This keynote presentation was given at SATURN 2008, which took place in Pittsburgh, PA on April 28-May 1, 2008.
As you navigate a software technology-oriented organisation, as either an end user or a vendor, you often encounter many quite senior people with the word “architect” in their job title. Software architects, enterprise architects, data architects, systems architects, solutions architects, infrastructure architects…the list goes on and on. You quickly realise that these people can’t all be doing the same job, and this realisation is reinforced as you meet the people concerned and often find that they have quite different skills, responsibilities, and interests.
In this talk, I hope to shed some light on this confusing landscape by sharing my thoughts on the fundamental types of architectural activity that are found in the modern enterprise. I will identify the main types of architects that you encounter in different organisations in terms of their responsibilities, the tasks they undertake, the tools and techniques they are likely to find useful in their work, and the way their roles typically relate to one another. Identifying those things should make the situation a little clearer and improve communication between practitioners and researchers, as we aim to refine and improve the state of software architecture practice.