System Architect Career Overview & Outlook

Computer systems are essential in various industries. Those systems are complex and require specialized knowledge to design parts of the system.

Are you interested in developing networks and computer systems for organizations? You may want to consider a career as a system architect!

Understanding the duties of a system architect can help you understand how those experts operate in their job setting and what credentials you can get to become one. Let’s scroll down to see more.

Job Description

Who Is a System Architect?

Systems architects are generally responsible for the design and implementation of complex systems. They work with many stakeholders, including project managers, software developers, business analysts, and other system architects, to decide how best to build and implement these systems.

These experts must have an excellent understanding of both non-technical and technical issues. They also need to be able to understand and interpret all technical requirements from all relevant parties.

In addition, they need to be able to communicate their ideas effectively and clearly to everyone involved in the process.

Systems architect

Duties and Responsibilities

System architects have various responsibilities, which may include:

  • Recommend new technology solutions to meet business objectives and goals.
  • Create documentation, such as design rationale and design specifications, to help other members understand the design decision process
  • Conduct research on emerging technologies that could impact the system being designed
  • Develop a conceptual model of how the user will interact with the system, including how data will be processed and stored.
  • Review existing systems to decide how they can be updated or improved.
  • Work with designers to make system diagrams showing how system components work together.
  • Identify security risks and how to mitigate them.
  • Determine software and hardware specifications for the system being designed.
  • Serve as a liaison between the development team and other departments within a company.

Where Do System Architects Work?

You can work in various settings as a system architect, including manufacturing and industrial plants, office buildings, computer, and telecommunications companies, research laboratories, and more.

They work a 40-hour week but sometimes work overtime to solve problems and meet deadlines. System architects hired by telecommunications and computer companies may travel to customer sites to repair or install systems.

System architects working in research laboratories may work with dangerous equipment and hazardous materials. As a result, they must follow safety procedures to protect themselves.

Top companies hiring systems architects include HP, Intel, IBM, Amazon, Dell, Northrop Grumman, Oracle, Apple, Nvidia, Cisco, Microsoft, Cisco, GE, Lockheed Martin, and Bank of America.

Education Requirements

Most system architects hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

System architects usually need to have the following qualifications:


Most system architects hold at least a bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, software engineering, or a related field. Many employers favor candidates with a master’s degree in computer science or a related field.

Relevant coursework, including software design, computer programming, mathematics, software development, and business administration, may also help.

Training And Experience

Many firms require their system architects to hold at least five years of experience in the industry. This experience may include working as a computer programmer, a network engineer, and a software engineer. Also, it can consist of working as a technical lead or a project manager.

Also, system architects can gain on-the-job training to learn their company’s specific systems and processes. The training may include learning the company’s computer systems and specific software. It may also include learning about the company’s procedures and processes.


There are certifications available for system architects to consider. Certificates enable you to prove your qualifications and skills potential.

As a system architect, you can also gain certifications to get additional knowledge about your responsibilities and further your career advancement opportunities.

Essential Skills

System architects have many skills for their positions in the IT field, including:

  • Organizational skills: System architects can organize projects and data, requiring a thorough understanding of delegating tasks and organizational management. They should know how to utilize IT tools to organize data.
  • Business management: These professionals commonly possess strong business management skills and understand how a business intersects with growth goals. This will help them align IT goals, components, and projects with company goals and make growth plans.
  • Creativity: As a system architect, you may use creativity to generate unique solutions to design problems and design proprietary hardware and software.
  • IT knowledge: These architects should have extensive knowledge of IT business structures, the IT needs of businesses, and the information technology field.
  • Interpersonal skills: These professionals typically work as part of a larger IT team for their businesses. It will require robust interpersonal skills, including strong written, verbal, and non-verbal communication, compassion or empathy, and active listening skills.
  • Data management: They generally manage data logs for diagnostics and testing, requiring strong data management skills. They should learn how to gather, organize and store data accurately and correctly in digital storage solutions.
  • Computer science: System architects are experts in computer science & architecture. It will help them identify the IT needs of their companies and assist in the design process by determining the correct procedures and necessary components.
  • Problem-solving: These skills will enable you to determine issues, create solutions, and implement them. As a system architect, you may be responsible for resolving problems in your system. The ability to identify the problem, create potential solutions, and implement the most effective one will help you solve the issue efficiently and quickly.
  • Leadership: System architects may be responsible for managing a team of IT professionals. So leadership skills will help them motivate their team and encourage members to work together to reach common goals. These skills can also help them guide their team through challenges and help them develop their leadership skills.

