What are the essential skills of a software architect?
Software architecture entails a different set of responsibilities from those of a software engineer. An architect needs to have broad and deep technical knowledge, preferably in different technology stacks. Most important is a knowledge of architectural foundations, different architectural styles, diagramming, etc. One of the most important skills for a software architect is good communication skills, as they need to talk with a variety of stakeholders, customers and developers. Last but not least, an architect needs to have good leadership and analytical skills. In the role of team leader, an architect should be able to lead a team of diverse personalities and specialities. Regarding analytical skills, they must know how to clearly identify stakeholders in the project, understand the requirements, how to design the system, how to select the right architectural style and technological stack, and of course, how to document it.
To become an architect, it’s definitely important to know and understand one or more technological stacks. On the other hand an architect needs to read a lot of articles and books, preferably recommended by other architects. An architect can also enrol in various courses on the topic and gain certifications (TOGAF, Open CA or an architectural certification from one of the major cloud providers).
It is also essential that an architect knows what is possible to implement at the code level. This is the basis that can be further compartmentalized into different architecture fields such as solution architecture, software architecture, etc. What is common for architects is that they can all agree on one thing - there are no ideal solutions, only trade-offs.