What is an Applications Architect and How Do I Become One?

FT Contributor  | 

An applications architect is in charge of the design, development, and implementation of applications for clients, consumers, or organizations.

In this career, you focus on planning application development and getting different application components to work together in a reliable and scalable system.

An applications architect has a leadership role. In this position, you help build a team of developers and offer both professional and technical support as you direct different aspects of the project.

An applications architect is different than a technical architect. While an applications architect is concerned with the design and development of applications that address the business needs of an organization, a technical architect is involved in finding ways to improve existing systems and software. Technical architects design those changes or help companies implement available software to meet their needs.

Applications Architect Job Description

An applications architect designs and oversees the development and implementation of specialized applications for different projects, processes, and functions within a business or organization. In this career, you not only design and plan the applications to meet specific business needs, but you also develop the process that your team of developers uses to create and implement the applications.

As an applications architect, you help create and organize a team of developers, designers, and other professionals to develop your applications. You also ensure that the group meets technical requirements set out by the client or employer and follows proper testing and documentation procedures. Additionally, applications architects provide technical support to team members. In some cases, you may train developers so that they know how to handle their project duties.

In this career, you also work with non-technical employees to ensure that the software tools you design and develop meet the needs of the company. You may also share your development plans with senior leadership in the company.

In this position, you may perform coding duties or provide technical support to the developers who write code for the applications. Also, you oversee other phases of development, such as the tests that ensure that the different components of an application work smoothly together. Depending on the project, you may work with software developers to ensure that the application works within the wider IT systems of the company or organization.

Finally, applications architects create technical documents that detail the development and proper usage of their applications. Companies can use this documentation for future changes or updates.

What Is an Applications Architect’s Salary?

The average salary for an applications architect in the United States is $113,757. Application architects are senior members of a company’s technical department. Such leadership roles are typically high paying compared to other IT and computer-related positions.

Though applications architects work regular hours, they may need to handle responsibilities on evenings and weekends during development projects.

Applications architects can work for any company that relies on computerized systems as part of their operation. In today’s economy, virtually every major company has the need for applications architects. Some experienced professionals in this field work for clients on a per-project basis or for software companies that provide solutions for businesses.

What Are the Qualifications for Becoming an Applications Architect?

To become an applications architect, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or computer programming. A bachelor’s degree is often the minimum requirement for entry-level developer positions that could lead to a senior applications architect job in the future. You can enhance your career prospects and move to senior roles quickly with a master’s degree in computer science or a related field.

Applications architects need programming skills and the ability to plan a software development project from beginning to end. Often, companies expect people in these positions to be familiar with development methodologies such as DevOps, Agile, and Scrum.

Applications architects need to create customized solutions, so they must have strong problem-solving skills and the creativity to design solutions for specific requirements.

This role involves leadership and guiding other team members. Applications architects need to be able to work well with others and communicate with both technical and nontechnical employees. You also need the authority to delegate tasks and keep team members on schedule. Interpersonal skills are vital for people who want to thrive in this type of technical leadership position.

Applications Architect Career Outlook

In 2018, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that the demand for software developers will grow by 21% by 2028. For application developers, growth in demand over the same period is projected to be 26%.

With more and more products and businesses needing customized applications, the need for applications architects is bound to meet these projections. With the growing demand for software developers and teams, applications architects will also be needed to lead these teams and help them translate business and client needs into actual software.

Should I Become an Applications Architect?

To become an applications architect, you need to be willing to develop specific technical skills and leadership abilities. You also need a willingness to spend time in an entry-level job before rising to an application architect position.

You can obtain an entry-level job with a degree in computer science or a related field. It is helpful to have skills and interest in learning computer languages.

What other qualities should you have or be willing to develop to pursue a career as an applications architect? Applications architects need to have problem-solving skills. This career also requires both analytical ability to define and address the needs of your employer or client and creativity to provide and design solutions that are customized to your employer’s specific needs.

Applications architects delegate tasks, guide other employees and manage teams of developers. All these duties mean that you should have strong leadership skills or be willing to learn and develop your management abilities.


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This post was updated February 19, 2020. It was originally published February 19, 2020.