We are going to dive deeper into the topic of the software development team. To be more specific we will focus on software architect. As you could read in our previous article, a software architect is an expert belonging to software builders. He is responsible for conveying the technical data of the software to developers. So he is the bond between the product owner and his team. But what kind of responsibilities are an everyday reality if you want to became one? And what sort of characteristics you have to be born with or develop if you want to be a successful software architect?
Software Architect’s Responsibilities
- Keeping in Touch
With who you will ask? Actually, with everybody – clients, project managers and in general the whole software development team. A Software Architect is their technical support and this the most vital one of his responsibilities. He will boost the vision of the product owner. If it comes to the development team he is the captain. He provides developers with information and directions they will follow to built the expected product. He guards the original idea and takes care of it during practical and intensive work on it. On the other hand, a Software Architect gives all the technical data on the project which is his priority task.
- Reviewing the Code
Reviewing the code is crucial when it comes to improving the quality of the product. The Architect’s role here is to detect and then refine the mistakes in code made during programming. It consists of overviewing the code written by a programmer before conveying the product to be tested and before version control system. This is a hands-on work but really vital for the effect of the final product.
- Technology Knowledge and Programming Skills
All great Software Architects should be aware of the development environment (IDE) which are designed to maximize productivity. Those of the best are also into DevOps which is a cultural shift in collaboration between development, operations and testing. The aim is to release the apps or websites in a more efficient way. In short – the more you know the better you can guide the team. So additionally it is useful to be conscious of how to manage with basic methodologies such as Test-Driven Development (TDD) or Continuous Integration. These are all technical aspects of creating a product and as you know the more techniques and solutions you know the better architect you will become. Thanks to that it will be also easier to communicate with the development team having multi-dimensional knowledge.
- Software Architecture Design
A Software Architect must have eyes around his head and be in many places at the same time. It is because he not only designs but also guards the way the tasks are executed. From designing the entire system basing on the received demands he has to choose the system architecture and each component of the system. At the same time keeping in mind it must be high quality. Moreover, he will also choose a kind of technologies and methods to implement those components and connections between them. After he shows how to do it to the team his work changes into being a supervisor. He reviews the teamwork, the progress and correctness of habituating his technical side project.
- Keeping Everything Under Control
What is “everything”? To begin from timeframe and meeting deadlines his duty is also to control if software synchronize with system architecture. Furthermore he looks after keeping the right quality doing control performances. He must be always ready for compromises for instance in order to manage risks, solving unpredictable technical problems or even disputes.
Software Architect Characteristics
As you can see basing on the list of responsibilities, to become a Software Architect you must own certain characteristics. Some of them are really necessary to be born with. So before you choose this path make sure you have majority of the following:
- Leadership Skills
A Software Architect is a technical leader of the project and makes critical decisions on this aspect. As he controls the value and how things get done you definitely must have an authority. This position demands organizing the team and leading them in a certain direction which is impossible without having this natural sense of being a „security guide”. You need confidence being a mentor and a coach for the team. If you are not sure about your technical solutions and tend to hesitate then your team will make mistakes. They need commands to make work high quality and in accordance with the client’s vision.
- Communication Skills
Communication seems to always be the most important factor. The reason why is that without good communication, you can’t be a good leader. As a Software Architect you should have effective language skills. It not only pertains to speaking and depicting a vision in a clear way. It is vital for the Architect to also be a good listener and observer as well as a good speaker. Thanks to that the vision in the Architect’s head becomes not only easily understood by stakeholders or the development team but also it becomes shared so everybody can see it in their heads. Moreover, a Software Architect also needs to motivate the team sometimes and helps them to understand the purpose of a product they’re working on. So communication is absolutely crucial!
- Stress Resistance
You really must be „thick-skinned” in this business. There are upcoming decisions and unplanned problems. Your anxiety will influence the team so at least try to stay calm – it will benefit everyone on the team. Moreover, a Software Architect works with people from many different areas and not everybody is always reliable. The business environment also tends to evolve quickly and you must be timeous with new technics. It is really demanding but not without purpose. Thanks to positive attitude and more of an easy-going mindset the teamwork will benefit and the effect will be the best you can make.
- Negotiating Skills
This one is something you can learn and gain experience on much like communication and handling stress. It is not easy but as a Software Architect you will interact with many stakeholders. Every time you will have to minimize risks. These however are associated with requirements which sometimes change. You will need to compromise to reach an agreeable position with stakeholders. So it becomes necessary for a Software Architect to be a good negotiator.
Creativity is something that defines a Software Architect as a great one or an average one. It’s not only about coming up with ideas but also a certain mindset. Analytic skills also demand creativity from a software architect, finding new solutions and approaching problems from various perspective is crucial to determine the best architecture of a certain product. Design decisions, the selection of particular patterns, specifications of guidelines are not only difficultly to create individually but to link them together in the most valuable way demands some critical thinking skills and being creative.
Crucial Role in Software Development
A Software Architect plays a vital role on the software development team. He needs to posses a specific set of skills in order to fulfill his tasks and manage the developers properly. Becoming one is certainly not an easy process, but Software Architects are much needed in every Software House or any IT business for that matter. So whether you think of becoming one or were just wondering what are the responsibilities and characteristics of a Software Architect – you now have this knowledge!