Essential Skills to Become a Software Architect
By Arijit Banerjee
A common question that arises when it comes to software architects is, "Isn't it a fancy job title given to a senior software engineer in the name of promotion?" While the lines were grey earlier, nowadays many organisations look for specific skill sets in professionals who want to take on the role of a Software Architect. A good software engineer can be excellent at coding, with a great amount of knowledge. However, he/she may still not be a good architect.
A good software architect has to be one part visionary, one part technical expert and one part politician. So, here are the skills that organisations looks for in a software architect:
1. Excellent at breaking down problems
A good architect is able to take any problem statement and break it down into smaller components, which can then be broken down into sub-projects. Also, a good architect is able to do this at any scale.
2. Programming skills
Architects have to interact and work with developers on a regular basis. Effective communication between developers and architects would only be possible if the architect has good programming skills. Without this, there will be a communication barrier.
3. Understands interfaces
The primary tool needed to manage the complexity of projects is an interface, be it class interfaces, protocols etc. By understanding interfaces as well as knowing how to define crisp and logically complete interfaces, an architect makes it easy for the team to build pieces of systems that connect easily to achieve a larger goal.
4. Has design skills
Software architecture projects embody key design decisions, so design is an important aspect of architecture. Such decisions could represent key structural design decisions, the selection of particular patterns, the specification of guidelines, and so on, which have a far-reaching impact on the success of the system or the project.
5. Is a good communicator
Good communication skills are important for a software architect. A good architect is a good listener and has effective speaking, writing as well as presentation abilities. An architect is responsible for communicating the needs of the stakeholders and the vision for the system. This is the single biggest reason why being able to communicate effectively is a skill that is fundamental to the success of a project and hence the success of an architect.
6. Is pragmatic
Every organisation has its own set of guidelines, internal politics, deadlines, budget etc. A good architect is aware of the restrictions of the scenario he/she is in. They comes up with realistic solutions that fit those restrictions.
Increasingly, in many workplaces the role of a software architect is of a higher value than that of a developer. Upskill yourself to be suitable for the role of a software architect, which will help increase your professional value.
About the program
The Architect Readiness Program by the Manipal Global Academy of Information Technology is a unique learning initiative specially designed for software professionals who aspire to move into the career path of a software architect.
About the Author:
Director of Academics
Manipal Global Academy of Information Technology (MGAIT)
Bhaskaran holds an MBA degree in Production Management from Bangalore University. He also holds a B.Tech degree in Electronics and Communication from NIT Warangal.
Bhaskaran is a Senior Strategy Consultant helping companies to innovate and deliver their products and services, in a manner that ensures sustainable business, for both themselves and their customers. He is a trusted advisor in helping craft and live a strategy. Bhaskaran works with companies to help improve performance parameters such as top line, bottom line, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, product and market mix. He is also an accredited CEO Coach through Coaching Foundation of India. With over 30 years of business experience, of which 10+ years were in the role of senior management in Royal Philips Electronics.