I have seen mostly that in IT there are mostly 6 types of Architects
1. PRIMARILY (PRINCIPLE SOFTWARE ENG OR TEAM LEAD)
These architects focus more on making sure team does actual development and has no issues. This person can help junior developers if they are facing some technical issues. They also help product owners and business analysts understand the technical implications and solutions of a business problem in simple terms. They also work with project managers to ensure features and user stories assigned to team under them is being worked on in time and without issues. They can easily help team in development if required.
2. ACTUAL SOLUTION ARCHITECTS
They work on documentations of various nature along with dozens of design work such as UML diagrams or deployment architecture or dependency mapping. They deal with numerous stakeholders be it organizational or technical stakeholders to understand a bigger picture such as how other modules and services are integrated or how other teams have their services coupled with the team's product. They also give stakeholders some form of high level technical details of business features in simple layman's terms. They don't participate in actual development or lack coding skills per say.
3. CLOUD, PLATFORM, INFRASTRUCTURE ARCHITECTS
These people are well versed in digital platforms and infrastructure for APIs, Microservices. They are also expert in atleast one cloud platform (AWS or Azure or GCP or IBM, Oracle Cloud). They know different implementation models, services, features and products offered by different cloud providers and are aware of SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, DaaS and Hybrid, Multi Integrated clouds.
4. DEV-OPS, SRE, DEV ARCHITECTS
Site reliability engineers are generally well versed with all the different tools & technologies used for building a detailed application development and delivery pipeline from building, integrating, testing, security, automation, configuration all the way till observability and maintenance. This is a highly detailed area where sometimes 20, 30 tools are used for a single end to end app delivery pipeline.
5. DATA-OPS, BIG-DATA ARCHITECTS
These people work in companies that deal with huge amounts of data and has a specific data pipeline for creating, searching, parsing, transforming, communicating, storing, retrieving and visualizing huge amounts of data with dozens of tools, algorithms, technologies and frameworks for each and every phase and step.
6. TRANSFORMATION, LEGACY, MIGRATION ARCHITECTS
I call them transformation architects that deal with enterprise systems that need to be modernized from monolith systems to microservices or need to be moved and deployed to cloud or upgraded with new digital platform and infrastructure tools. They focus on microservices, APIs, Event Driven and Distributed systems.
That is my opinion I could be wrong or people might have their own opinions.
So , in conclusion below are the different IT architects. namely:
1. Principle Software Engineer or Tech Team Lead
2. Solution & Enterprise Architects
3. Cloud, Digital, Platform or Infrastructure Architects
4. DevOps, SREs or Dev Architects
5. DataOps, Information or BigData Architects
6. Transformation, Legacy, Modernization, Migration Architects
BEST AMONG ALL
I think the most important ARCHITECT of all is 3 (Cloud, Platform, Infrastructure) because it will eventually cover all the DevOps tools & technologies used to build an extensive pipeline from GitLab all the way till Splunk and Dynatrace and everything (20, 30 different tools and dozens of processes, strategies and methodologies) in between. Today Azure DevOps offer many features required in (4). Many cloud providers also provide tools for active development and source code or artifact repositories along with providing other specific DevOps tools.
Similarly for (5), GCP DataOps pipeline offers more than 60 different tools and services dealing with DataOps from searching, analyzing, retrieving, parsing, applying rules, algorithms, storing, transforming, visualizing and communicating data in various formats.
Similarly for (6) you can also have Cloud as it provides numerous features for event driven, serverless and distributed architectures and new technologies for moving or upgrading your entire digital ecosystem of platforms, infrastructure and services.
Another thing for (2) is dealing with documents, diagrams, designs and flowcharts along with collaboration and communication with different stakeholders (organizational, technical, business and others). All these can be done using tools and services provided by a cloud provider. Now I assume cloud providers might have new products that have features similar to visio or visualparadigm or lucidspark where literally 100s of different types of architectural diagrams can be created.
Similarly (1) type of architect can also work on cloud in the future once one of the major cloud providers offer services for IDEs, Compilers, Testers, Build and Dependency Management and other DevOps tools required to perform management, governance of tasks, user stories, features and collaboration among team and product level stakeholders.
Other types of architects such as SECURITY, FRONT-END, BACK-END, DIGITAL, ENTERPRISE, NETWORK architects might have to learn at least one of the six skill set mentioned above.
But some architects such as BUSINESS or ORGANIZATIONAL architects are different from the list mentioned above as they focus on domains and fields generally outside IT and Software world.
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