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When do you need which type of software architect?

In our previous article, we already introduced the several types of software architects and their main specializations and chief tasks. But how do you know if you need a software architect? And which type of software architect is the right fit for your business and project? Read on and we’ll give you the answers to these important questions!

Signs that you need a software architect

In case you are wondering if you need a software architect, there are some signals that tell you when it’s time to call in the expertise of such a professional. Let us take a look at the telltale cues.

Growing complexity

If the company’s software becomes increasingly complex and difficult to manage, it’s probably time to hire a software architect. An architect can help you design a scalable and well-structured software solution.

Technical bottlenecks

If your teams and employees regularly encounter technical issues such as slow performance, unstable systems or scalability issues, an architect can help identify and resolve these issues. He or she can ensure that the right technologies and architecture patterns are applied.

Lack of (technical) consistency

If your software performs inconsistently and clear architectural guidelines are missing, an architect can help define a cohesive architectural vision. He or she can create guidelines and best practices to improve the consistency and quality of the software.

Integration challenges

When your company needs to integrate different systems and software products, software architects can help design an integration architecture. This ensures that the different systems can communicate seamlessly with each other and that data is exchanged correctly.

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Scalability and performance needs

If your business has plans to grow or the software has high performance requirements, an architect helps you design a scalable and efficient architecture. This allows the software to handle future growth and always deliver the required performance.

Technological changes

When the company wants to embrace new technologies, such as cloud computing, big data, machine learning or microservices, a software architect can help evaluate the technologies and design an architecture that meets the new technology needs.

Which software architect is the best fit for my company?

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Although a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works in the challenging field of software development, it is possible to roughly establish which type of software architect is the best fit for certain company types.

  • Small IT companies (fewer than 50 employees): solution architect. In a small IT company, a solution architect designs the architecture for individual projects. He or she works closely with the development team and creates a suitable solution that meets customer needs.
  • Medium-sized IT companies (50-500 employees): solution architect and domain architect. The solution architect remains responsible for designing the architecture for individual projects. However, in a larger IT company, there may be several solution architects, allowing you to handle increased complexity. A domain architect can be employed to manage specific domains or areas of technology, such as cloud architecture, service/integration architecture or security architecture. They have expertise in their respective field and advise the solution architects and development teams when making technical decisions.
  • Big IT companies or enterprises (more than 500 employees): enterprise architect. In a large IT company or enterprise there is often a need for an enterprise architect. He or she focuses on the company’s overall IT strategy and architecture. Enterprise architects work with the various departments, stakeholders and IT teams to develop an overarching architectural vision that supports business goals.

Size matters

The size of a company and the complexity of its IT landscape largely determine which software architects are best suited to give your software stack a serious quality injection. Sometimes you might need the help of all the different architects to achieve your goals, while in other cases one specific type of software architect can get the job done. Be sure to choose carefully and map your requirements before picking a software architecture and architect.