Oversee the design and implementation of computer software.
What does a Software Architect do?
Most architects design and fabricate buildings, then supervise their construction, leading a team of designers and engineers charged with developing specifications and strategies in pursuit of physical form and function. Software architects do the exact same thing—but with computer software instead of buildings. You create plans, then you execute them.
As a software architect, you’re employed by software companies and IT departments. You’re the team leader when the company is designing a new piece of computer software, either for itself or for its clients. Overseeing a group of software developers and computer programmers, you dictate design choices and manage the design process as chief planner, problem solver, and decision maker.
In the course of “dictating” and “managing,” your typical duties as a software architect include assembling and supervising project teams, and interfacing with clients and software developers, communicating to the latter the needs of the former. You also create software design models, make high-level design choices, and choose technical standards and methodology, including coding standards, tools, and platforms. In addition, you give progress reports to senior management, design and code software, and proofread computer code for mistakes, then fix them. And on top of all that, you supervise software testing, and track metrics and performance against project goals.
Because your job requires both high-level project planning and nitty-gritty software design work, you have to be equally skilled at working with people and computers—just like a traditional architect who must take great care to both design and communicate accurately in order to avoid costly mistakes that could blow his budget, destroy his timeline, or even compromise the integrity of his building.