Software

Published on November 24th, 2021 | by Ali Dino

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The Importance and Benefits of a Software Architect

Ask anyone who knows about product development, and they will tell you how software architecture is one of its keystones. In simple terms, one can say that it’s just architecture, but for a product’s software. However, there’s more to it than what meets the eye, which is also why many still remain unfamiliar with the roles and duties of software architects

Those aspiring to work in this role or a product development team can often wonder, “what do software architects do, and how does it help in product success?” The answer can be straightforward: these professionals utilize architecture design software and work on the system qualities that revolve around architecture, like performance, scalability, security, cost reduction, etc. However, it’s a position that entails donning numerous hats and working towards delivering a successful product. Consequently, as per Indeed’s report, software architecture jobs have become one of the top picks today, already having secured the top spot in 2020.

So, to help you obtain a clear picture of software architect roles and responsibilities and how they benefit a product, we’ve compiled this in-depth guide. Have a look! It offers a deep dive into what these professionals do and how they contribute to seamless product development.

Software Architect Jobs: A 360-Degree Overview

On paper, a software architect focuses on a specific product or project, looking after and nurturing its development, maintenance, support, implementation, and evolution. They supervise almost all software programming and engineering facets, rather than just the organizational and financial aspects. 

However, a software architect’s roles and responsibilities are further segmentable into two essential parts of product development that define what they do, which are: –

  • Vital aspects
  • Vital stages 

Vital Aspects Software Architects are Responsible For

Software architects deal with four significant product development aspects: design, API, infrastructure, and integration. 

1. Design

While the amount of focus demanded by any of these aspects depends on the product or project being worked on, most software architects spend umpteen hours on design. It’s where they work on architectural drawings, mainly sketches, and blueprints, similar to what a quintessential architect does. 

It’s not merely about pretty drawings or intricate blueprints. Since these architects lead the product’s end-to-end design, they’re also responsible for the design of the integration points, communication, building blocks, etc. These professionals ensure that there’s a clear path of communication when determining how the various components will work together, how the data flows within the software, and which technologies are to be employed. 

2. Infrastructure

Based on the overall design created, architects then work on bringing the diagram to life via creating the infrastructure. Here, a hefty amount of decision-making also comes into play about the caching solutions to be used, auto-scaling the infrastructure, the machines the system will run on, etc. Since the infrastructure has a critical role, software architects take it into consideration during the design phase as well. 

3. APIs

After formulating the design and infrastructure, software architects start working on APIs, the vital aspect which ensures every component of the software package/product is addressed how it was designed to be. Therefore, these professionals devote their time and energy to ensuring that clear APIs are implemented wherever possible. This way, they gain a transparent landscape about how each component interacts with one another and how the end product would interact with dynamic elements in the outside world. 

The API phase is extremely important, as it decides how well the product performs once built. Hence, it’s one of the key duties of the architect to ensure the utilization of proper APIs. In doing so, software architects ascertain that every component possesses a clear interface to help the user understand its access privileges, use cases, and the expected results. 

4. Integration

Lastly, when planning the product’s high-level design, software architects also look after the integration with the end-users and their systems. Here, architects focus on creating integrations that are precisely what the customer wants, but with minimal effort from the latter’s side. 

Integrations are deemed the ‘corners’ of the product diagram but are vital nonetheless. They have a major impact on the infrastructure, and API, and hence, are a key area the architect is responsible for. Integrating with the customers and their systems also mean catering to various adjustments to fulfill their requests and ensuring no integration gaps that cause the customer to walk out the door. 

The Vital Stages

Coming to the product development lifecycle, software architects are primarily involved in four important stages, which also include the aspects mentioned above. These stages are as follows: –

1. Elaboration Stage

Once the product’s proposal is approved, the elaboration stage begins, where a software architect establishes a highly-detailed architecture. Simply put, they determine how to build the product appropriately. This stage involves addressing possible constraints and risks and delivering detailed blueprints of the product’s design. 

2. Prototype Stage

To ensure that the development team is able to actually build the product and the end product is capable of delivering desired results, the architect works on an architectural prototype. This covers the major issues and addresses the critical risks involved, allowing the architect to build a working prototype that’s stable and free from such problems. 

3. Construction Stage

Next comes the construction stage, where architects continue working on designing the numerous components and features. However, this is where they also act as supervisors and leaders, promoting the vision of the project and guiding teams through the development procedure. This stage also involves writing code examples for development teams, managing changes as and when they occur, setting quality benchmarks, and reviewing codes to check for compliance. 

4. Transition stage

Lastly, an architect also selects QA (quality assurance) tools and supervises the testing and deployment of the product, along with ensuring seamless and continuous integration. Depending on the performance testing results, architects also perform infrastructure changes or alterations in the product/project structure. 

This is also where these professionals decide on code freezes (durations when code changes aren’t allowed), infrastructures, and environments to deploy new features. They also actively participate in deciding deployment methods best suited to the particular product. 

Benefits of a Software Architect

According to Indeed.com’s latest statistics, an average software architect’s salary starts at a whopping $134,041 per year, with approximately $10,000 in bonus. Wondering why? It’s because of the plethora of advantages these techies bring that ultimately help your product be the best it can be. Here are some of the key benefits a software architect’s day-to-day role provides

Leadership

The biggest advantage of having an architect on board is their leadership to coordinate and mentor the technical teams. Given the expertise and experience they possess, these professionals help teams promote their vision of the correct solution and quality standards they want to adhere to. 

Domain Understanding

It gets extremely challenging to create effective architecture without adequate domain knowledge. That’s where an architect’s skill set comes into play, as their domain expertise allows them to handpick the most appropriate patterns and approaches to develop a solution that solves business problems effortlessly. 

Implementing the Vision

Before starting with a project, the organization envisions reaching the finish line and deploying a brilliant product. While several dynamic factors are involved here, a key aspect is seeing the bigger picture and turning that vision into reality. That’sBefore starting with a project, the organization envisions reaching the finish line and deploying a brilliant product.  precisely what an adept software architect does, by owning the big picture and selling the vision throughout the development cycle. They take it upon themselves to ensure smooth delivery, with the end product meeting all the demands and being absolutely spot-on. 

Maintaining Cost-Efficiency

Given how an architect oversees almost every aspect of product development, they also strive to identify potential cost-saving areas. Their expertise allows architects to use the architecture and determine areas that could do with less budget. In the long run, this allows both the architect and the organization itself to spend more dollars on other key facets to refine, polish, and create an A1 product that ticks off a customer’s complete checklist. 

Wrapping Up

Needless to say, software architects are a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to deploying software products. Hence, with the right skills and tenacity, one can possibly achieve great heights of success and even go on to become a software architect consultant. If you aspire for the same, then why wait?

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