Systems Architects

What does a “Systems Architect” do?

Like most IT roles, it depends on the company or organization where they work. (In fact, the term isn’t even specific to technology, but I’ll use it in that context here.) In general, a Systems Architect takes the requirements for a given system, and assembles the relevant technology areas that best fulfill those requirements. That’s a single-sentence explanation, and needs further unpacking.

As an example, a Systems Architect at a medical firm is presented with a set of requirements for tracking a patient through the entire care cycle. The Systems Architect first looks at all of the requirements for the data that needs to be collected based on business, financial, regulations, and other requirements, and then at how that data needs to flow from one system to another. They check the security requirements, performance, location, and other aspects of the system. They then check to see which options are available for processing that data, and which parts they should “build or buy.”

For instance, the requirements might be so specific that only custom code is the proper solution – but even there, choices still exist, such as which language(s) to use, what type of data persistence (a Relational Database Management System or other data storage and processing) will be used, what talent within the company is available for the system, and a myriad of other decisions.

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