Software Architect Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Software Architect, or Technical Architect, is in charge of using computer code to design and develop software applications, planning the different features of a program and integrating them into a functioning system. Their duties include determining the technical specifications of a project, creating technical blueprints and editing code.

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Software Architect duties and responsibilities

A proficient Software Architect has numerous responsibilities within an organization related to the design and development of software systems. Some of their most common daily tasks include:

  • Evaluating, identifying and developing software solutions
  • Leading software development projects
  • Documenting and recording every aspect of an application or software
  • Training and overseeing the activities of the members of the development team
  • Planning, tracking and scheduling software deliverables
  • Locating and directing solutions for critical challenges involving software and hardware interface
  • Looking for problems within software systems and resolving the issues
  • Developing good working relationships with other employees, such as Marketing Managers, Product Managers, Programmers and Engineers
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What does a Software Architect do?

Software Architects serve a leadership role on software development teams. Software Architects are instrumental in planning the basic function of a software application based on the needs of a client. They communicate with stakeholders about the problems they’re experiencing and determine how to address those issues through software. Software Architects track each aspect of an application to make sure that their team is producing the appropriate infrastructure to host a functioning software application. They implement tests, identify bugs and correct lines of code to ensure the software program works correctly, tracking major changes and patches.

Software Architect skills and qualification

A Software Architect is a professional who requires strong technical and design skills to succeed on the job. Some of their other important skills and qualifications include:

  • Broad understanding of coding and programming languages
  • Experience with database design and data modeling
  • Extensive knowledge of the software development process and corresponding technologies
  • Excellent understanding of design patterns and architectural styles
  • Proficient knowledge of the operation and development designs of agile software
  • Expertise with content management systems
  • Good understanding of enterprise service bus (ESB) platforms, including BizTalk and MuleSoft
  • Strong soft skills, including attention to detail, problem-solving and communication skills

Software Architect salary expectations

Software Architects make an average of $139,876 per year in the United States. This salary may change based on your company’s industry and location and a candidate’s education and level of experience.

Software Architect education and training requirements

Software Architects should have a strong educational background. Companies prefer to hire candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, information technology or another related field. A master’s degree is a plus, though it isn’t typically required. Some organizations also look for applicants who have gained training or education that is specific to their field, while others want candidates who have earned relevant certifications, such as the Certified Software Architect offered by Carnegie Mellon University or the Microsoft Azure Certification.

Software Architect experience requirements

The amount of experience a Software Architect needs depends on your industry and the size of your organization. In general, applicants should have at least 4 or 5 years of experience as Software Engineers or Software Developers to gain the necessary technical skills and knowledge. Some candidates start gaining this experience by pursuing internships while in college, and others may start out as Programmers and work their way up to higher-level positions. Most employers prefer to hire applicants who have worked in development teams as well.

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Frequently asked questions about Software Architects

 

What is the difference between a Software Architect and a Software Programmer?

Software Architects usually oversee a team of people working together to implement their software blueprints, including Software Programmers. They may assign a Software Programmer to write a particular section of code, that they then stitch together with other programs to produce a functioning software application. Software Architects answer clarifying questions from Software Programmers about the client’s expectations for a project as they work.

The Software Architect is mainly involved with the concept of a software project, while the Software Programmer actually implements the project directions. Software Programmers interpret a Software Architect’s development plan into code that describes how an application looks and functions. The Software Architect delivers feedback to their team about how to make the code more cohesive, making the different programming techniques uniform and easy to update.

 

What are the daily duties of a Software Architect?

Software Architects meet with clients and talk to them about what they want to accomplish with their software program. They negotiate a budget to cover the essential resources to produce a finished software program that meets all of the client’s specifications. Software Architects interview clients about features, capacity, speed, aesthetics and other aspects of a software program they want to produce. They determine what kinds of coding languages and techniques are appropriate for the project and compile detailed instructions and guidelines for programming the application. 

The Software Architect sets deadlines to complete different parts of an application and track their team’s progress toward those goals. They help troubleshoot problems, determine the cause of errors and find ways to optimize the software’s overall design by reviewing code and running tests. Software Architects demonstrate the finished products to clients and provide ongoing assistance for major updates.

 

What are the qualities of a good Software Architect?

Good Software Architects are leaders who are skilled at developing a vision and finding ways to follow through on their idea. They’re creative and innovative when coming up with potential technical solutions to a client’s needs, while still using practical ideas that they can implement within their team. Successful Software Architects are good at staying organized and checking in on the status of multiple projects at once to make sure all deadlines are met. This includes having strong presentation skills and the ability to accurately explain complex concepts to others.

 

What should you look for on a Software Architect's resume?

If you’re hiring a Software Architect, look for applicants who highlight their familiarity with a breadth of software tools on their resume. They should be experienced in multiple programming languages and have examples of how they’ve used software tools in the past. Resumes of top applicants may include programming and computer science certifications. You should also seek out candidates that describe project management experience on their resume, demonstrating that they can lead a team and successfully produce deliverables on a schedule.

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