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What does it mean to be a software architect?

Years ago, when I was still writing code for a living, I felt like there could be more to my career path than hunkering down in a cubicle for hours on end every day. That’s not to say that being a software guy isn’t a noble living–it is! And it’s fun. It’s just not where I wanted to stop.

By nature, I’m a creative person (yes, even though I was writing code with the techies). I love designing things. I love art. I love the creative world that I live in now. So, it made sense that I move into software architecture.

I studied. And researched. And took classes. And practiced. And studied more–a lot. And finally, I was given the opportunity to design software systems. And I loved it! It was all I’d dreamt of. I was in heaven figuring out how to make business visions come true through great software design backed by robust, complex data systems.

I think if I could pass along one tip to anyone with this dream, I’d say activity on the creative side of your brain is paramount. If you’re a free thinker that can match business requirements to a technology solution, you’re half way there. And if you’re a good communicator (as in, can talk intelligently to software & data engineers and also understand the company’s business units’ vision), you are in possession of another key requirement for the software architect role.

That’s my take on the path I took many years ago. I have no regrets. I loved it. Heck, I still love it and practice those skills as often as I can. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you took the same path, or traveled down a different road after programming, or are thinking about software architecture for your career.

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