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Should there be a separate profession of 'software architect’ whose role is to work independently with a customer to design the software system architecture? A separate software company would then implement the system. What might be the difficulties of establishing such a profession?

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No, there should not be a separate profession of ‘software architect’ whose role is to work independently with a customer to design the system architecture. Software architecture affects the performance, robustness, disreputability, and maintainability of a system. As it has an important role, the system architecture cannot be designed simply by working with the customer alone independently. It is to be analyzed from various prospects.

The difficulties that may arise by the establishment of such profession are:

1. Difficulty in the implementation.

2. The company that would implement the system may find difficulty in understanding the architecture.

3. Incompatibility of the architecture with the developing system.

4. Architecture may not satisfy all the technical requirements.

5. Re-work or redesign is needed sometimes, due to incompatibility or change in technical requirements.

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I think it is already but it is going to vary a lot depending on the size and structure of the company you are for. This is much like a ‘regular’ architect in the real world. In a small firm, an architect may have the role of architect, engineer (to some extent) and draftsperson (coder). In a large firm, the architect is the big picture person, overseeing the project and keeping the team on track.

If you’re referring to certification, that will be a tough one. There is not enough industry definition yet to sort out qualifications. It could be done similar to an architect, requiring education and experience (typically). Another thing in this industry is that continuous change makes certifications fleeting. What was hot a few years ago is not very important today

by (user.guest)
You made some points there. I believe this is gradually playing out in the industry today where we have something like a project manager (who is a bit involved in software but much closer to the client), and the coders (those who actually do the development). But ideally, it shouldn't be the case that we have a single entity (separate from the development team) working independently with the customer to come up with a system architecture - because designing the system architecture in itself is a continuous process from the time of project commencement till the end. The developers are in the right place to handle the system architecture design (I think development & system design should not be separated as they compliment each other). A system architecture developed in the manner described by the question is not likely to meet all the technical requirements of the system.

I however like how you provided a fresh perspective with your answer. Thanks for sharing and good luck in your studies! :)

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