The impact of AI on technical architect skills

Discover the skills every technical architect should learn now to be successful in the future

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the world. Across every industry, businesses large and small are scrambling to understand this growing technology—and just how much disruption it may cause.

The good news is that the mass displacement of IT employees because of AI-enhanced technology is unlikely to occur anytime soon. Instead, the professionals of the near future will see a shift in their roles, responsibilities, and skills. One area where organizations can expect dramatic change is in the role of technical architect.

Recently, ServiceNow and Pearson looked into the effects AI might have on the economies of six countries (U.S., UK, Germany, India, Australia, and Japan) and tech-based roles within the next five years. Their findings suggest that tomorrow’s technical professionals will need to adapt, working alongside AI and taking full advantage of new automation solutions to increase their capabilities. For technical architects, this translates into increased demand, with approximately 70,000 database architects expected to join the U.S. job market by 2027.

That said, with this increased demand will also come increased expectations. To ensure their continued value within the job market, technical architects must understand how AI might affect their work.

In modern IT, technical architects are professionals who specialize in designing technical solutions to meet business and customer needs. This often includes creating a blueprint of the IT infrastructure of their organization. As such, technical architects should be experts in software development, network infrastructure, cybersecurity, and other technical disciplines. Additionally, technical architects must work closely with stakeholders to understand system requirements and ensure that everything functions as intended.

Designing and overseeing the implementation of technical systems has the potential to affect every part of a business, making it an extremely important responsibility. The current average annual salary for technical architects in the U.S. is approximately $96,000.

As mentioned above, today’s technical architects must possess a range of hard and soft skills. These include the following:

  • Proficiency in programming languages (Java, Javascript, SAP, Oracle, C#, etc.) 

  • Familiarity with operating systems (Microsoft Windows, MacOS, iOS, etc.)

  • Experience with database management systems (MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, etc.)

  • Technical expertise in various IT domains (development, network infrastructure, database management, security, etc.) 

  • Understanding of regulatory requirements (to ensure data compliance)

  • Project management skills (for planning, budgeting, and managing projects)

  • Analytical and problem-solving skills (to identify issues and ideate solutions)

  • Experience with cloud technologies and infrastructure

  • Ability to assess and manage technical risk

  • Effective communication skills (for understanding requirements and requests and collaborating across departments)

Technical architects are responsible for building and managing the systems that allow businesses to operate. But as AI becomes more prevalent, these same architects will see many of their current responsibilities join the domain of algorithms and automation.

And 4.7% of tasks will be almost fully automated. For technical architects, this translates into five hours per week of additional capacity. The research also predicts that the time spent providing technical support will be reduced by nearly 60%.

Driving this change are four prominent technologies:

Process automation: Code programmed to complete predefined logical and rule-based processing tasks

Solution discovery: Agents using reinforcement learning (RL) and sensors to digest and solve unstructured, complex problems 

Sensory perception: Systems that use ML and sensors to detect and extract meaning from external stimuli

The ServiceNow/Pearson research indicates that by 2027, 18.7% of technical architect tasks will be at least partially augmented by AI

Decision generation: Systems that use ML to evaluate input data to determine the best course of action

As for individual responsibilities, the ServiceNow/Pearson research has identified 15 activities that will be at least partially affected by AI and automation. The three tasks that will be the most affected are:

1. Providing technical guidance and support for the development and troubleshooting of systems

2. Monitoring system operation to detect potential problems

3. Verifying stability, interoperability, portability, security, and scalability of system architecture

The expanding role of AI in technical architecture requires professionals who can adapt their skills to meet changing circumstances. To facilitate this transition, industry leaders must establish robust learning and development programs to guide workers through the upskilling, reskilling, and recruitment processes. These initiatives are crucial to aligning the workforce with the evolving demands of the industry.

ServiceNow and Pearson reviewed 32 capabilities that are likely to become essential for all IT positions by 2027. For technical architects, the five capabilities that will require the highest proficiency levels are:

1. Retaining and improving foundational IT skills

2. Collaborating effectively across digital media

3. Increasing focus on continued learning and development

4. Understanding how to apply machine learning and AI

5. Working with statistics and predictive models

While a technical architect will continue to play a crucial role in IT functionality, this role is undergoing a transformation. Advanced AI capabilities will empower tomorrow's technical architects to achieve more, perform more effectively, and provide greater value. But they can’t do it alone; IT leaders must support this evolution by identifying proficiency gaps, understanding changing skill requirements, and developing relevant training programs and upskilling opportunities to better support their workforce.

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