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Difference? - Java Architect & Java Developer

 
Faisal Ahmad
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Hello all!

What is the difference between Java architect and Java developer? To become SCEA, there are no pre-requisites. Why? But, SCJD requires SCJP.
I have an opinion that - starting a career as a programmer one will become developer and then architect. Is it correct? If it is, then SCEA should have a requirement of SCJD or any other developer certification.

Please correct my opinions.
Thanks in advance!
 
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
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Everyone wants to be an architect.

The architect is the visionary. They figure out what the building blocks of a solution are, and they figure out how those building blocks fit together. It is a somewhat high level skill that is needed.

An architect requires an understanding of what the various technologies do, but they don't have to know exactly how those technologies are implemented. It's like an architect building a house - they need to know where the plumbing goes, but they certainly don't have to be a master plumber. Similarly, a Java architect doesn't need to know the mind numbing details of the classloading hierarchy to know how a solution should be built.

That's the architect.

From what I've seen, the architect position is probably one of the highest paid positions out there. Usually goes architect, project manager, lead developer, and then code monkeys and paper mules underneath.

Kind regards,

-Cameron
 
Faisal Ahmad
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Thanks for your reply!
Does it mean - without any coding experience one can become an architect? Because, without any plumbing experience one can become an house architect.
For eg. let us examine a case:
Take a guy that has studied engineering and did lot of hard work to pass SCEA studying all available books and material. He doesn't has any experience in coding, as you can see. Now that he passed the SCEA exam, he started applying for architect jobs because he is certified by none other than Sun!! In such case, what is your opinion? Can he really architect? Will companies believe he can architect?
I also have another question: Is it not duty of an architect to guide the developers? If not he, then who takes this responsibility? Can he simply move away just providing the design?
Please don't mind my questions. Its simply a quest to know more and understand more. Please never mind!
I appreciate replies!
Thanks again!!
 
Faisal Ahmad
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....and some more:
In between developer and architect, where does engineer stands?
What differentiates between Java Developer, Java Engineer and Java Architect? (Also think replacing Java with Software)
 
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
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Can you become the , the war president, the Commander-in-Chief of the largest army in the world without actually having fought in a war? Yes, I know, it would be ludicrous, but it's possible.

I've been only plenty of projects where it looks like it was architected by a two year old without any knowledge of a computer. Yes, you can definitely become an architect without any knowledge of Java whatsoever. It happens all too often.

I'm actually architecting a major J2EE and WebSphere Portal solution as we speak. It's a 3 month engagement that will finish in the new year. I'll actually be gone before anyone actually starts coding. I won't be leading any developers.

Once I'm gone, my documents will guide the development. There will be changes along the way, and when those changes occur, they will likely be verified by a Java Engineer. The lead developer will lead the implementation, and the timing and activities will be coordinated by the project manager.

Oh, and the code monkeys will suffer.



-Cameron McKenzie
[ October 24, 2007: Message edited by: Cameron McKenzie ]
 
Faisal Ahmad
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Cameron,
Many many thanks for your prompt replies!
Thanks for your examples too! I've learnt a lot.
I understand, as an architect, one needs to keep an eye on latest technologies and perhaps 'designs' too. I think, an architect deals with the 'customer/user requirements'?
As an architect, do you have something to share with us? Maybe an article/design/suggestion? What are the steps you've taken before becoming an architect?
Thanks again!
 
Tejas Bavishi
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I tried to find skills and responsiblities for different roles.
I found an interesting link on the web

http://www.opengroup.org/architecture/togaf8-doc/arch/chap30.html
 
Gabriel Claramunt
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Some thoughts:
An architect deals with the requirements, because he must know what needs to be built. The functional requirements will guide his core design, but his choices will be based in the non-functional requirements and constraints (performance, usability, maintainability, etc.)
It can be an interesting discussion, In my opinion an architect MUST have a good coding experience, or he will understand poorly the "forces" that shapes a software system, one needs the experience of dealing with levels of abstraction and manage complexity, because an architect works with higher complexity and at higher levels of abstraction (otherwise, an architect is not needed). Also there's the "soft" factor that an architect who doesn't know how to code probably will be distrusted by the programmers and they'll not follow their designs.
The lack of pre-requisites for the SCEA certification is meant for people with experience but not particularly in Java, not for people without experience.
The International Association of Software Architects (IASA) is trying to create a profession of Software Architecture, is very interesting, if you are interested in software architecture, I'll recommend you to take a look.
 
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