What Is the Best Degree Path to Becoming a Software Architect?

Software architectIf you enjoy working with computers and mathematics, a career as a software architect could be the perfect choice for you. Software architect is among the highest-paying careers for students who decide to major in computer science and mathematics. Experienced software architects earn a median salary of $117,000 per year. To prepare for a career as a software architect, you will need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree from a college or university.

Why a College Degree Matters

Software architects are a type of software developer with job responsibilities that include designing and developing software systems and applications. As a software architect, you will combine mathematics, computer science skills and principles of software engineering to develop operating systems, networks, computer games and various other kinds of software.

Generally speaking, most schools do not offer a degree in software architecture specifically. However, aspiring software architects should earn at least a bachelor’s degree not only for the purposes of developing the skills they will need throughout their careers, but also to improve their job prospects. While it is possible to develop computer and coding skills without earning a degree, not having one will put candidates at a disadvantage compared to candidates who do hold degrees.

Degree Options for Aspiring Software Architects

The most popular degree choices for students pursuing careers as software architects are software engineering and computer science, though mathematics may also be an acceptable major, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. No matter which degree path you choose, be aware that you will likely need to take courses in each of these subjects to develop the skills you will need as a software architect. You will study algorithms, data structures, programming languages and ways to test software.

Starting Your New Career

Even after they finish earning a college degree, aspiring software architects may not be able to start out in their desired position right away. Often, candidates begin in positions such as analyst, computer programmer, or entry-level software engineer before they advance to the role of software architect, according to The Huston Chronicle. Working in these positions allows candidates to continue building their skills and show managers and supervisors that they can excel. Candidates who took on internship opportunities during their college careers can sometimes attain entry-level jobs with companies for which they previously interned. Throughout their careers, software architects will need to continue learning about ever-changing technologies.

Working as a software architect has several benefits, from the high rate of pay for experienced professionals to a very positive job outlook. As a whole, software developers can anticipate a 22 percent increase in job opportunities over a decade, as compared to just 11 percent job growth expected for all occupations, the BLS reported. The work of a software architect career is interesting and appealing in and of itself to candidates who are both creative and analytical and who enjoy working with both numbers and computers.

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