What does a software architect do?

As a software architect, you are a leader on one or more software development teams. You are instrumental in planning and designing the basic function of software applications depending on the client's specifications and needs. You also communicate with the project stakeholders about the issues that they are experiencing and address those problems. A software architect tracks each software application component to ensure that the developers build a stable framework. You identify bugs, correct code, and run tests to ensure the software application works correctly, tracking patches and major changes.

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What is the average salary of a software architect?

A software architect's annual salary can range between $65,210 and $170,100 according to a 2018 report by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average salary for a professional software architect is approximately $110,140. This salary may change depending on many factors, including location, the company's industry, level of experience, and qualifications and certifications.


software architect

Working as a software architect

As a software architect, you will be in charge of designing and organizing a software system. That means managing every component required for software development. The role also involves configuring how every part of the system interacts with each other. You will be responsible for determining the application of software design principles and the suitable environment for deploying the software system. Your work will also involve planning for software upgrades. To perform this job effectively, you need the capacity to evaluate software requirements and develop them into a system. 

What are the responsibilities of a software architect? 

Software architects are expert-level software developers who communicate with clients and businesses to design and implement solutions with software development teams. As a software architect, you will make software design decisions and often act as a designer, a developer, and a communicator. Your responsibilities as a software architect also include:

  • Collaborating with different stakeholders to establish software requirements
  • Evaluating, identifying, and creating software solutions
  • Analyzing projects' technical needs to determine which technologies, standards, and tools are most suitable
  • Defining the design and architecture principles and needs to create the technical guides of a project
  • Developing high-level product designs and specifications 
  • Providing the software development teams with detailed architectural blueprints 
  • Ensuring that the right software products are developed by communicating their specifications to the team
  • Directing and assisting the software teams throughout the development process
  • Troubleshooting and resolving problems with software design or coding
  • Planning, scheduling, and tracking software deliverables
  • Setting goals and presenting frequent progress reports 
  • Ensuring that the developed products are scalable for future changes and updates  
  • Testing final products to ensure they are functional and meet client requirements
  • Updating software solutions when necessary
  • Training and overseeing all the activities of the software development team
  • Locating and finding solutions for challenges involving hardware interface and software applications
  • Recording and documenting each aspect of the software application

What type of equipment does a software architect use? 

Software architecture tools are essential to your success as a software architect. They help in graphical code rendering, giving you a common software framework to build from. They are also important during code review, functionality tests, bug control, documentation, version control, and more. Here are some of the common tools that you will use as a software architect:

  • Lucidchart – you can use this visualization tool to create development diagrams and flowcharts or other architectural designs in real-time.
  • Draw.io – you can simultaneously use this tool's responsive interface to create architectural layouts and diagrams with other developers.
  • Mermaid.js – With Mermaid.js, your software teams can create different models and simple documentation while stressing version control.
  • Graphviz – This visualization tool allows you to access different software development layouts, including radial, multiscale, and hierarchical. 
  • Visual Paradigm – Individual programmers and DevOps teams can use this tool to efficiently display the development process, design class diagrams, and create system documentation.

What is the work environment of a software architect? 

For the most part, software architects work from an office setting although some telecommuting opportunities might be available. Although you should be in a position to work with computers for long periods, working as a software architect is not a stressful job. However, you'll need to communicate effectively with the low-level software engineers and the business. Software architecture is usually deadline-based. While you mostly work during normal business hours and possibly occasionally on weekdays, overtime may be required to meet deadlines. 

Industry hazards

The primary hazards that you will face as a software architect are conditions that arise from remaining seated for long periods. These include carpal tunnel, back problems, eye strain and depression. However, you'll typically have a top-notch insurance program to help you offset these minor issues. Additionally, many software companies have initiatives to get employees up and moving around such as step challenges and health-food potlucks.

Who are your colleagues as a software architect? 

As a software architect, you'll report to a lead architect, software development manager, or IT manager. In big companies, they may report to the project manager or senior software engineer. As a software architect, you'll work with different IT professionals, including software developers, system analysts, programmers, software developers, and system testers. Also, you will regularly consult with businesses, clients, IT security experts, internal stakeholders, and other engineers.

What is the work schedule of a software architect? 

As a software architect, you are usually a full-time salaried employee, but there are opportunities for contract positions or freelance. If you are a full-time employee, you'll work from about 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. in an office environment with your software development team. Sometimes, your employer might request you to work extra hours on weekends or weekday evenings to meet scheduled project goals. The best thing is that allowances may be available in such cases. Working as a software architect also allows you to conduct some of your tasks remotely or collaborate with your team members as they work off-site.


What is the career outlook for a software architect?

Like all other aspects of software application development, the software architecture is growing and is projected to continue growing. That's because software development is increasingly complex, meaning that more people are needed to make top-level decisions concerning software development. Software architects may seek career development in top-level management positions, especially in software development firms. Many people start their own businesses or work independently, which often comes with more lucrative salaries.

What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a software architect? 

Spherion is a popular staffing organization with countless connections with different IT corporations and industries. Regardless of where you want to work from, Spherion has the local connections to place you with reputable IT employers. Getting a software architect position via Spherion.com provides you with many benefits, including:

  • Seasoned and reliable recruiters to assist you during your job search
  • Access to the most sought-after jobs in your location
  • Flexible working schedules
  • Access to career advancement training, resources, and skills to boost your resume
  • Permanent and temporary job contracts
  • Smooth job interviews
  • Flexible payment schedules

What education do you need as a software architect?

You need a strong educational background to work effectively as a software architect. Employers prefer to hire applicants with a bachelor's degree in software engineering, IT, or computer science. A degree in related fields is also acceptable. You also need robust knowledge of datastores and the ability to demonstrate expertise in building enterprise applications, web applications, and web services. 

A master's degree is usually a plus, but it's not a basic requirement. Some companies also look for candidates with education or training specific to their industry while others prefer applicants with relevant certifications from recognized institutions.


Since a software architect job is not an entry-level position, industry experience is important. The amount of experience that you need depends on the organization's size and your industry. Generally, applicants need four or five years of experience in a software developer or software engineer role to attain the necessary knowledge and technical skills. Some candidates gain this experience by starting as programmers and working their way up to top-level positions. Others gain experience by pursuing relevant internships or entry-level positions while they're still in college. Most employers prefer hiring applicants who've worked with software development teams too.

Skills & competencies

You'll need a strong IT background to be a software architect. You should also have experience in software design and the capacity to develop a path from brainstorming ideas to the finished software. Apart from academic qualifications and industry experience, you'll also need the following skills to succeed:

  • Outstanding communication and presentation abilities
  • Excellent leadership and organizational skills
  • Good project management skills
  • Analytical mindset with attention to detail
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • Team management skills




Software architects make software choices and oversee technical standards throughout the software development process. Learn the answers to commonly asked questions about becoming a software architect below.

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