The question at hand I would like to discuss is, how do I think the position of a Software Architect will change in the next 10 years?
In ten years’ time I believe this position will definitely still exist and I am quite sure there will be many more holding this position than today.
In the future I have a strong belief that software architects will have to structure their software planning based more heavily on developing middleware and collaborative systems (“cloud computing”) than developing brand new systems. In an article by Pokharel and Park (2009) it is mentioned that “Cloud computing is the future generation of computing”. Today we see a number of large applications becoming increasingly popular and in my personal experience developing new software that “talks to” external systems is becoming more and more popular. In one project I have worked on it was a potential deal-breaker if our software was unable to talk to SAP.
In a paper by Medvidovic (2002), it is stated that “While architecture is an early model of a system that highlights the system’s critical conceptual properties using high-level abstractions, middleware enables that system’s realization and ensures the proper composition and interaction of the implemented components” followed by “The relationship between the two areas and their respective shortcomings suggest the possibility of coupling architecture modelling and analysis approaches with middleware technologies in order to get ‘the best of both worlds’ “. I believe this is a substantial statement supporting my beliefs.
The current focus of software architecture, in my personal experience, does seem to be aimed at the creation of vastly “stand-alone” components with the only real reliability being on the operating system the software will be running on. The large, successful developments of today will be the focus of the middleware of tomorrow.
I believe that in 10 years’ time the training required to perform the duties of a Software Architect will be the same as today but will include new training based on existing systems and how to make them work together efficiently via API’s/middleware as well as the requirement for more experience in developing these modules.
As far as automation goes, I believe the current movement towards the use of programming frameworks will only increase, while low level programming will be far less of a requirement when planning the development of a system. Using components of a framework (one can think of a framework as a library of “functions” to perform common tasks so that the programmer does not need to do it themselves) will enable a much larger focus on the bigger picture and allow for more complex systems to be developed.
Medvidovic, N. (2002) ‘On the role of middleware in architecture-based software development’ SEKE, 27, pp.299-306, ACM [Online]. Available from http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/568760.568814 (Accessed: 12 September 2010).
Pokharel, M and Park, J. (2009) ‘Cloud computing: future solution for e-governance’ ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, 322, pp.409-410, ACM [Online]. Available from http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1693042.1693134 (Accessed: 12 September 2010).