Myth: The “architect” role will cease to exist by 2025


23 Mar 2017 by mallyanitin

The things (rumblings) that I have been hearing, and is getting amplified every passing day:

  1. Google does not have people titled architects. Sr. Engineers play the role under the covers. Prevents an unhealthy conflict between people designated “engineers” and “architects”
  2. The role / title “architect” is very limiting and restrictive. Generally, it’s perceived as a consultant, or someone doing very high level design. It’s not seen as somebody with planning or problem solving skills.
  3. Agile practitioners promote a team culture, where someone in the team is the “architecture owner”, but there is nobody titled “architect”.
  4. Most of the architecturally relevant concerns are getting automated. E.g. API Gateway addresses the concern of API management, Architectural patterns are well known and documented, Cloud simplifies infrastructure concerns and delivers it as a service. A technically competent leader or engineer can make the choices, and hence we don’t need the architect.
  5. There is sufficient training (online MOOC) to train engineers to pick up new skills (as required, on-the-fly); the need for architects (seniors) coming in to help engineers (juniors) is going away. There are many role models, who want to be senior engineers.
  6. It’s prudent to have the team design and architect for a customers problem, than be fed the design and architecture to implement. The latter will de-motivate the team, and the former could improve engagement & innovation from all team members.
  7. The new era is going to be very cost restrictive. Small teams have to build large stuff. We cannot afford an architect, and since generally, architects are not hands-on, having an architect on the team is overhead. If we really need architecture guidance beyond, we may reach out to an architecture consultancy to seek inputs.
  8. Look @ UX. It’s all about UX Design. There is nobody for UX Architecture. Maybe UX Research. This will eventually happen to software as well.
  9. It’s very difficult to define the role of an architect. It’s more difficult to separate it from an engineer. Can the roles be combined? Can the manager also play the role of the architect?
  10. In the industry, most enterprise architecture initiatives have failed. Architecture initiatives were started to address the increasing complexity of the portfolio (IT systems, products), and alignment with business goals. It seems that standardization and rationalization are not good things to pursue, in this rapidly changing technology world. It’s going to get more messy. Architects will fail.

OK. 10 statements are enough for this blog post. There is truth in all the statements above.

This argument is similar to the one raging about DevOps. Thought leaders are saying “DevOps is a culture thing. Don’t create DevOps teams. Don’t create DevOps engineer. Don’t create DevOps career path. Create a team of developers and operations experts to build a DevOps culture in both species”

Lots can happen in next 5-10 years. 2025!! Whether there would be people titled architects or not, “architecture” and it’s “patterns and practices” are here to stay. System decomposition, making choices, planning and sequencing development, and solving problems would continue to remain. Tools and technologies will improve, making software development simpler and more professional.

In 2025, we may see a mix. Titled or not. All titles may go away in the spirit of teaming!

Architects. Engineers. Experts. Consultants.

Humans will continue to classify!

One thought on “Myth: The “architect” role will cease to exist by 2025

  1. Prasanna Hebbar says:

    Very nice blog. The distinction between architecture and design is getting blurred. Unless the architects are hands-on and attempt to get into the details, the high level design / architecture just stays in the paper and may not be implementable or could be justified that it addresses all the concerns since they are at very high level. The nice example of API gateway clarifies that the architectural concerns are addressed by these new frameworks itself.


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