Senior Technical Architect

Summary

A senior technical architect works on large or multiple pieces of work that are complex or risky.

At this role level, you will:

  • define strategy and be central to assuring services
  • regularly collaborate and find agreement with senior stakeholders, providing direction and challenge
  • be proactive in identifying problems and translating these into non-technical descriptions that can be widely understood
  • mentor and coach junior colleagues

Background

Background Components

Description Background
Is familiar with the systems development lifecycle and typical problems associated with the implementation and operation of information systems and has an appreciation of both functional and non-functional requirements. Is aware of the organisation’s IT infrastructure and software development and maintenance methods, tools and techniques. Is familiar with the organisation’s IT strategy, policies and standards, and any industry regulations/constraints. Is aware of risk management, change management, configuration management, reliability and safety methods and the use of metrics. Prior Knowledge and Skills

Work Activity Components

Title Details
Architecture development Contributes to the development of solution architectures in specific business, infrastructure or functional areas, using appropriate tools and methods.
Change programmes Supports a change programme or project through the preparation of technical plans and application of design principles that comply with enterprise and solution architecture standards (including security).
Evaluation and selection Identifies and evaluates alternative architectures and the trade-offs in cost, performance and scalability.
Technical assurance Participates in quality reviews (e.g. fitness for purpose, quality attributes, non-functional requirements, risk) of solution architecture components.
Technical exceptions Monitors technical progress, informing project teams of any potential technical issues. Advises on the impact of technical exceptions (including requests for changes, deviations from specifications, etc), and ensures that there is proper technical assessment of all exceptions.
Reviews and controls Contributes to formal reviews and evaluations when projects and programmes end. Documents and socialises the lessons learned from the architecture development.
Documentation Documents all work using the appropriate standards, methods and tools, including prototyping tools where appropriate.
Design Produces outline design specifications for moderately complex systems covering for example: objectives, scope, constraints (such as performance, resources etc.), hardware, network and software environments, main system functions and information flows, data load and implementation strategies, phasing of development, requirements not met, and alternatives
Components design Designs components using appropriate modelling techniques following agreed architectures, design standards, patterns and methodology. Identifies and evaluates alternative design options and trade-offs.
Detailed design specification Produces detailed design specification to form the basis for construction of systems, including for example: physical data flows, class and sequence diagrams, database schemas, file layouts, common routines and utilities, program specifications or prototypes, and backup, recovery and restart procedures. Reviews, verifies and improves own designs against specifications.
Presentation of design Models, simulates or prototypes the behaviour of proposed systems components to enable approval by stakeholders.

Knowledge/Skills

Knowledge/Skills Components

Title Depth Details Type
Analytical Thinking Acquiring a proper understanding of a problem or situation by breaking it down systematically into its component parts and identifying the relationships between these parts. Selecting the appropriate method/tool to resolve the problem and reflecting critically on the result, so that what is learnt is identified and assimilated. Behavioural Skills
Cross-Functional and Inter-Disciplinary Awareness Understanding the needs, objectives and constraints of those in other disciplines and functions. Behavioural Skills
Application Systems Familiar with Technical or functional understanding of Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) applications and/or other bespoke software deployed within the organisation in order to provide system configuration, audit, technical, and/or functional support. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Application Development Tools Proficient in Software tools which automate or assist part of the development process. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Database Software Familiar with Software that enables the user to capture, create, populate and manipulate data structures and where appropriate unstructured data. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Networking and Communications Aware of The planning and management of the interaction between two or more networking systems, computers or other intelligent devices. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Corporate, Industry and Professional Standards Proficient in Applying standards, practices, codes, and assessment and certification programmes relevant to the IT industry, and the specific organisation or business domain. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Operational/Service Architecture Familiar with Knowledge of the IT/IS infrastructure and the IT applications and service processes used within own organisation, including those associated with sustainability and efficiency. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Structured Reviews Familiar with Methods and techniques for structured reviews, including reviews of technical work products, test plans, business cases, architectures and any other key deliverables. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Business Environment Familiar with The business environment relating to own sphere of work (own organisation and/or closely associated organisations, such as customers, suppliers, partners and competitors), in particular those aspects of the business that the specialism is to support (i.e. localised organisational awareness from a technical perspective). Technical Knowledge and Skills
IT Environment Proficient in The IT environment relating to own sphere of work (own organisation and/or closely associated organisations, such as customers, suppliers, partners), in particular own organisation’s technical platforms and those that interface to them through the specialism, including those in closely related organisations. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Middleware Familiar with Software which forms part of the operating platform infrastructure. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Infrastructure Configuration Familiar with Knowledge and understanding of infrastructure configurations. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Cloud/Virtualisation Aware of The principles and application of cloud/ virtualisation (including ownership, responsibilities and security implications). Use of tools and systems to manage virtualised environments. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Design Principles Familiar with Principles and practice of good sustainable, secure, maintainable and efficient system design. Together with standard industry design approaches. Understanding the importance of adhering to design principles during infrastructure development, taking into account all relevant non-functional requirements in order to assure smooth running of the service in live operation. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Development Approach Proficient in Understanding and application of different development approaches e.g. iterative/ incremental methodologies (Agile, XP, TDD, SCRUM) or traditional sequential methodologies (Waterfall or V-Model). Irrespective of development methodology a DevOps approach may also be taken where development and operational staff work collaboratively. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Proof of Concept and Prototyping Familiar with Performing a proof of concept or prototyping exercise to demonstrate or evaluate the feasibility and potential benefits of applying a particular technological business change in order to meet a business need. Technical Knowledge and Skills
DevOps Familiar with The collaborative approach consisting of agile practices, processes, and procedures designed to facilitate rapid IT service and product delivery. DevOps emphasizes people (and culture) and seeks to improve collaboration between development (Dev) and operations (Ops) teams with the aim of shortening the systems development life cycle to provide continuous release of high-quality software. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Agile Familiar with A collection of methods, practises, tools and techniques, underpinned by the Agile Manifesto, that enable teams to deliver high value products and services in small, workable, increments. An Agile culture typically encompasses concepts such as Servant-Leaders; ceremonies, Stand-Ups, Sprints and Retrospectives; and the deployment of tools and techniques such as Backlogs and A/B Testing. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Quality Management Familiar with The system or method for the management of quality within the employing organisation’s Information Technology practices, including quality planning, assurance Other Knowledge and Skills
Techniques for Effective Meetings Aware of Methods and techniques for running effective meetings and for understanding and influencing the roles played by participants. Other Knowledge and Skills
Coaching Techniques Aware of Methods and techniques for coaching individuals or groups by a balanced combination of support and direction, including use of virtual learning environments plus add-ons to augment feedback specific to work items, workflow or career plans. Other Knowledge and Skills
Project Planning and Control Techniques Aware of Methods and techniques associated with planning and monitoring progress of projects. Other Knowledge and Skills

