IT Architect Job Description
Information technology (IT) architects build computer systems based on the needs of the employer or client. Just like traditional architects design and construct houses to fit owner specifications, IT architects create information systems based on the requirements of a business. Simply put, IT architects are strategists who solve business problems using technology.
IT architects generally hold full-time positions in offices. Overtime may be required, especially when nearing the time of implementing a new system. Since so many industries depend on technology, IT architects have a variety of employment options.
IT Architect Duties and Responsibilities
IT architecture is an intersection of business, technology, and creativity. It involves first understanding what a company wants to accomplish and then employing knowledge of computer systems to design a solution. Some core tasks IT architects perform include:
Serving as a Liaison
IT architects work with a variety of people. They talk to leaders in the company to understand what the business wants to achieve, such as more efficient ways of processing orders. They then explain objectives to the tech team and provide instructions on how to go about creating what is desired.
Safety must always be on an IT architect’s mind, whether that means protecting patient confidentiality at a healthcare organization or financial information at a bank. Besides setting up a secure system, periodic tests have to be run to ensure nothing is being tampered with, leaked, or lost.
What changes may make the database easier to manipulate? What additions would be helpful? How might software upgrades work on existing computers? The job of an IT architect is not over once a system is built. Rather, this tech professional listens to users and institutes improvements as necessary.
IT architects oftentimes summarize the details of the system in written form. This document serves as a point of reference and as an evaluation of how well objectives were met. The report also may include suggestions for the future, such as equipment upgrades or periodic testing procedures.
IT Architect Skills
Technical knowledge may be at the heart of achieving success as an IT architect, but plenty of other qualities help to get a candidate noticed. Hiring managers like to see résumés with evidence of these things:
- Adapting to situations, since problems don’t always follow a textbook format
- Attending to details in order to maintain efficiency and spot potential pitfalls
- Juggling multiple tasks as needed
- Aspiring to stay on top of the field through additional training as needed since technology oftentimes changes quickly
- Communicating in language that non-tech people can understand
- Working well with others since building an IT system involves a team
IT Architect Tools of the trade
Within their work, IT architects often use the following:
- Computers – hardware, software, and parts, such as chips and circuit boards
- Databases – collections of stored, searchable information
- Networks – the connection between computers within a system and the geographic coverage, such as LAN (local area network) and WAN (wide area network)
- Servers – the powerful hardware and software that is central to the operation of the whole computer system
- Computer design software – software used to create a model and test plans
- Upgrades – improvements to ensure the company’s technology continues to meet its needs, such as installing new software or purchasing more powerful hardware
IT Architect Education and Training
IT architects usually hold a bachelor’s degree, though some companies prefer hiring people with a master’s. Coursework in computer science, information systems, business, and math is common. To enhance job prospects, aspiring IT architects may study for vendor certifications offered by companies such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems. A background in the employer’s industry, such as insurance or healthcare, also can be helpful.
IT Architect Resources
Would becoming an IT architect be a good career decision for you? Learn more about what the job entails with these helpful resources:
IT Architecture for Dummies – Breaking down complex topics into language common readers can understand is the hallmark of the “Dummies” series, and this book does just that for prospective IT architects.
How to Become an IT Architect – One reviewer calls this book “a comprehensive guide of the technical and non-technical skills required to be a successful IT architect.” From the rewards of the job to the personalities best suited for such work, aspiring IT architects are sure to gain valuable insight.
Excellence in IT: Achieving Success in an Information Technology Career – For people looking to rise to the top in the field, this book offers advice on subjects such as keeping up with new developments, combating stress, and offering top-notch service.
Cracking the IT Architect Interview – What are employers looking for when hiring IT architects? This book has the answers. One reviewer calls it “an honest attempt to share with practitioners the experiences, learning, insights, and proven methodologies to benefit them in the long run.”
IASA: An Association for All IT Architects – Catch up on industry news. Find out about upcoming networking events. Learn about continuing education possibilities. This trade organization’s website is full of useful topics for IT architects.
Association for Women in Computing – Since 1978, this organization has been helping women advance their computing careers. Mentoring, networking, and continuing education are among the topics covered on its website.
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