Software Architecture Requirements and the Software Architect

The software architecture process takes clients’ requirements, analyzes them and produces a design to obtain software that will satisfy their needs. Successful software designs must weigh the inevitable dilemmas that arise due to conflicting requirements; comply with design principles and good procedural techniques that have evolved over time; and complement modern hardware, networks and management systems. A strong software architecture implies having a lot of experience in theoretical and practical matters, as well as the necessary vision to convert what seems to be inaccurate business scenarios and requirements into solid and practical work designs.

Software architecture means defining a structured solution that meets all technical and operational requirements and, at the same time, optimizing common attributes of quality such as performance, security and manageability. In addition, it involves a series of decisions based on a wide range of factors, and each of those decisions can have a considerable impact on the quality, performance, maintenance and overall success of that software.

So, what is needed to master the principles that can transform a common developer into a software architect?

It is clear that a software architect requires a wide range of both general and technical skills. During the requirements analysis and review stages, the architect must work with the client, consult partners and other team members and act as an intermediary for managers, users and system administrators. By excelling in these general skills you can produce a better initial plan and a more precise set of requirements, which saves time and effort later.

The software architect must also possess the technical skills required to understand how modern software systems, frames, and hardware support the requirements; how network and operating system factors can affect design decisions; and how trends and changes in these areas will have an impact on design. After the initial requirements analysis, the software architect must also apply his technical skills around design patterns, communication and messaging standards, code capabilities, security issues and performance constraints. All of these require in-depth knowledge of the technologies that will be used to implement the final software. Their decisions on the structure and dynamics of the application are expressed in formal notation. To do this modern architects need to master UML, especially if they plan to use new technologies and especially those oriented to objects.

It is convenient to dominate the greatest amount of software technologies to be able to offer the best technological recommendations for the benefit of the project. Their decisions have an impact in the short, medium and long term. Important characteristics that define the quality of the application, such as performance, reuse, robustness, portability, flexibility, scalability and maintainability depend to a large extent on the decisions a software architect makes.

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