What does it mean to be a software architect?

software programming plan

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.

Anyone can reach out to me and get my help. DM me at @keithparnell

Keith is an accomplished keynote speaker, educator, and business consultant. His blog, KP Talks, at keithparnell.com is praised as one of the top marketing and technology blogs in the industry.

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