Software architecture is an essential aspect of software development. Even if you have mastered an easy programming language and are an excellent programmer, if you can’t provide clean architecture, your work will be a waste.
Software architecture is a sub-branch of software development. It is a very essential aspect of designing software as it directly affects the software’s efficiency and productivity. It primarily concerns formatting the code of software in a way that it can be easily understood and accessed by others.
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What Is Software Architecture?
Software architecture refers to the necessary components that a software comprises and how they interact with each other.
The architectural design of software acts as a blueprint of the entire system. It consists of tools used to manage the entire software design and distributed systems that use large scale, open-source programs.
A software architect is responsible for the entire design and architecture of a system, so this job is a big responsibility that must be handled carefully.
What Is Software Architecture Used For?
Software architecture plays a vital role in the production of software, but that’s not its only purpose. Let’s review some of the significant applications of software architecture.
- Establishing a foundation. Software architecture helps create a foundation on which you can organize your software.
- Setting goals. Since it makes data more scalable and clean, software architecture will give you a better idea of the overall direction you want to pursue for your organization.
- Saving money. Since it makes code writing much cleaner, software architecture helps in analyzing and identifying sectors where changes can be made to cut costs and save on maintenance.
- Risk management. Making code cleaner also allows for better management of risks and increases the readability of the code.
Types of Software Architecture
There are five major types of software architecture and selecting the right one is important. Below is a list of all five types so you can know what to look for.
Layered (n-tier) Software Architecture
This is the most common form of software architecture because it is built around a database. Most companies use tables for storing data, which makes it easy to collect information through layered architecture.
The code in layered architecture is arranged in multiple layers and moves from top to bottom. The lowest layer is usually the database.
Event-Driven Software Architecture
Event-driven software architecture acts as a central unit for sorting and separating data into different modules so they can be processed by another program. This saves time because it means other programs don’t have to wait to receive a specific type of data.
This is very different from layered architecture, in which all types of data simply pass through the layers and are not sorted. In event-driven architecture, the modules interact only with the events they are concerned with.
Microkernel Software Architecture
Microkernel Software Architecture is used for editing and annotating a piece of code so that it can be used in a basic routine for displaying a program. The most famous use of this type of architecture is Eclipse, which is popular as an Integrated Development Environment for Java.
This is also called plug-in software architecture because of all the extra features that come with it, known as plugins.
Microservices Software Architecture
Microservices software architecture is responsible for breaking down a program into much smaller, more manageable parts that can be more easily changed by a developer. However, it has limitations because it can only scale down the tasks if they are easily separated.
Space-Based Software Architecture
Space-based software architecture is used to prevent a website from crashing if it is overloaded. It splits up the processing and storage between multiple servers, creating a pattern that reduces the burden on the website.
It’s a very useful tool for web developers, as it can act quickly to keep your website from crashing.
Learning Software Architecture
Now that we know the essential skills required to learn software architecture, and how it fits with the narrative of software design, let’s learn more about the steps you can take to get started.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Software Architecture?
Learning any new skill, including software architecture, usually takes months of practice. You should plan to invest at least six months if you want to master it. It might even take a little longer if you do not already have a background in software design and architecture.
However, you can accelerate your progress with the right study materials, books, and courses, which we will review in this guide. Taking the initiative to work hard and practice is up to you.
How to Learn Software Architecture: Step-by-Step
There is no right or wrong way to learn software architecture. However, if you closely follow the instructions provided below, your learning process should be seamless.
- Learning the right language. Having a working knowledge of UMl and SysML will give you an upper hand, as these languages were developed explicitly for use in software architecture.
- Reading and writing. Knowing something is one thing but being able to express it is very different. You should read all kinds of resources to learn more about software architecture, then practice writing about it to make sure you’re expressing your ideas clearly.
- Understanding patterns. Understanding design patterns is of utmost importance. If you understand them, practicing and mastering software architecture concepts will become a bit easier.
- Design. You should never stop designing. The more you try out different methods of design, the better you’ll get at this.
- Open-sourcing. Try to understand and work with open-source platforms and software. There is always something new that you can learn once you start interacting with the open-source community. Get in touch with some other great software engineers and designers and start a dialogue.
The Best Software Architecture Courses and Training
Taking a variety of courses is always the best way to learn a skill. Below, we have listed some of the highest-rated courses for software architecture.