Essential Tools

Regarding system architecture, having the proper tools is essential. Here is the list of the eight best system architect tools:

  • IBM Rational Software Architect Designer.
  • Microsoft Visio.
  • Sparx Systems.
  • Archi.
  • Lucidscale.
  • Modelio.
  • ArgoUML.
  • Oracle Enterprise Architecture.

Job Outlook

Computer network architects, including system architects, have a bright future.

According to the BLS, computer network architects, including system architects, can enjoy an above-average increase from 2019 to 2029. The job growth outlook is faster than average for all jobs through 2029.

That increase results from constant advancements in technology, increased use of the wireless network, the high demand for workers to use computer systems that work well with those networks, and more.


The average annual salary for a systems architect in the United States is $131,599. It equates to $63.27 per hour, $2,530 per week, and $10,966 per month.

Most systems architects’ salaries range from $108,000 to $148,500, with top earners making about $167,500 annually across the US.

The average pay range for a Systems Architect greatly varies (by as much as $40,500), showing there may be many chances for advancement and increased pay based on location, skill level, years of experience, and many other factors.

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Can make decent money.
  • Can work for various clients.
  • Can have decent job prospects.
  • May be able to travel the world.
  • Do not work many extra hours.
  • Have a decent work-life balance
  • Have free weekends and holidays.
  • Can start your own architecture company.
  • Healthy mix between hands-on work and office work.
  • Work most of the time indoors.
  • Teleworking may be possible.
  • Do not have to do heavy physical work.
  • Teleworking may be possible.


  • Can be stressful.
  • Clients can be demanding.


Can System Architects Work Remotely?

As an architect, you may quite often work from home. But you will sometimes also have to be present at the client’s homes. If you do not have meetings, you can work remotely and save much time commuting to work.

You will be more flexible about how to structure your day and can take a break from your architecture work to do some personal work.

Do System Architects Have Free Weekends and Holidays?

Not only will these professionals often have relatively short workdays, but they will also be able to enjoy holidays and free weekends. While they may take it for granted, many still must work during these unpleasant times.

As a system architect, you do not have to work during those times and can rather enjoy great weekend trips or barbecues with your friends and family.

Do Architects Have to Work Many Extra Hours?

Another benefit of working as a system architect is that you’ll also not have to work many extra hours. The truth is that many architects work less than 40 hours, and some of them even work significantly less.

Besides, you will have lots of freedom regarding structuring your workday. For example, if you do the best work in the morning, you can get up early and finish your workday within several hours. Sure, you’ll also have some meetings.

Is Being a System Architect Stressful?

One of the disadvantages of being a system architect is that it can also be stressful. You will normally have significant time pressure while you still must accurately do your work to avoid all mistakes that could cause serious accidents.

Especially if you have to work on various projects at the same time, your stress level will be enormous. So you should know how to handle these situations properly. Otherwise, you will get into dangerous territory.

You might also be shocked about all the norms that you have to comply with, and it can be really annoying to deal with those things.

Career Advice

If you’re looking for a talented and durable computer-related career, you might consider system architecture.

A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and further training, such as an online Bootcamp, may be sufficient to help you get an entry-level position.

You may also take classes to acquire essential knowledge and skills preferred by employers. There are alternative ways to acquire expertise, such as intense courses and boot camps.

Potential employers would want to know that you feel comfortable solving problems, communicating, and working in a team setting. That’s where soft skills come in handy.

Thank you for your interest in the article!