How to Find and Hire a Software Architect

If you’re like most people, understanding the difference between a software architect and a software developer has made your eyes glaze over hundreds of times. Naturally, without a clear understanding of the difference between these two roles makes it difficult to recruit for either role. There are countless nuanced differences between software development and software architecture, but the biggest difference that you should understand is that a software architect is responsible for seeing and defining the bigger picture to understand how the product you’re building will ultimately work for the consumer. Here are a few more tips you can refer to whenever you need to hire a software architect.

Know Where They Spend Their Free Time

Software architects have a handful of go-to online community on which they learn and share information. They’ll often turn to IBM developerWorks, Code Project and Meetup events to stay on top of the latest software trends and commiserate with like-minded professionals about the projects they’re working on. Additionally, software architects on Stack Overflow have made the Programmers site one of the most popular sites on the Stack Exchange network.

It would be tempting to take what you’ve learned here and say, “That’s great! I can’t wait to tell all the users of those sites that I need a software architect!” However, don’t forget that the users of these websites aren’t logging on with the intention of being recruited. While you shouldn’t hide the fact that you’re hiring, participate in the conversations that are happening on these forums before you approach anyone about an open role. Although developers hate being interrupted by recruiters, they’re more than willing to share information with anyone who’s interested in learning more.

Understand the Challenges They Face Every Day

Although software architects need to understand the technical aspects of every product they help build, they’re also tasked with some particularly nuanced responsibilities that go beyond coding. When it comes to building software that helps organizations take the next step, here are three specific challenges that a software architect tackles on a daily basis.

  • Defining the architecture of a project. Everyone involved in software architecture is looked upon to gather non-technical requirements from outside stakeholders. Once they’ve gathered those requirements, it’s up to them to define the problems the tech team will set out to solve, and what’s required to address them.
  • Constant communication of the overall vision of a product. Oracle ACE Director Ron Batra says that much of his time is spent communicating. He adds, “Everyone’s perception of the picture is different, and it seems to take continuous repetition to ensure the details are absorbed.”
  • Selecting the right technology for the job. Choosing the right technology for any given project isn’t defined solely by cost (although that is a contributing factor). Software architects need to evaluate every possible option to ensure their teams have the tools they need to test, deploy, and optimize software while also identifying and managing risk for future issues.

It should come as no surprise that there’s plenty more to learn about what makes software architects tick. However, simply knowing the basics we’ve outlined here will help you have more engaging conversations with candidates about what they’re interested in, what they look for in new job opportunities, and the specific perks make one software architecture opportunity more appealing than another.


Originally published at business.stackoverflow.com.