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Architecture - Top 10 Traits of a Software Architect

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Architecture - Top 10 Traits of a Software Architect

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This article represents my opinion on top 10 traits of a software architect. Recently, I came across a need of my fellow colleague who asked me to take a shot at defining, what would it take for someone to become an architect. The below could be applied to architect in any technologies. Note that the below does not take into account few traits of an enterprise architect. However, I purposely did not include it. Please feel free to comment/suggest if I missed to mention one or more important points. Also, sorry for the typos.

Following are the top 10 traits described below:

  1. Knowledge of relevant technologies
    • Should demonstrate strong expertise with areas of technology in which he is aiming to be an architect
  2. Strong analysis & design skills
    • Should demonstrate strong analytical and design skills.
    • Should be aware of design patterns for solving different kind of problems.
  3. Coding & POCs
    • Should be very strong with coding in relevant technologies as per the technology stack of the organization
    • Should be able to do quick POCs
  4. Architecture & design activities
    • Should be able to architect and design the solutions from a given set of raw requirements
    • Should be able to consider and apply different aspects such as some of the following when doing architecture & design activities. This does imply that it is expected that person should have knowledge with following:
      • Tools & frameworks
      • Security
      • Performance & scalability
      • Reliability
      • Integration aspects
      • Cost-effectiveness etc
    • Should be good with different aspects of SDLC such as requirements analysis, analysis & design, development, testing, build & deploy
  5. Modeling language/Tools
    • Should be able to articulate the architecture and design of a software solution using different modeling language/tools to different stakeholders including developers, fellow architects, business stakeholders (BA, product managers, senior management)
  6. Architectural frameworks/Tools
    • Should be able to document different views of architecture to different stakeholders including business, application, data, infrastructure.
    • Nice-to-have: Knowledge with one or more architecture framework such as TOGAF, ZACHMAN
  7. Communication
    • Should be very strong in oral & written communication (developers, testers, BAs, senior management, customer stakeholders {architects, developers, BA, senior management})
  8. Training/Mentoring
    • Should be able to educate/demonstrate the industry knowledge in relation with business/technology
    • Should be able to provide training/mentoring sessions to one or more teams
  9. Sales/Pre-sales
    • Should be able to participate in pre-sales activities such as some of the following. This is relevant to those who are working in a software services organization.
      • Proposing technology solutions
      • Estimating the size and cost to develop proposed solution using one or more estimation techniques
      • Interact with prospective clients
  10. Presentation Skills
    • It helps in some of the following manner if the person has good presentation skills.
      • Rich & informative documentation for different purpose such as proposal documentation, architecture documentation
      • Power-point presentations to different stakeholders including senior management, customers stakeholders
      • Training & mentoring

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