Design & planning

Technical architect

Technical architects help plan, design and build IT systems for clients.

Annual Salary

£40,000 to £80,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 40

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Technical architect jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You’ll work closely with project managers, software developers and designers to build IT systems. These could be for things like designing the structure of a new health patient record system, or integrating several client websites into one.

Your main duties will be to make sure that each part of the overall IT system:

  • works together with the other parts as planned
  • satisfies the requirements of the client
  • meets the needs of users 

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • finding out 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, and 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 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.

University

You'll normally need a degree or postgraduate qualification. Relevant subjects include:

  • computer science or computer engineering
  • information management systems
  • business information systems
  • software development
  • mathematics

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

Apprenticeship

You could 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.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a degree apprenticeship

Other Routes

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 and what they can do for the client. Many employers will look for a background in systems development, analysis, programming or testing.

Employers will also want to see strengths in non-technical areas like client management, communication and leadership. This is because they place importance on the ability to communicate the client's requirements to technical teams, and to manage demands on time and resources.

Experience of project management methods like PRINCE2 will be helpful along with a working knowledge of project development and information management practices like Agile and ITIL.

£40,000 to £80,000

Starter salary: £40,000 to £50,000

Experienced salary: up to £60,000

These figures are a guide.

37 to 40

You’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week. You may need to work some evenings and weekends to meet deadlines.

You’ll mainly office-based. You may sometimes travel to meet clients which could include overnight stays away from home.

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.

The Tech Partnership and the Chartered Institute for IT have more information on becoming a technical architect.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • programming skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • planning and negotiation skills 
  • the ability to explain ideas clearly
  • the ability to work effectively under pressure and to deadlines
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