Training Activities

Training Components

Title Details
Program Design Methods and Programming or system development methods (e.g. structured program design).
Systems Development Systems development, including development life cycles and methods, organisation interfaces, typical corporate application architectures, project and programme management, risk management and change control.
Coaching Concepts, methods and techniques for providing coaching in subject specialisms to individuals or groups (e.g. GROW model).
Network Infrastructure Architecture The frameworks and principles on which networks, systems, equipment and resources are based.
Mentoring Methods and techniques for providing mentoring support to less experienced individuals.
Security Awareness Tools and techniques to help users and employees understand the role they play in helping to combat information security breaches and for IT and security professionals to prevent and mitigate risk.
User Interface Design Principles, practices, tools and techniques for user interface design and the creation of graphical user interfaces that make user interaction with systems, software, and applications as simple and efficient as possible.

PDAs

PDA Components

Title Details
Deputising Standing in for supervisor or manager on a temporary basis during periods of absence.
Job Shadowing and Special Assignments Undertaking temporary periods or secondments in other roles, inside or outside IT, particularly those that offer a new perspective on own function or exposure to other environments and cultures.
Research Assignments Exploring a topic which is not part of own normal responsibilities and presenting findings to colleagues and/or management
Gaining Knowledge of Activities of Employing Organisation Developing an understanding of the potentially diverse range of activities (service, governance, administrative, regulatory, commercial, charitable, industrial, etc.) undertaken by the employing organisation.
Gaining Knowledge of IT Concepts and Techniques Undertaking study, learning and, where possible, practice in IT concepts and techniques external to own function.
Participation in Professional Body Affairs Taking an active part in professional body affairs at branch, specialist group, committee or board level.
Negotiating and Influencing Undertaking learning and practice of negotiating with and influencing others.

Qualifications

Qualification Components

Title Awarding Body
BCS Practitioner Certificate in Systems Design BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT
BCS Intermediate Certificate in Enterprise and Solution Architecture BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT
TOGAF Certification Portfolio (4 certificates) The Open Group
Registered IT Technician (RITTech) BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT
FEDIP Senior Practitioner FEDIP

Organisation Skills

Framework » Organisation
Category » Subcategory
Skill Name and Description Level
DDaT » Architecture Architecture – Communicating between the technical and non- technical (technical architect)

You can translate technical concepts relating to software engineering, delivery management and service management so they are understood by all.

3 – Practitioner

You can identify the needs of business and technical stakeholders. You can effectively manage stakeholder expectations. You can demonstrate excellent communication skills and can manage difficult conversations or negotiations.

DDaT » Architecture Architecture – Governance and assurance

You can understand technical governance. You can participate in or deliver the assurance of a service

3 – Practitioner

You can evolve and define governance. You can take responsibility for working with and supporting other staff in wider governance. You can assure services across sets of services.

You can use tools such as standards, guardrails and principles to effectively govern delivery.

DDaT » Architecture Architecture – Making and guiding decision

You can make and guide effective decisions, explaining clearly how the decision has been reached. You can understand and resolve technical disputes across varying levels of complexity and risk.

2 – Working

You can make decisions characterised by managed levels of risk and complexity and recommend decisions as risk and complexity increase. You can resolve technical disputes between wider peers and indirect stakeholders, considering all views and

DDaT » Architecture Architecture – Strategy

You can produce a strategy for technology that meets business needs. You can create, refine and challenge patterns, standards, policies, roadmaps and vision statements. For this skill, senior roles tend to be more proactive as they set the strategy, whereas junior roles tend to be more reactive, responding to the strategy.

2 – Working

You can apply strategy, using and challenging patterns, standards, policies, roadmaps and vision statements. You can provide guidance.

DDaT » Architecture Architecture – Turning business problems into technical design

You can work with business and technology stakeholders to translate business problems into technical designs. You can create optimal designs through iterative processes, aligning the system requirements and organisational objectives with the user

3 – Practitioner

You can design systems characterised by medium levels of risk, impact, and business or technical complexity. You can work across multiple services or a single large or complicated service.

DDaT » Architecture Architecture – Understanding the whole context

You can look beyond the immediate technical problem and identify the wider implications. You can demonstrate knowledge of the relevant historical context and future impact. You can understand how current work fits in broader contexts and strategies. You can identify deeper underlying problems and

2 – Working

You can understand trends and practices outside your team and how these will impact your work. You can see how your work fits into the broader strategy and historical context. You can consider the patterns and interactions on a larger scale.

This job role profile was created in collaboration with BCS, using Role Model Plus. BCS is the professional body that has the responsibility of updating this job family.

 

 

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