Software architects: Work in progress

It really is not news that software architects have found a place in the enterprise. But the role seems important, and growing more so, as Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) gains footing in advanced IT shops. Several recent articles investigate this trend.

Editor-at-large Jack Vaughan turns the spotlight on the emerging title in "Software architects: Working on a building." He writes: "The title seems apt to some. The architect is at least one step above the programmer, business analyst and project manager." But he also notes: "It is not unfair to question the notion of a "chief software architect" just as some engineers have questioned the idea of "software engineering" in general. After all, there is no single book that largely summarizes the undeniable tenets of the discipline as there is in civil engineering."

For those wondering what a software architect is supposed to do, freelance writer Dan Romanchik, in "Building a better foundation" reviews Software Architect Bootcamp, a book that asks why software architectures fail and offers answers. Romanchik also looks at another architect guidebook, "A Practical Guide to Enterprise Architecture." He says the authors believe software architecting fails because those involved don't understand "that architecture is not design ..." even though "... in many companies the two are often confused." Romanchik writes: "Architecture and design are two separate endeavors, say the authors, and marrying them often leads to failure. In addition, there are some glaring deficiencies in our knowledge of enterprise architecture, as well as the tools and organizations meant to support the enterprise architecture effort."

On the somewhat lighter side, Web reporter Rich Seeley asked analysts what they think of the chief software architect title created at CA for Sanjay Kumar when he resigned his job as president and CEO. In "What's in a title? Or Kumar becomes chief architect," analysts say the jury is still out, excuse the pun, on whether Kumar will add to or detract from the title that Bill Gates made famous.

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