What is a Software Architect?

Software architects are technical professionals who are responsible for leading the design and development of customized applications that meet or support critical business needs. They may work closely with project managers, software engineers, computer programmers, systems developers and quality assurance techs to effectively architect, design and produce technology systems, according to CNN Money.

General Job Duties

Software architects must engage in design activities with an enterprise mindset that understands the complex interrelationships between business objectives, critical applications functions and architectural structures and environments. They must ensure that the company’s technology solutions best fit the client’s long-term goals and vision. They are involved in organizing the team, actively contributing to planning activities, setting direction for management, mentoring team members and training key technical personnel.

Software architects are focused on the delivery of tangible results, so they must be the technical driving force for their projects. They may be accountable for developing collateral solutions that enable success, publishing internal specifications for future standards and creating community awareness for their organization’s brand. Software architects must demonstrate to employers their expertise in modular coding, network systems, product differentiation, application integration and turn-key methodologies.

Expected Abilities

Employers expect software architects to have the proven ability to translate customer needs, ideas and requirements into engineering solutions. Their composure, collaboration and communication skills will help them successfully work with others to develop shared practices, break down problems and recommend actionable answers. They will need academic experience or a proven track record of delivering complex products from conception to project completion success.

Most software architects will have a few years’ experience in systems implementation, software development and packaged software integration. They should have experience with architectural programming languages like SQL, Java, J2EE or Oracle. Employers may want professional experience with specific application development platforms, software design patterns and enterprise architect experience. They may need to be familiar with services oriented architecture, such as Java and Mule, or web service application development, such as XML and WSDL.

Software Architecting and Engineering

Some software architects work as application engineers who research concepts, develop prototypes and guide developers and engineers. They may design, influence and suggest technical solutions for projects. They should be able to identify execution pitfalls, help communicate changes, minimize project risks, meet long-term strategic goals and share systems information to all stakeholders. Software architects may gather and groom technical needs and requirements from product teams.

These software architects may drive engineering efficiency, contribute to platform reliability and act as a communication conduit between clients, engineering teams and strategic architectural designers. Some software architects collaborate with market research, customer service and user experience personnel to better understand issues, identify new opportunities and ensure that solutions will be successful. Software architects may have to communicate system design and project concepts to remote engineering teams in different countries.

Related Resource: What is a Software Architect?

Successful software architect job candidates will have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. They should have at least five years of professional experience related to software and technology development. Job candidates should possess strong coding, programming and development skills. Employers prefer candidates who have experience working with a variety of project methodologies like Agile or Interactive.