Home‎ > ‎Architecture‎ > ‎Basics‎ > ‎Types & Roles‎ > ‎

Types of Architects and Job Trends

If you want to pursue career in the field of architecture, it is important to know different types of architects and what  are the responsibilities and skills required. At the same time it is also important to look from the view point of industry. How hiring companies look at the role of an architect? Are they expecting roles and skills as defined by various certification programmes or defined in theory?

What is an architecture?
As per general meaing Architecture means "The art and science of design and erecting buildings and other physical structures". If we look at how it is defined in information technology field, I find formal definition for "Software Architecture".

Software architecture broadly means (you can find many definitions which I don't want to repeat here):
Elements of a system, their relationship, a style or many styles which guide organization of the elements of a system. Software architecture should also considers non functional requirements (performance, reusability, technology constrains and tradoffs etc). Strucuture of the system, its elements and their relationship should fulfill these non functional requirements.

The extact which I have presented to understand what software architecture is? is not mine, it is formally defined by reknowned personalities of software industry. But when you try to find definition of Technical Architecture, Quality Architecture, Solution Architecture etc you will hardly find something formally defined by some one reknowned or in academia. Why am I refering to academics is because whatever we learn and practice, there is a formal place for it in academics. If something can not be taught in the institutions where does it come form and if it is not formally defined and described who will decide what is it?

How industry (Job market) looks at it?
Now when I look at job market and what companies are trying to hire, I see jobs for Quality Architect, Database Architect and some other architect roles along with better known Technical Architect, Solution Architect, Enterprise Architect and Software Architect. Now if we look at definition of the Architecture and try to understand how Quality Architect is an Architect and what kind of Architecture is he going to deal with? Now if there is a fashion of calling every thing as an Architecture and every role as an Architect Role we may endup with something like this: Copy Architect, Pen Architect, Pantry Architect, Cleaning and Washing Architect, Photocopier Architect. Sounds funny! It is funny but if some one is hiring and giving title of an architect let us see what are they looking for form these roles. I am trying to post extract of skills and responsibilities defined in some jobs posts for these roles:-

Architect related Job Posts
Enterprise Architect
Business Inteligence Solution Architect
Technical Solution Architect
.NET Architect
Solution Architect J2EE
Industry Architect - Insurance
Architect WPF Winform
Information Security Tools Architect(MSS)
Knowledge architect
PHP Architect
LAMP Architect - PHP Architect - Opensource Architect
BI Architect, DWH Architect
User Experience Architect
Software Architect
Application Architect
System Architect
.NET Integration & Reporting Architect
Infrastructure Architect
Database Architect
Security Architect
IP Development Architect
Sharepoint Architect
Business Solution Architect
Principal SAP Netweaver Architect
Mobility Architect
Big data, Security & Provacy Architect
CRM Architect
Teradata Architect
Windows Phone Architect
MicroStrategy Architect
SQL Database Architect
GIS Technical Architect
Infrastructure Solution Architect
Solution Architect
Network Architect
Recovery Solution Architect
Java Software Architect
Platform Architect
Automation Architect
LOB Platform Architect
Oracle Database Architect
Quality Assurance Architect
Retail Solution Architect
Cloud Application Solution Architect
SOA/BPM Solution Architect
CMS Architect
Web Application Architect
Windows Software Architect
JavaScript Architect
Ruby on Railes Architect
Information Architect
Integration Architect
Siebel Architect
SOA Enterprise Architect
SOA Solution Architect
Engineering Architect for Mobile
ETL Architect
eCommerce Architect
Exchange Architect

So architect for everything.  Good for people working in this industry. At first glance many of the jobs posted for architect role doesn't fit in the definition of an architect but when industry is considering these roles and giving title of an architect let us try to understand it further.
I saw very interesting post at (http://www.bcs.org/content/ConWebDoc/3333): [In many cases the title architect has become a generic name for a specific systems domain expert and has resulted in a situation, where today, we have infrastructure, data, applications, network, and solutions architects.
In fact, recent adverts on various recruitment websites have attached the term 'architect' as a trailer to almost all senior technical job functions.]

When I look at the list above I can try to find few broad categories:
  • Enterprise Arhitect (Should be internal to the organization but in practice used as presales focused, client facing)
  • Solution Architect (Mainly presales focused but incorrectly delivery roles are also given  this title)
  • Software Architect (Sub categories- .NET, Java, PHP, DW & BI and so on. Technical Architect can be this role.)
  • Database Architect (sub categories - SQL Server Architect, Oracle Architect etc)
  • Domain Architect (consider roles for various domains withng this group. Example- Insurance Architect etc)
  • Infrastructure Architect (consider platform, network, storage, security etc as sub categories within this group)

This page has become too long so details about few important roles and their responsibility in other pages. Till then enjoy few graphs here:

Job postings comparision for some architect rypes:

(As of 22nd April 2012 for last three months,  Example for comparing various roles - approximate jobs posted. These numbers are not complete but are from some of the jobs postings for comparing and numbers should not be taken in isolation)

If we look at the graph above .NET related posts are very less as compared to Solution Architect and this may also mean that architect role at programming language specific is not so popular but is at an abstract level. Solution Architects are required more in numbers which means focus of industry for architects is more in providing solutions to the clients (next graph will clarify this point more) as compared to their role within delivery. But software architect, Java Architect, Technical Architect if considered together, they are more than solutions architect so in absolute numbers they are there in the delivery too. Here delivery roles are given different names (software architect, technical architect and Java/.NET architects are doing the same thing)

Architect types and job functions

If we look at the chart above we can see for solution architect, focus of job function is more in consulting and sales functions rather than in engineering function. Software architects are more focused in engineering functions.

Architect types and recruiting industries

Average Salary
of Jobs with Titles Matching following:
(This graph is taken on 24th of April 2012 but I guess it will be updated directly from indeed.com)

Most Popular Skills - Country: India (India)Most Popular Skills
Compare your salary: Get a free Salary Report

References: linkedin.com indeed.com payscale.com Other job postings sites