What Does an Architect Do?

Great pointer from Mike Walker yesterday to an IASA blog post highlighting their Architect Taxonomy and what it means to be an architect.  Reading things like this are always a reminder to me that I’m not remotely great at my job yet.

The author of the IASA post, Paul Preiss, first links to the list of “Certified Architect” requirements from Microsoft which focus on five broad competency areas:

  • Leadership.  Are you providing thought leadership, mentoring and able to build consensus for important ideas and standards?
  • Communication.  Can you effectively share your ideas both orally and in the written word, and do so for a variety of audiences? 
  • Organizational dynamics.  Do you have a feel for your company’s key decision makers and can you work through these organizational structures to get things done?
  • Strategy.  Can your knowledge of technology help your organizational position itself favorably for the future while also applying the frameworks and principles to make you successful today?
  • Process and Tactics.  Are you able to navigate the project lifecycle and efficiently work through system requirements, design, prototyping, documentation and deployment?
  • Technology Breadth.   Do you have a grasp on a wide range of technologies and concepts that may comprise a complete organizational solution? 
  • Technology Depth.  Are you a thought leader within your organization on specific topics?

The IASA taxonomy is even more in depth than what Microsoft provided.   They bunch up their expected skill set into five buckets:

  • IT Environment
  • Business-Technology Strategy
  • Design Skills
  • Quality Attributes
  • Human Dynamics

I really liked their breakdown of each category and the specifics listed under each.  After calling out the core skill buckets, they go into the expectations for a number of different flavors of architect: software architect, infrastructure architect, and business architect.

Very useful to read, if nothing else, than to help plan a roadmap for things to strengthen in the upcoming years.  Also, this is a great cheat-sheet for coming up with questions during an architecture interview!

Technorati Tags: Architecture


Categories: General Architecture

4 replies

  1. “…always a reminder to me that Iā€™m not remotely great at my job yet.”

    You’re not supposed to say this in public when I’m sure your co-workers (and manager(s)) read your blog. =)


  2. My goal is to never take a job that I’m completely qualified for, and that rule applied here as well! Gives me something to strive for …

  3. Richard – good stuff! I’ve added those posts to my collection of architecture bookmarks. http://delicious.com/fullerbecker/architecture?setcount=50

    @Chris – it’s too late, we already know about all of Richard’s failings, foibles and frailties. But we like him anyway. šŸ™‚

  4. So that’s what Architect’s do! I’ll have to forward this entry to my Technical Architecture Group, it might be an insight….

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