Best In-Person Software Architecture Training Programs
Most people prefer in-person software architecture classes over online ones because of the personal attention and interaction that a classroom provides. Some of the top-rated in-person training classes are:
Carnegie Mellon University
- Course: Software Architecture principles and practises
- Time: 3 months
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: $500
This a beginner-level course that will clear up the basics. It is a step-by-step guide to designing software architecture and is an excellent choice if you are just starting out in the field.
University of Southern California
- Course: Graduate Course in Software Architecture
- Time: 1.5 to 2 years
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: N/A
This is a graduate-level course for those who are sure they want to pursue software architecture as a career. It is a high-quality course that you should consider if you’re passionate about this industry.
Online Software Architecture Courses
There’s nothing you can’t find on the Internet, including many courses on software architecture. Below, we’ll list some of the highest-rated ones.
Learn Software Architecture In-depth
- Provider: Udemy
- Time: 8 weeks
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: $75
Software Architecture is a vast subject, and this course will help you to understand the subject. It will start with the basics and take you through the science behind software architecture until you reach an advanced level of understanding.
Grokking the System Design Interview
- Provider: Educative
- Time: 20 hours
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: $14
This is one of the most popular courses available online. It will give you a general idea of how you should prepare for a software design interview. This was one of the first courses on the online platform Educative and it has since been booming.
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Best Free Software Architecture Courses
There are a lot of free courses available on the Internet and we have selected some of the best ones for your consideration.
Software Design and Architecture specialization
- Provider: Coursera
- Time: 4 months
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: Free
This is one of the most popular free course available on Coursera, and it comes with a certificate. This is a well-structured course that will teach you all about patterns and quality attributes.
Java Programming-Principle Of Software Design
- Provider: Duke University
- Time: 13 hours
- Prerequisites: Java
- Price: Free
This is an excellent course if you are a Java programmer and want to get started in software architecture. It explains the core concepts of software design using Java programming. In the course, you will learn to think and design logically.
Best Software Architecture Books
Although there is not a lot of theory behind software architecture, books can guide you through the ideas and concepts of software architecture. Below are some of the most popular books on software architecture for you to browse as you study the courses above.
Fundamentals of Software Architecture, Neal Ford
This book is an excellent guide to software architecture. The language is kept as simple as possible, and the book deals with the basics before slowly climbing to the more advanced uses of software architecture.
Clean Architecture, Robert C. Martin
This book acts as a complete guide, discussing the practical applications of software design. It will give you an overview of software architecture, and will also provide you with information on future applications and opportunities in this field.
Designing Data-Intensive Applications, Martin Kleppmann
This book was the number one bestseller in the software architecture category. It covers the importance of software architecture and discusses the problems faced by companies that don’t have proper architecture programs.
Software Architecture Certifications
Certifications are the back-bone of every course. It’s the only hard proof you will have to show that you have attended a course and have obtained advanced knowledge. Some of the top certification courses in this area are as follows.
Software Architect Professional Certificate
This is the most formal certificate available in this field. It is highly acclaimed and is equivalent to a master’s degree in software architecture. It consists of three courses and you must complete them all to obtain the certificate. The three courses are paid, but the certificate is free.
Certified SOA Architect Certificate
This institute is specifically geared toward software architects. The SOA Architect certificate contains 23 lessons, and this course is the most thorough out of all we have listed. This is a highly acclaimed certification, and securing it will prove that you are an expert in the field.
Best Online Software Architecture Resources
Online resources are key to taking online courses because they provide a platform to practice and clear up any questions you have as a beginner or an expert.
YouTube contains the biggest video library in the world. It has thousands of videos on software architecture alone. Just search the subject and start scrolling through the lectures and tutorials available.
Github is the largest and most active programming community in the world. This is the place you should turn to whenever you start to think you’re the smartest person in the room. Here, you’ll find someone smarter who you can learn from. Github is a great place to learn new skills, show off your own, and most importantly, practice.
Should You Study Software Architecture?
Software plays a vital role in our world. So much of what we use every day runs on software. So, taking a course on how to write and manage that software can be extremely useful.
Software architecture is a very versatile and highly demanding field, so people who do get into it will have better job prospects, and will have an edge over their peers.
The growth in the job sector for software architects is forecasted at 21 percent in the coming years, which is much higher than the average growth rate of five percent across all sectors.
With increasing job opportunities and an average annual salary of about $114,000, software architecture is a role you should consider.
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