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Do new development technologies put software architects on edge?

While new technologies like microservices may be an exciting prospect for those strictly working at the development and programming level, these trends may weigh a little more heavily on the minds of enterprise software architects.

Brian Foster, content lead at O’Reilly Media and co-chair of the O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference, said he recognizes the struggle today’s software architects face as businesses hustle to adopt the latest and greatest development technologies and methods.

“A lot of our core audience are people who have made the move to things like microservices, and are happy that they have, but they’re seeing the next wave of what they have to do,” he explained. “Now that they’ve spun up a few hundred services … what does it take to keep that running?”

Foster said that these architects also face a unique challenge in that they are often a bridge between C-level executives focused on business needs and development teams who want to change the way they work with software. Because of this, he said, these architects are often the ones tasked with deciding if the adoption of a certain technology or method truly is the answer to a particular business need.

“I think that’s the unique challenge of being an architect,” Foster said. “They have these great technology choices, and for some organizations it might be the right move to jump in. But for others, caution is necessary. [So} they want to understand the impacts not just from a technology perspective but also from a business perspective.”

If that’s not enough, many organizations also seem to have this lingering tension that exists between developers who want to move forward and architects that want to do their due diligence. As Shawn Ryan, Axway’s VP of their digital as a service platform, pointed out in a Q&A about digital transformation needs, bridging that gap between software architects and developers proves to be an integral part of making a digital transformation happen.

“The developers say: ‘Get out of my way, let me build what I need to build,'” Ryan explained. “And then the architect [is responsible for] security and implementing policy. So bridging both of those personas is a first step in talking about managing the full lifecycle.”

Do you find that there are significant gaps between developers and architects? What is the best way to bridge that gap? Let us know with your comments.