A technical architect specializes in the design and implementation of IT systems. Explore the skill sets and required career paths to become a successful TA.
► Compare TA's role to other IT architects!
A technical architect is a job position within a business or enterprise that designs, implements, and maintains IT systems. In their role as IT specialists, tech architects will usually have an in-depth proficiency in one single technology (eg. SAP, Java. Python, etc).
Technical architecture involves the need to develop technical blueprints with regard to the arrangement, interaction, and interdependence of all elements so that system-relevant requirements are met.
The role of a technical architect differentiates from enterprise architects or solutions architects. These roles will develop a strategy and decide which IT solutions should be implemented. Specific tasks will then be delegated to the technical architects.
Continue to find the roles and responsibilities of a technical architect, career paths, and how it differentiates from other IT roles.
A technical architect is a specialized IT position that completes specific technical tasks within an enterprise. They are the experts in one area of technology and just like data or information architects, they fall under the umbrella of domain architects. Their responsibilities include designing the structure of new technology systems and overseeing program implementation.
Tech architects work alongside enterprise architects and other IT roles to deliver technical solutions while managing large teams of developers and IT specialists. They can be seen as technical project managers who perform an analysis of single applications and their design specifications, and thus, define best practices.
The role of a tech architect will vary based on a project to project. After enterprise architects and solution architects have decided on a strategy and the type of IT solutions, they assign specific tasks to technical architects. In their role as IT specialists, they have the most hands-on approach and in-depth proficiency in one single technology. That is the reason why they’re often named after their area of expertise, e.g. Java, Python, or SAP technical architect.
From a top-to-bottom view, technical architects are the closest to the end-user, keeping an eye on the actual usability and functionality of the technology at hand. This could mean tracking things like effectiveness by doing post-execution reviews with solution architects.
Since every project will be different, TAs can have a variety of day-to-day responsibilities. It spans from producing documents and diagrams for their technical team to informing stakeholders on potential threats and making technology recommendations.
The majority of their time goes into creating architecture implementation plans by gathering requirements and breaking down the project into manageable chunks. They will also be delegating and managing a team of IT experts. During project execution, technical architects closely monitor the progress and keep solution architects informed.
A common technical architect's role myth is that they are required to have an expert understanding of all technical languages, programs, and systems. This is unnecessary, and most tech architects will be specialized in one or two different areas. They will also be managing a team of high-level devs who will be able to implement all project requirements as needed.
This relates to another technical architect myth – that only hard skills are required to be a successful technical architect. The role also requires good communication and people skills to be able to relay information precisely and motivate IT teams.
Tech architects require a combination of hard and soft skills to be successful in the role. Hard skills include specific qualifications and training in certain technologies, while soft skills include communication and people skills.
Hard skills required by technical architects are:
As well as hard skills, tech architects are required to have advanced problem-solving skills and the ability to project manage. This involves great interpersonal skills, so they can successfully communicate and collaborate with stakeholders and team members.
Since IT projects usually have tight deadlines, TAs need to be able to prioritize workload, anticipate problems and delegate tasks to other team members.
To begin a career as a technical architect, you will need to have the following qualifications:
Technical architects have many important responsibilities within the life cycle of a project. Main responsibilities include:
The average salary for a technical architect can range from $79,000 to $161,000 annually depending on how much experience the candidate has. The average technical architecture salary in the United States is currently $119,352.
A technical architect’s salary expectations will range based on experience, achieved certifications, and qualifications. As it’s a critical, hands-on role within enterprise architecture, the position is well-paid and highly sought-after.
|Level||Average Salary||Time in Role|
|Experienced TA||$123,000 - $158,000||10+ years|
|Technical Architect||$110,000||5-9 years|
|Entry-level TA||$75,000 - $88,000||1-4 years|
There are several career paths that lead to a career in technical architecture. Most begin their early careers in areas such as systems development, programming, or testing. Many also start out in software engineering following their education, which teaches prospective TAs how to build and install various applications.
As technical architecture is a managerial position, soft skills will need to be developed in tandem with hands-on IT experience. Transitioning into leadership roles will help candidates develop the management skills necessary to become a TA.
Following a career in technical architecture, candidates can move into a senior architecture position such as solution architect or enterprise architect. Some also move into high-level CTO positions or use the skills they’ve learned as a TA to become an IT consultant.
