A software architect is a software expert who makes high-level design choices and dictates technical standards, including software coding standards, tools, and platforms. The leading expert is referred to as the chief architect.
With the popularity of multi-tier application development extend this to a list to include even very recent trends, the choices of how an application can be built have also increased. Given that expansion, the risk that a software development project may inadvertently create a "new" end product that, in essence, already existed has grown markedly. A new 'software architect' role has become necessary during software development.
The software architect concept began to take hold when object-oriented programming (OOP) was coming into more widespread use (in the late 1990s and early years of the 21st century). OOP allowed ever-larger and more complex applications to be built, which in turn required increased high-level application and system oversight.
The main responsibilities of a software architect include:
- Limit choices available during development by
- observing and understanding the broader system environment
- Subdivide a complex application, during the design phase, into smaller, more manageable pieces
- Grasp the functions of each component within the application
- Understand the interactions and dependencies among components
- Communicate these concepts to developers
In order to perform these responsibilities effectively, software architects often use tools or standardized model and symbol sets such as Unified Modeling Language(UML) and OOP to represent systems or develop artifacts. UML has become an important tool for software architects to use in communicating the overall system design to developers and other team members, comparable to the drawings made by building architects.
The role of software architect generally has certain common traits:
Architects makes high-level design choices much more often than low-level choices. In addition, the architect may sometimes dictate technical standards, including coding standards, tools, or platforms.
Architects can use various software architectural models that specialize in communicating architecture.
Other types of IT-related architects
The enterprise architect handles the interaction between the business and IT sides of an organization and is principally involved with determining the AS-IS and TO-BE states from a business and IT process perspective. UnfortunatelyDubious - discuss. many organizations are bundling the software architect duties within the role of Enterprise Architecture. This is primarily done as an effort to "up-sell" the role of a software architect and/or to merge two disparate business-related disciplines to avoid overhead.
Other similar titles in use, but without consensus on their exact meaning, include:
The table below indicates many of the differences between various kinds of software architects:
|Architect type||Strategic thinking||System interactions||Communication||Design|
|across projects||highly abstracted||across organization||minimal, high level|
|focused on solution||very detailed||multiple teams||detailed|
|component re-use, maintainability||centered on single application||single project|
In the software industry, as the table above suggests, the various versions of architect do not always have the same goals.