Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Software Architecture

Quality systems come from quality architectures. Quality architectures must come from you.

Defining Software Architecture

What Is Software Architecture?

The software architecture of a program or computing system is a depiction of the system that aids in the understanding of how the system will behave.

Software architecture serves as the blueprint for both the system and the project developing it, defining the work assignments that must be carried out by design and implementation teams. The architecture is the primary carrier of system qualities such as performance, modifiability, and security, none of which can be achieved without a unifying architectural vision. Architecture is an artifact for early analysis to make sure that a design approach will yield an acceptable system. By building effective architecture, you can identify design risks and mitigate them early in the development process.

Learn more about the SEI's work in software architecture

Our Mission in Architecture

For almost two decades, the SEI has been instrumental in the creation and development of the field of software engineering known as software architecture. Operated by Carnegie Mellon University—a global research university recognized worldwide for its innovative work—and funded by the federal government, the SEI solves real-world problems by conducting research, developing tools and methods, providing consulting services, and publishing case studies

Publications and Presentations

Certificates and Training

Training in Software Architecture from SEI Experts

The SEI offers software architecture courses and certificate programs. More than 17,000 people from more than 1,400 organizations have attended courses in the SEI Software Architecture Curriculum, and more than 2,200 people have earned certificates conferred by the SEI for taking a series of architecture-related SEI courses. These courses are informed by the experiences of SEI staff members working directly with organizations over the past two decades and helping them to achieve significant cost reductions, quicker time to market, and higher product quality by applying architecture-centric practices to the development of their systems.

Software professionals can complete one or more of three software architecture certificate programs. These programs are based on completion of specific sequences in the software architecture curriculum, as depicted below. For more information on these software architecture certificates, please visit the SEI Professional Certificates in Architecture website.



Training courses provided by the SEI are not academic courses for academic credit toward a degree. Any certificates provided are evidence of the completion of the courses and are not official academic credentials.