A systems architect provides top-level system design in the field of systems engineering. By creating a solid framework, the systems architect ensures that a system will be able to grow, evolve and endure. System architects both plan and implement system creation and upgrades and are often tasked with delegating responsibilities to the appropriate parties.
In essence, the systems architect can translate the user’s vision — whether it be an automated production line in a factory or a sewer system in a new high rise building — into engineering terms. The systems architect provides the practical elements by which that vision can be achieved. By creating a strong, but flexible core design, the systems architect lays the groundwork for innovation and advancement. A good design also allows for recovery from a variety of setbacks and potential damages to the system.
Before creating a new system, the systems architect must study an organization and thoroughly understand its structure. As the position requires extensive research, the architect must be able to interact with individuals at every level of an organization from top management to the end users. Systems architects also work closely with technical solution providers in order to ensure that the system envisioned is a practical possibility and is developed for optimum strength.
Some of the key responsibilities of systems architect include communicating with various involved parties to get a grasp of what they need from the system and determining a schedule and budget for fulfilling those needs. System architects also decide which methods are best to achieve project goals. They often organize the elements of the system into portions that can be managed by teams or individuals with a specialization in that particular area.
System architects typically work in several mediums to communicate the details of an evolving system. They may write a user guide, create sketches or build models and prototypes. Frequently they work with a team in order to keep in constant contact over the changing details of the system design and to stay informed of the development of the system as viewed from different perspectives. Though keeping relevant individuals informed is an important part of the job, a system architect also works to streamline the system so that a minimum of communication is required.
There is also a great deal of troubleshooting in the position, as the system architect must work with team members to solve problems that arise throughout the development and evolution of the system. They must be analytical, practical and able to consider several elements while approaching these issues. System architects usually work with a team to test the system in order to try to anticipate problems before they happen.