- Help plan, design and build IT systems for clients
- You'll need programming, problem-solving, planning, and negotiation skills
- You could progress to become a senior technical architect, or specialise in an area like finance or security
Technical architects work on IT systems rather than buildings. They work closely with project managers, software developers, and designers to build computer systems for websites, data storage, or other IT projects. For example these might be projects like designing the structure of a new health patient record system, or integrating several client websites into one.
You'll work to ensure that the IT system works together with the other parts as planned, satisfies the requirements of the client, and meets the needs of users.
- Finding out about the client's needs
- Breaking down large system requirements into manageable parts
- Researching 'off-the-shelf' products to see whether they'll be more suitable than building a new system
- Presenting plans to clients and agreeing how to carry them out
- Explaining the structure to designers and developers
- Helping them build it
- Developing and carrying out tests to make sure everything works properly
- Making sure systems meet quality and security standards
- Keeping accurate records of steps and decisions taken
- Keeping project managers informed of progress
- Advising senior managers about how to plan their future IT needs
You'll normally be mainly office-based, but you may sometimes travel to meet clients which could include overnight stays away from home.
To become a technical architect you'll need to gain experience in systems development, analysis, computer programming or testing, and you'll need programming skills, problem-solving skills, planning and negotiation skills, the ability to explain ideas clearly, and the ability to work effectively under pressure and to deadlines.
Some technical architects will start by doing a degree or postgraduate qualification in a relevant area like business information systems, computer science or computer engineering, information management systems, mathematics, or software development.
However, you could also get into this job through a degree apprenticeship, training as a digital and technology solutions professional. You could then move on to a digital and technology solution specialist degree apprenticeship, which is at postgraduate level.
Or, you could start with a company in a job like programming and work your way up through internal training and promotion.
You could apply to companies directly if you've got relevant skills and knowledge - you'll need a broad understanding of the available technologies, so a background in systems development, analysis, programming or testing might be useful.
You'll need to gain knowledge and experience of relevant programming languages, frameworks and processes - you could gain some of this knowledge by completing online courses.
Experience of project management methods like PRINCE2, Agile and ITIL will also be helpful.
You might specialise in part of a system's framework, like security. Or you might be responsible for the entire process, supervising the development team until the project's completed.
With experience, you could progress to senior architect, or specialise in a particular field, like finance or security. You could also move into broader IT project management roles, strategy planning or consultancy.