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The Qualities of a Software Architect

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The software/enterprise architect job is an important one. The duties of an architect are numerous and require specific leadership, communication and technical skills to be fulfilled.

In a recent post, Gabriel Morgan wrote about the qualities of an enterprise software architect starting from Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence (EI) abilities: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management.


  • Emotional self-awareness
  • Accurate self-assessment


  • Self-control
  • Transparency
  • Adaptability
  • Achievement
  • Initiative
  • Optimism

Social Awareness

  •     Empathy
  •     Organizational awareness
  •     Service

Relationship Management

  •     Inspiration
  •     Influence
  •     Developing others
  •     Change catalyst
  •     Conflict management
  •     Teamwork and collaboration

The Software Engineering Institute has collected a large number of opinions regarding the duties, the skills and the knowledge of a software architect as seen by various software engineers. A few of the opinions regarding an architect’s required skills are:

David Cornish (Technical Architect, JPMorgan, London, UK):

Strong communication with both technical and business teams
Strong design experience and technical knowledge
Analytical and 'joined-up' thinking
Conflict resolution

Theo Gantos (Consultant, TEKA, Flint, MI, USA):

A renaissance person. Consulting, diplomacy, organization, conceptualization, abstract thinking, logical reasoning, data modeling skills in several methodologies, ability to self-evaluate and adapt quickly, presentation and communication skills, programming expertise, writing skills, sales skills, charisma, finance and return on investment calculation skills, dealing with difficult and change-resistant people, sense of humor.

Venkatesh Krishnamurthy (Technical Architect, Valtech India, Bangalore, KA, India):

  • Creative
  • An Artist
  • Politician
  • Strong willed
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Excellent presentation skills
  • People person
  • Matured
  • Articulative
  • Courageous to make decisions and stand by it
  • Risk taker
  • Good observer
  • Negotiator

Victor Alejandro Baez Puente (Chief Technology Officer, Grupo Nacional Provincial, Mexico City, DF, Mexico):

  • Experience designing an enterprise application with financial auditing, contract management, enterprise workflow, business process integration, and perhaps asset management components
  • Experience with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).
  • Experience as a chief architect on inception-to-delivery of J2EE projects.
  • Experience with deploying J2EE rich and/or web client applications in a high-availability, clustered environment
  • Expertise in the Unified Modeling Language (UML) for constructing, and documenting the artifacts of software systems
  • Exemplary general IT knowledge (applications development, testing, deployment, operations, documentation, standards, best practices, security, hardware, networking, OS, DBMS, middleware, etc.)
  • Expertise and experience in lightweight, rapid development, agile methodologies.
  • Experience in estimating and measuring project velocity
  • Experience with interaction with legacy systems and phased application integration
  • Exquisite attention to detail
  • Written, verbal, and diagrammatic communication skills

The examples are numerous. Some put an emphasis on leadership/communicator skills while others take specific technical skills into account. What is your opinion on the skills required of a software/enterprise architect?

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