Many employers will require their technical architects to have received certain certifications, which prove proficiency in various areas of the practice. The most important technical architect certifications are:
Technical architects will rely on a variety of tools to achieve their goals and manage their projects. Modern enterprises require such tools that facilitate the upgrades and implementation of IT systems.
They will work with tools that design IT infrastructure, produce diagrams, and are able to establish enterprise architecture. Therefore, selecting the best architect tools for any project or enterprise is essential.
The LeanIX EAM is designed for architects to manage the transformation and risk of an organization’s IT landscape. It utilizes collaboration for data-driven decisions and manages change by applying an outcome-driven approach.
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To be a successful TA, candidates must be highly skilled in the structure of IT systems, manage teams, and deliver solutions. The main TA's values include:
While tech architects will be involved with software engineering, their role is more focused on planning and designing systems. Software engineers, on the other hand, will usually be responsible for implementing those plans in the desired language.
Having said this, the roles and responsibilities of both positions will occasionally overlap. Technical architects are required to have in-depth knowledge of IT systems and to lead a team of software developers.
Technical architecture is a highly specialized role focused on IT systems, infrastructure, and networking. A principal architect, however, will have a broader set of responsibilities.
Their focus may be on business domains, a large implementation project, or the entire enterprise. It’s also a title used to signal a level of (experience) superiority over other architects in the team.
Application architecture is invested in the building blocks of application design. They design models and flow charts that track the behavior of applications used throughout a business. They focus on the relationships between them; e.g. how they interact with each other and with users.
Tech architects are concerned with designing, updating, or implementing IT systems within an enterprise, with the goal of improving its value and executing solutions. Both application architects and TAs may work together on projects which require application oversight.
While both roles are similar in nature, software architects work with software components such as programming languages, IDEs, libraries, APIs, etc. – the fundamental structures of a software system.
Tech architects are responsible for leading IT teams to ensure technology developed is aligned with the functional and non-functional requirements of the business. They design and map out strategies, and guide other IT experts and specialists on the right course of action to achieve the desired outcome.
Both tech architects and technical managers are in charge of overseeing the development, implementation, and maintenance of IT systems and processes. However, they are each responsible for different aspects of the project.
Tech architects will be focused on the system design and establish the most appropriate and sustainable technology solution for the business need. Technical managers, on the other hand, will take on responsibility for the operational aspects, e.g. budget, staffing, and delivery.
Technical architects are part of a wider network of interconnected IT architects who work closely together on individual aspects of large enterprise-wide projects.
They will work directly with enterprise architects, solutions architects, business architects, etc. to manage as-is state and transform them into future state architecture designed to improve day-to-day business processes.
The core competencies of IT architecture
How to become an Enterprise Architect
How to become a Solution Architect
How to become a Technical Architect
The daily use cases tackled by each role
What is a technical architect?
A technical architect is a specialized, hands-on role that is concerned with the development, implementation, and maintenance of IT systems. They have in-depth proficiency in one single technology and are often named after their area of knowledge, e.g. Java or Python architect.
What makes a good technical architect?
A successful technical architect requires a strong knowledge of IT and software systems – and the experience to back it up. However, they are required to have strong interpersonal skills to communicate and collaborate with project managers and teams of software developers.
What does a technical architect do?
Technical architects are IT specialists who develop the technical blueprints required to upgrade or implement IT systems within an enterprise. They will also delegate activities to a team of software developers, and collaborate with solutions architects, stakeholders, and project managers to assure compliance.
They are the closest to the end-user, so they are the ones that ensure the usability and functionality of the respective technology. This involves tracking its effectiveness by conducting post-execution reviews.
What is required to become a technical architect?
To become a technical architect, candidates need a degree or postgraduate degree in IT, software engineering, or equivalent. They will also need several years of experience in IT and software development before moving into more senior, managerial positions.
They will also need specialized certifications and soft skills to be successful in the role.
What is the career path of a technical architect?
Most technical architects come from a software engineering background, where they will deepen their knowledge of computer systems and programming languages. From here, most will move into more senior positions, such as team leads. Candidates will also want experience in project management roles before transitioning to architectural positions.
What is the salary of a technical architect?
The average salary for a technical architect can range from $79,000 to $161,000 annually, depending on their experience, training, and certifications.
How many years does it take to become a technical architect?
You can become a technical architect if you have the right educational background and experience to be successful in the role. As a highly specialized position, it’s likely to take 5-10 years of work in a relevant field, before you can confidently transition into the position.