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As the name implies, a software architect designs computer software. This can include executing an architectural vision, conceptualizing design, experimenting with alternative approaches, creating models, interfacing documents, designing software, guiding others to create software, and validating the project at-hand. A software architect typically must articulate the vision of a client by allowing them to see what they need to see, and when they need to see it, and by designing a software strategy that will help make the ideas more concrete.
A software architects is often considered to be a team leader in software design. They usually spearhead software design projects, helping to monitor code and software design at all levels to ensure the program works seamlessly. They usually are involved in organizing an efficient team and must actively contribute in activity planning.
Leadership also can be expressed through dynamic interaction with team members. A software architect usually has to be people-oriented and act as a mentor. They typically must exude confidence when setting the direction for the project in order to motivate the team that is designing the software and to encourage creativity and innovation.
Software design skills are also an important facet of working in the field of software architecture. A software architect with good program design and coding skills can help generate effective and high-quality software. A software architect usually must function as a proofreader who identifies mistakes in a software design and corrects them.
Another role of a software architect is that of a decision maker. Software architects must be able to effectively make decisions, oftentimes under great pressure, and ensure that those decisions are well communicated, understood, and implemented by all team members. The architect also usually has the authority to dictate coding and other technical standards, tools, and programming platforms, that aids in achieving project goals.
Since the job is a very technical one, software architects typically have an appreciation and understanding of the software development process. The process involves defining team-member roles and tasks, and defining the products to be created. They generally should have a certain level of programming knowledge since they work directly with developers, and it is their combined work that will produce the software.
As technologies advance and new programming concepts are launched, software architects must be able to keep abreast with the changes. A software architect usually must learn to understand and abstract data in whatever programming language is used for a given project. Software architects are usually graduates of software architecture, or IT architecture programs, and this educational background is intended to present a strong base for future learning.