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 designing 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 tradeoffs etc). Structure of the system, its elements and their relationship should fulfill these non functional requirements.

The extract that I have presented to understand what software architecture is? is not mine, it is formally defined by renowned personalities of software industry. When you try to find definition of Technical Architecture, Quality Architecture, Solution Architecture etc you will hardly find something formally defined by some one renowned or in academia. Why am I referring 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

So architect for everything.  Good for people working in this industry. At first glance many of the jobs posted for architect role don'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:

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)

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

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)

(Source: indeed.com)

Most Popular Skills - Country: India (India)

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