system architect creates and maintains computer systems. They also develop systems that can perform intended tasks.
Each system serves a specific purpose, and the system architects ensure their optimal performance. For example, if they design a website, its server should be powerful enough to handle all the people who want to visit it.
There are different types of design that system architects work with. The most common ones are:
- Integrated: This design combines all the elements of the system to do a specific task.
- Distributed: In this style, the parts of the system are separate. However, they run on the same network.
- Pooled: The system components work separately. Yet, they will come together to work more powerfully when needed.
- Converged: This style refers to when the system parts are separate but work together as a team.
System architects do important tech work for their companies. I’m taking this role, and there are many tasks to handle in a day.
Before starting any project, I learn what my company wants to achieve. So I talk with business strategists and company leaders. Together, we discuss the company’s goals and plans.
Then, I translate those goals into IT needs. This way, I can list things my company can get in the short and long term.
After that, I analyze what I need for the project. To do it, I create documents for each project. And in every document, I try to outline all the IT needs.
There are many things to put in the documents. They can be the purposes of the project and slime key features. I also include the hardware and software solutions for it.
Another aspect of the project is human resources. So, I mention it in the documents too. My team needs the right people for the right task to maximize our productivity.
Next, I design the IT setup. Many factors influence the final design. For example, I check the existing IT systems first. Then, I find new technologies that can work well for the project.
Costs are important, too. I also have to analyze user needs and available staff. My goal is to find the best practices to give the most effective design.
I don’t just focus on separate tech pieces. Instead, as a system architect, I consider how everything can fit together.
So, I look at how new systems may work with existing ones. Then, I consider how users can interact with the end result.
I work closely with my team to run projects. During each project, I advise on the design, testing, and deployment phases.
I also listen to feedback from users and engineers. They can help the final result align with user needs and business goals.
The journey to becoming a system architect is long. In general, there are seven steps to take on this road.
You need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or technical management. If you want to level up, consider getting a master’s degree in professional IT. An MBA is also a big plus.
Studying for the degree will help you learn many things about web design and databases. Computer networks are often part of the course, too.
Besides, some schools offer specialized programs. For example, you can dig deeper into programming, security, and software engineering. The knowledge you receive will help with your job in the future.
Aside from the degree, you can also get some certifications. They prove to employers that you know their technical stuff.
Moreover, your certifications will make you shine among your competitors when they look at your job applications.
Some jobs need special skills, and certifications can help. Then, you have more job choices and become an excellent system architect that every business wants.
There are some certificates for system architects, such as:
- IT certification: This certification demonstrates you can handle different IT-related tasks.
- Technical architect certification: You can get the technical architect certification using your computer system skills.
- Framework certification: If you want to focus on architectural frameworks, this option is what you need.
If you want to know about working in tech, knowledge is not enough. Instead, you should gain as much experience as possible. Luckily, there are ways to do it.
For example, you can try internships. Then, you can get hands-on experience. You will also have a chance to work with professionals in the field.
During your internship, try to learn new things, and don’t be shy to ask. You are a newcomer, so you may make mistakes. Those mistakes are valuable lessons that help you improve yourself.
Other ways to gain experience are joining clubs and short-term projects. They allow you to work in real situations.
Please note that newcomers don’t often get paid well. But it’s not all about money. Instead, you should aim for something else, like experience and relationship. They are even more important than money.
Networking means building relationships with people in the field. It helps a lot with your job. But why so?
When you talk to experts or anyone in IT, you can learn from their experiences. They also give you advice and share their knowledge.
Moreover, sometimes companies don’t advertise their job openings publicly. But their employees may know and tell you about job opportunities.
Skills are essential for system architects to excel in their roles. But what skills should you develop? Of course, it’s good to have as many skills as possible. But the following ones are the most important for your job as a system architect.
Technical skills help you handle the tech aspects of your job. They can be relevant to cloud computing, virtualization, and more.
- Cloud computing: Each company has its own computer systems. Yet, they use a big shared pool: cloud computing. This approach helps them focus on their main tasks without worrying about computer maintenance.
- Virtualization: You will work with many storage devices and network resources. In this case, consider creating a virtual version for each. Then, you can easily divide them across different platforms.
- System architecture: The system architecture is about planning how computer systems work. This technique shows all the components inside them and how they fit together.
- IT security and management: In this regard, you decide to organize things in the systems. Then, keep them safe from hackers. This skill involves managing budgets, too.
- Research: As a system architect, you dig up information to choose the best methods and tools for your projects.
Soft skills are equally important for your future job. Here is what you need to work on:
- Analytics: This skill helps you analyze data and use it to make wise decisions. It can also help you spot technical trends and tackle problems easily.
- Communication: You will work with your team members, users, and stakeholders. So you need communication skills to maintain trust.
- Creativity: You need your creativity to find solutions to new problems. It also assists you in developing business plans for your projects.
- Problem-solving: There are often issues with computer systems. As a system network, you need to keep an eye on them and solve them as soon as possible.
- Project management: A project has many stages, each stage with many things to handle. To ensure it goes smoothly, you need project management skills. Then, with the help of teamwork, you can achieve goals within the specified time frame.
After you get a degree and experience, you can make a resume to apply for your job. Here are some tips for creating a strong resume:
- Highlight your skills: System architects need lots of skills. So make your resume better by picking the most important skills for the position.
- No hard words: Sometimes, the people hiring you don’t know all the tech words. So avoid too many tricky terms. Instead, use them when the interviewers ask you to discuss your job in detail.
- Show achievements: Do not talk about everything you have done. It’s better to show what you accomplished.
- Keep it updated: Your resume may change over time as you gain more experience. Thus, include the newest things about you in the resume so the employers know what you exactly have.
The final step is to apply for the system architect position. You can look online on job websites or ask people around you.
Remember to search different job titles to find more opportunities. Companies may use different names for system architects, such as IT architects, IT analysts, enterprise architects, or system analysts.
As of 2023, the average annual salary for system architects is around $131,599. It’s a high salary range!
You can also negotiate your salary. As long as you know how to showcase your skills and expertise, employers are willing to pay you.
Plus, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for this job can grow 7% from 2023-2043. There are over 11,000 openings yearly.
Furthermore, even in the next decade, the demand for system architects is still high. Whether companies want to develop new computer systems or improve their current ones, they need experts to handle those tasks.
System architects work in this industry for different reasons. Generally, the benefits of taking this role are as follows:
- High demand: Businesses nowadays rely on technology for many of their activities. Thus, the demand is high, giving more job opportunities.
- High salary: The average salary for network architects is high, too.
- Career advancement: The experience you gain as a network architect will open doors to higher-level positions.
- Critical role: Your work influences your company’s technological capabilities. Hence, you are an important member.
- Job satisfaction: You will never get bored. Trust me! Although I encounter many challenges, I always feel excited when overcoming them.
- Constant learning: Because technology constantly changes, you will continuously learn.
Many businesses need computer help. Thus, system architects can work in many different industries. They can be finance, retail, or healthcare.
As a system architect, you can help your company to plan and design their tech systems. You will either work on specific projects or ongoing work.
If you don’t want a nine-to-five job, consider freelancing. Then, you can choose your hours and work for different clients.
After years of working in the field, you can start your own business. This way, you can use your expertise to help other companies with their technical stuff.
The path to becoming a system architect is challenging yet exciting. You can make your dream come true as long as you work hard. Then, you will contribute to the digital world of modern businesses.
So, take the steps above and keep your goal in mind. You may want to quit sometimes, and so do I. But before giving up, think about why you started. Finally, you can get what you dream of!
Thank you for reading!