What is the difference between a software architect and a software developer? There’s no clear line between a programmer, a developer, and an architect… but there are different experience levels and skill sets that are generally expected with each role. A software architect is generally considered to be an experienced, knowledgeable, and advanced developer, with the ability to think in abstraction and solve problems with a greater level of skill.
Getting a Handle on the Big Picture
When it comes to a software architect, architect is the operative word. An architect is an individual with the capacity to plan. They are able to create the most efficient, productive systems in order to achieve their end goals. For the most part, an architect does not have their boots on the ground; they are not developing or programming the software themselves. Instead, they are creating outlines and documentation that will serve as the framework for these projects.
In many ways, a software architect must also act as a project manager. They need to be able to see how different components of a software project will work together. They also need to make judgment calls regarding the software and its resources. They may need to determine which features are necessary to make a product feature complete and which features can be rolled in later. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively to their team.
Like project managers, software architects will need to be able to thoroughly document their projects. Often, they will be required to interface between multiple parties; they may need to work with employees, clients, and upper-level management. Throughout all of this, they should be able to convey the current status of the project and any issues that have arisen.
The Technical Acumen of a Software Architect
Naturally, software architects need to be extremely experienced when it comes to the technology that they are planning. Not only do software architects need to understand the capabilities of the languages and systems involved, but they also need to know exactly what they can deliver and what would be difficult to implement. Software architects have to be able to speak in a technical language that their programmers and developers understand. They also need to be able to create the most efficient products and identify potential pitfalls.
The software industry moves incredibly quickly. Because of this, software architects need to be especially conscientious about remaining current in their knowledge. A software architect who falls behind will not be well regarded among their staff members; they may be seen as out of touch and their advice may be ignored. Software architects may also need to be knowledgeable about a wide array of technologies, especially compared to their more focused staff members.
A Software Architect’s Leadership and Management Skills
Interpersonal skills are additionally incredibly important for a software architect. In addition to creating a “big picture” plan, a software architect also needs to be able to enforce it. A software architect has to take responsibility for their designs and provide the support necessary for these designs to come into fruition. They must also be confident enough to both explain their decisions and defend their decisions. In some organizations, a software architect may be placed in a mentoring or coach role. They will serve as a resource for less experienced employees.
A software architect is essentially the individual who is most responsible for the end quality of the final product. But from mobile devices to firmware, there are many different roles that a software architect can take. If you’re interested in developing your career towards software architecture, engineering, or development, Software Specialists has a selection of curated job listings for you. Contact Software Specialists today to learn more about advancing your career.