In computer science, what does a system architect?


In computer science, what does a system architect?

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A system architect is a person who designs the system. In this context “system” means the collection of devices that will work together.

Let’s say you want to automate the production , storage and distribution of your widget factory. Most IT people would tell you it’s possible, but someone needs to put together a plan of exactly which bits of hardware/software/sensors and cabling are needed. That’s your architect.

In modern big IT businesses (let’s say a bank), someone needs to work out what changes are needed to enable a new service, connect a new client and the like. Architect again.

So, by conferring with the appropriate disciplines (developers, network etc) the architect draws up the design plan.

Just like regular architects system architects design the overall bird’s-eye view of the program(s). Regular architects don’t think about the placement of every and each screw but they decide the set of materials, the overall structure given a set of economic and legal limitations. The software architects are the same but the materials are programming tools (languages, build toolchains).

The system architects may decide the programming languages and the overall paradigms. Just like an architect designing the placement of the rooms, a system architect will decide the division of the individual units of a software (and sometimes hardware) system. They are expected to have enough experience working with the individual units and being up-to-date with latest innovations.

A system architect determine what the system looks like, similar to a building architect. You are concerned about security and how the system resembles othe components that are part of the larger system.

Source: I’m a retired systems architect.