Skill sets, Career Paths, and Must-Haves of

Technical Architect

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!

Introduction

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.

 

Who is a technical architect?

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.

enterprise architect vs solution architect vs technical architect

Role

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.

Day-to-day

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.

Myths

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.

Free Poster

Best Practices to Define Business Capability Maps

Business capability modeling is a technique for the representation of an organization’s business anchor model independent of the organization’s structure, processes, people or domains. Get the experience of multiple enterprises combined into a single poster now!

Get the Poster
Best-practices-to-define-business-capability-maps

Skills & qualifications

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

Hard skills required by technical architects are:

  • A degree or postgraduate degree in IT, computer science, or equivalent.
  • At least five years of proven work experience as a system architect, project manager, or equivalent position.
  • Good knowledge of strategic IT solutions and hands-on experience in software development.
  • Extensive knowledge of computer hardware and networking systems. Familiarity with programming languages such as JavaScript, Java, SQL, SAP, Oracle, and C#.
  • Ability to solve complex IT issues.
  • Familiarity with operating systems such as Windows, UNIX, and databases like MySQL.
  • Experience with cloud computing and cloud technologies.

Soft skills

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.

Qualifications

To begin a career as a technical architect, you will need to have the following qualifications:

  • A Bachelor’s or post-graduate degree in IT, computer science, computer engineering, or equivalent.
  • Up-to-date knowledge of software applications, programming languages, and hardware.
  • Understanding of best practices in the IT industry.
  • Proven track record of work experience as a system manager, project manager, or developer.

Responsibilities & deliverables

Technical architects have many important responsibilities within the life cycle of a project. Main responsibilities include:

  • Connecting with stakeholders to determine the company’s current and future needs.
  • Determining if the current system can be upgraded or whether a completely new system needs to be installed.
  • Providing the company with IT design ideas and diagrams.
  • Managing the design and implementation of the upgraded or new system.
  • Communicating with developers to discuss the system software needs.
  • Troubleshooting any problems. Overseeing all parts of the system’s integration.
  • Measuring performance of the upgraded or newly installed system.
  • Training staff on system procedures. Providing the company with feedback post-installation. 

Deliverables

  • Architecture diagrams: Technical architects are required to produce detailed architecture diagrams which provide a bird’s eye view of a company’s IT infrastructure. They serve different purposes based on the project and make it easier for IT specialists to come up with the right solution.
  • Design, develop, and deliver applications: Development of production quality code, design, and development of unit tests.
  • Create representations for functions and prototypes of the user interface: Use specialized tools and methodologies to represent the final product solution.
  • Produce feedback post-installation.

Free White Paper

Enterprise Architecture Success Kit

Everything you need for quick time-to-value and long-term success through EA. Uncover the value of a successful EA practice, and how that translates to your organization.

Get your free copy
Enterprise_Architecture_Success_Kit

Salary

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

Career path

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.

Certifications

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:

  • The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF): This certificate supports critical business needs by ensuring EAs have a common language to plot IT development strategies.
  • SCRUM Master: A certificate for an agile framework used for project management, usually for software development.
  • BCS Foundation Certificate: An Intermediate Certificate in Enterprise and Solutions Architecture.
  • Technical Architect Certification Training: An online boot camp that covers the basics of Java, MySQL, and cloud essentials.
  • Plus it benefits technical architects to continue their education well into their career, and earn certifications in specific programming languages and IT systems. This will help increase salary and is highly desirable to recruiters.
  • LeanIX Academy: For LeanIX customers and users, this training proved to be essential to get the most value out of LeanIX's portfolio of products.

Tools

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.

How to Boost Employee Productivity with the LeanIX Self-Service Portal

Webinar

How to Boost Employee Productivity with the LeanIX Self-Service Portal

Watch this recording to learn how leveraging the new, zero-cost LeanIX Self-Service Portal can boost employee productivity and save you time

Enterprise Architecture Management as Crucial Factor for the Energy Turnaround

Webinar

Enterprise Architecture Management as Crucial Factor for the Energy..

Watch this free webinar to hear our partner, PwC, on how EA helps the energy industry to invest in IT and exploit the benefits of.

Enterprise Architecture Success Kit

White Paper

Enterprise Architecture Success Kit

Everything you need for quick time-to-value and long-term success through EA.
Nine Use Cases Solved With Enterprise Architecture

White Paper

Nine Use Cases Solved With Enterprise Architecture

Three areas where Enterprise Architecture Management adds value—and the nine most commonly solved used cases.

The Enterprise Architect of Tomorrow

White Paper

The Enterprise Architect of Tomorrow

Enterprise Architects of tomorrow must acquire five key traits to guide companies to success. Practical insights on how to become data-driven, agile-minded, and forward thinking.

Best Practices to Define Business Capability Maps

Poster

Best Practices to Define Business Capability Maps

This Poster helps you create the perfect business capability map for your organization with visual capability mapping examples.

How to Answer the Top Questions of Enterprise Architecture Stakeholders

Poster

How to Answer the Top Questions of Enterprise Architecture Stakeholders

How to give insights to your many unique stakeholders. From CIOs to IT Managers, a map of where to focus responses about Enterprise Architecture.

An agile framework to implement TOGAF with LeanIX' enterprise architecture tool

Poster

An agile framework to implement TOGAF with LeanIX' enterprise architecture..

A step-by-step illustration of how to follow TOGAF’s principles with a lean EA tool.

What are the must-haves for a successful technical architect?

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:

  • A Bachelor’s or post-graduate degree in IT, computer science, computer engineering, or equivalent.
  • Strong and up-to-date knowledge of software applications, programming languages, and hardware.
  • Ability to prioritize, delegate, meet deadlines and work under pressure.
  • Ability to mitigate risk, troubleshoot issues, and find solutions.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills to understand and explain concepts to both managerial and technical colleagues.
  • Several years of hands-on experience in project managing and IT.
  • Certificates to demonstrate ability and competency. 

 

Comparison to other roles

Technical architect vs. software engineer

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 architect vs. the principal architect

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.

Technical architect vs. application architect

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.

EN_Enterprise Integration Patterns

Technical architect vs. software architect

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.

Technical architect vs. technical manager

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.

 

Conclusion

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.

Free Poster

Find Out Which IT Architecture Role is For You with Side-by-Side Comparison

Download the poster now

EN-IT-Arch-Roles_Poster_Landing_Page_Preview
check

The core competencies of IT architecture

check

How to become an Enterprise Architect

check

How to become a Solution Architect

check

How to become a Technical Architect

check

The daily use cases tackled by each role

Frequently asked questions on technical architects

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.

IT roles comparison

Free Poster

Which architect role is for you?

Compare now!