Journal 15

The Architecture Journal

April 2008


Dear Architect,

Welcome to Issue 15 of The Architecture Journal, where we take a quick breather from technology, turn the spotlight on ourselves and examine the role of the IT Architect. This has been a fascinating issue to put together, partly because of the different perspectives that many people in our profession bring to the table, but also because of the passion involved in defining what is still a very emerging profession.

We believe that this issue of the Journal goes beyond our normal boundaries of IT architecture and is applicable to anyone who would like to understand why architects exist, what architects do, why organizations need them, and most importantly, what one needs to know to be one. In short, this is an issue for both the architect and those aspiring to be architects, and as such, this issue should be shared with your colleagues.

The articles you will find in the following pages will talk about skills, responsibilities, experiences, and many other topics related to being or becoming an architect, so it seems appropriate in this introduction to attempt to answer a question that many aspiring architects have asked: Why do I want to be an architect?

The obvious answer, and one I hear at practically every aspiring architect event I attend, is quite simply: "If architect appears in my job title, I will get paid more." While that is probably true, and in many cases could make the difference in allowing your family to eat prime rib instead of hamburger, fulfilling a monetary requirement does not necessarily address the less tangible goals we all have for ourselves.

If most people want more than just to be paid well, why is money the commonly mentioned benefit to becoming an architect? The answer is that this is probably the only common point. Just as every architect has their own perspective on good architecture, every architect has their own perspective on what makes a good architect and why they want to be one.

Whether you are an IT Architect by title or someone who is heading that way in your career, we hope that you find the articles useful and insightful for the work that you do every day. We look forward to hearing your feedback about this and previous issues, at

Simon Guest

Articles in This Issue

We Don't Need No Architects

by Joseph Hofstader

This article presents a defense of the practice of architecture in software development, and examines widely held perceptions of architects and some of the mistakes that they make that contribute to negative perceptions.

Becoming an Architect in a System Integrator

by Amit Unde

In this article, the author attempts to crystallize the wisdom that he has gathered from his work in a program in which he grooms aspiring architects into full-fledged architects.

Architecture Journal Profile: Paul Preiss

Paul Preiss is the founder of a nonprofit group called IASA (International Association of Software Architects). Read about the goal of the organization, as well as some of Paul's thoughts about the profession.

The Open Group's Architect Certification Programs

by Leonard Fehskens

How do you know if someone is really an architect? This article describes The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF); the TOGAF certification program; and certification levels, programs, and process.

The Need for an Architectural Body of Knowledge

by Miha Kralj

This article covers why an Architectural Body of Knowledge (ArcBOK) is an important building block in professionalization of IT Architecture, and how the Microsoft Certified Architect community drives the creation of an ArcBOK through its Special Interest Group.

A Study of Architect Roles by IASA Sweden

by Daniel Akenine

In this article, we examine the need for IT architects, describe a study by IASA Sweden to better understand IT architecture, and discuss four architect roles that IASA Sweden recommends for a typical organization.

The Softer Side of the Architect

by Joe Shirey

This article outlines a framework that the author developed for defining "soft skills" and strategies for the architect, based on his experiences and interactions with architects that he admires.

An A-Z Guide to Being an Architect

by Mark Bloodworth and Marc Holmes

These days, an architect has a lot of diverse responsibilities. In this article, the authors provide a handy A-Z guide to being an architect, and wish that all your architectures be "n-tier".

Download this issue here

This article was published in the Architecture Journal, a print and online publication produced by Microsoft. For more articles from this publication, please visit the Architecture Journal Web site.