What does a software architect do?

What does a software architect do?

Introduction

In an earlier article, we talked about software architects and how their roles are different from those of software developers. We touched upon a bit on what the software architect does when it comes to software development. In this new post on software architects and what they do, we will go a bit deeply into the functionalities and responsibilities of the software architect, and why you might need to hire them for your company’s software project requirements. 

Not just in writing codes, software architects shape the foundation of software development

The Software architect is often considered a visionary behind the art of software development, and they work on the design and implementation of all kinds of software systems, including complex ones. They shape the success of the software, and so it is very important to hire the right person for the job. They make high-level design choices and act as business leaders, keeping in mind the technical standards as well. 

As the name suggests, the software architect defines the high-level structure or the architecture of a software project. They define the main components and the interfaces, apart from several other duties that they perform. 

Is hiring a software architect an extra expense?

Not! Software architects are assets to the company because they can code well, and will be aware of the technical aspects of the business. And yes, they do get paid well, because they have critical roles to play when it comes to the success of your software. 

Often, highly experienced software developers, like those with 7-9 years of experience will be able to fulfill the role of a software architect. Normally, all architects start as junior developers and they work their way up through experience, both in software development and in business technicalities. Hiring software architects is not an extra expense at all, because they cover both sides of the project – the coding part and the business part. This means developers who love coding can continue to do their job while looking after the business angle too. And they can earn a nice salary too. 

Duties and responsibilities of software architects 

As explained earlier, it is the software developer who:

  • Defines the architecture of the software system
  • Selecting the right technology stack for the project and deployment methods
  • They decide the main components and the interaction between the components
  • Study the non-functional and functional requirements of the project
  • Estimating development time
  • Creating and using UML or Unified Modeling Language
  • Creating an efficient DevOps environment
  • Ownership of the entire software development life cycle

These are not just the only responsibilities of the software architects, they have a very serious role in the company they are engaged with. 

The architects are responsible for delivering a general architectural vision that they share with the rest of the teams involved in the project, the stakeholders, and the management and ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

Just like with building construction projects, the architect plays a definitive role in creating diagrams, blueprints, and schematics for the software development project. These are the foundational elements with which the software developers work on the codes. This gives a more detailed approach because when you have the seed of an idea, there must be something solid and constructive to develop that idea. 

With UML or Unified Modeling Languages, there is a standard that everyone can understand and follow, and is much better than the roll-your-own diagramming style that only a few people understand. Even if the team changes and a new one comes in they must be able to understand the entire architecture of the project, thereby leading to the impetus to create a more standardized diagramming format for all software projects.

The software architect’s job starts with researching and evaluating the project from the seed idea and the technical standards and tools needed. He/she will break down the project into smaller goals and delegate tasks to the software development team. He will also share the project’s structure in the form of diagrams and the project commences. The architect will be very active during the testing and quality assurance periods. Often, the software architect will also write sections of code during a project. 

Software architects have a very important job because they need to have strategic planning skills, technical prowess, amazing levels of foresight, and leadership

Strategic planning skills

The architect works closely with the administrators of the company and the stakeholders and only then will come up with the very foundation of the project. They will consider the project’s objectives, non-functional constraints, and functional requirements before future-proofing the designs. Their strategic planning skills must be able to make the project scalable and adaptable to future changes. 

Technical prowess

As part of their technical skills, the software architect has to outline the design, and functional components and define the technology stack to be used. Thus, the architect comes up with a unique blueprint for the job. This comes with experience only because they need to have a deep knowledge of different technologies and frameworks. 

Amazing levels of foresight

It is the experience and foresight of the architect that saves the project from crumbling. They must be able to table complex technical challenges that might come along the way, and address issues affecting the performance or security of the project. Their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills work well here.  

Leadership through efficient collaboration

The architect must be able to communicate well with everyone involved in the project, right from the stakeholder to the developer. He must be able to convince them that he indeed has the reins of the project, and is fully aware of the project every step of the way. Stakeholders might not be very familiar with the technical concepts of the project, so it is the architect who breaks it down into simple, understandable terms. This way the stakeholder will also be convinced that the shaping of the project aligns with their vision as well. 

Skills required in your software architect

So have a quick look at the skills your software architect should have. Keeping in mind the above roles and responsibilities, the architect must have excellent

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Communication skills
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Technical prowess
  • Adaptability
  • Business acumen
  • Capacity to think ahead 
  • Collaboration and teamwork

and more, of course, depending on the scope of the project

Conclusion

The software architect thus holds a very important role in software development projects. They are top earners in the software development industry too, with their role’s prominence facilitating a great demand for highly qualified architects. They are so important for complex projects and play a critical role in empowering the developers and giving them a solid foundation to work. They act as a mentor and knowledge base for the development team and function as a bridge between the different development teams and management. The potency and value of the software architect can never be undermined, and they will ease the project development stages with clear-cut plans.

Interesting Links:

What is the role of a Software Architect?

Software Architect: What It Is & What They Do

Pictures: Canva


The author: Sascha Thattil works at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.