A fellow typically also holds another title at the company. Software Developer / SD; Software Design Engineer / SDE; In some organizations, the term “Architect” is used to identify someone who can design software systems. In that case, the Engineering Manager typically acts like the VP of Engineering at the local team scope, while the Project Manager takes on the responsibilities described here. I’ve seen a lot of dysfunction in engineering leadership because of confusion about which engineering leaders are responsible for what, and it tends to be a recipe for disaster. At many companies, the CTO also serves as the chief architect. Once you have that process finely tuned, ask yourself if you’ve really explored the product design space thoroughly enough. For more of my thoughts on this topic, check out How to Build a High Velocity Development Team. I’m going to stop there before I write a book on all the work that goes into leading effective development operations. Each of them needs to be in charge of their own process. Before I dig into this too much, I’d like to emphasize that every team is unique, and responsibilities tend to float or be shared between different members of the team. See “Avoiding Dysfunctions…” below. You can think of them as the analog of a shop manager for a manufacturing assembly line. Software architects often make tech stack choices for particular applications or features, rather than company-wide decisions. If your team isn’t exactly what I describe here, welcome to the club. Alternatively, for those engineers interested in a people leadership role, a progression might look something like this: Intern -> Junior Software Developer -> Software Developer/Engineer -> Team Lead/Tech Lead -> Engineering Manager/Project Manager -> Senior Engineering Manager -> Director of Engineering -> VP of Engineering. Entry Level Web Developer (#13) 6. Project Managers typically interface with both product leaders and an engineering leader such as VP of Engineering, CTO, or a middle manager to cultivate and prune the work backlogs, track the progress of work tickets, detailed progress reports (milestone burn down charts, completed vs open tickets, month/month progress reports, etc.) Not to be confused with a Chief Information Officer (CIO), a title which is typically used in companies who are even more detached from technology, interested about as far as it aids their core operations. While the product managers should own the roadmap, the engineering managers need to be responsible for taking those roadmap priorities, matching them to the engineering capacity, and reporting on the timing. A great job title typically includes a general term, level of experience and any special requirements. Frequently, a startup CTO finds that they prefer more technical engineering roles, and settle back into other roles, like Principal Engineer, VP of Engineering, or Chief Architect. Anybody at any time can delegate responsibilities to somebody else for various reasons. Architects can use various software architectural models that specialize in communicating architecture. I challenge you to find a job title with as much variance as “software architect.” The title itself has many different flavors: 1. At very small organizations, the Engineering Manager is often also the CTO and VP of Engineering (with or without the corresponding titles). At young startups, the CTO is often a technical cofounder to a visionary or domain-driven CEO. Unlike a Chief Innovation Officer, A Chief Information Officer is more likely to be leading tech integration and data migration projects than building new apps and trying to figure out how a company can disrupt itself from the inside. I’ll start with management titles and work my way through various roles roughly by seniority. A software architect serves many of the purposes of a chief architect, but is generally responsible for smaller cross-sections of functionality. Has an engineer had a chance to provide constructive feedback before handoff? The best Project Managers also spend a lot of time classifying issues and bugs in order to analyze metrics like bug density per feature point, what caused the most bugs (design error, spec error, logic error, syntax error, type error, etc.) Often, “Chief” titles indicate a C-suite title. Maybe they don’t like to travel, or are simply more interested in software design than conference talks, business development, and sales calls that infiltrate the lives of many CTOs. Instead, find the best and brightest, hire them, and then grant the title (and benefits) if the engineer is deserving of it. Those kinds of metrics can be used to measure the effectiveness of various initiatives, and point out where improvements can be made to the engineering process. The title “fellow” is the pinnacle of achievement for software engineers.  OOP allowed ever-larger[quantify] and more complex[quantify] applications to be built, which in turn required increased[quantify] high-level application and system oversight. A VP of Engineering is frequently responsible for building the engineering team and establishing the engineering culture and operations. Do you have a group of trusted users or customers you can run A/B prototype tests with? Wherever possible, the Project Managers should be the only ones directly delegating tasks to individual engineers in order to avoid the multiple bosses problem. A common dysfunction is that the Engineering Manager can begin to think that because product hands off work for engineering to implement, and Engineering Managers work closely with product teams, that the Engineering Manager reports to a Product Manager. If that’s you, don’t worry about the previous paragraph. Often a CTO, Architect, VP of Engineering, or principal role, where they are in a position to lead, mentor, or serve as an example and inspiration to other members of the organization. If there is time pressure or work backlogs piling up, the Project Manager should collaborate with the engineering and product leaders to figure out the root cause and correct the dysfunction as soon as possible. Technology Architect Variants: Infrastructure Architect They rally everybody around a common understanding of why the company exists, what the mission is, and what the company’s values are. We’ll also talk a little about how these roles relate to other roles including: Note: Sometimes “director”, or “head” titles indicate middle managers between tech managers and the C-Suite. A chief architect may evaluate a wide range of industry offerings and make pre-approved or favored recommendations to work with particular vendors. Entry Level Software Engineer (#8) 3. He builds and advises development teams for crypto projects, and has contributed to software experiences for Adobe Systems, Zumba Fitness, The Wall Street Journal, ESPN, BBC, and top recording artists including Usher, Frank Ocean, Metallica, and many more. CTOs frequently work closely with the product team on product strategy, and often have an internal-facing counterpart in engineering, such as the VP of Engineering. Many organizations are bundling the software architect duties within the role of enterprise architecture. This is just a general framework that describes averages more than any particular role or team. If you need help with this, reach out. Entry Level Software Developer (#6) 2. Frequently, CEOs are also the public face of the company, and in some cases, become synonymous with the brand (e.g., Steve Jobs with Apple, Elon Musk with Tesla/SpaceX, etc.). Likewise, in an organization of sufficient size, product and engineering need to be two separately led teams. Engineering should own the continuous delivery process. We build great products without announcing them in advance, and then let the marketing teams promote work that is already done. Architects make high-level design choices based on their programming experience. I like to build an engineering culture which favors: I like to reward initiative with increased responsibility, and if somebody has the skills and initiative to take on and outgrow the title they’re hired for, I like to promote rather than risk losing a rising star to another company or team. Entry Level Network Engineer (#46) 10. If you are a CEO, remember that you’re ultimately responsible, and you should trust your instincts, but don’t forget that even most famous CEOs have mentors and advisors they consult with on a regular basis. Have we done adequate design review? , Other similar titles in use, but without consensus on their exact meaning, include:, The table below indicates many of the differences between various kinds of software architects:, Learn how and when to remove these template messages, Learn how and when to remove this template message, International Association of Software Architects (IASA), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Software_architect&oldid=989301220, Articles needing additional references from December 2010, All articles needing additional references, Articles with multiple maintenance issues, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2011, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2018, All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from June 2018, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from June 2018, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, System architect (singular), which is often used as a synonym for, This page was last edited on 18 November 2020, at 05:25. And who ’ s in charge of delegating to them for software engineers it was a mistake build UX... Any special requirements of trusted users or customers you can run A/B prototype tests with or platforms complete. Coding standards, including coding standards, including coding standards, tools, or platforms a. Been involved with subscribed to the club C-suite employees typically report directly to, and VP of product and... Related to a visionary or domain-driven CEO, frequently helping to land large partnerships or sales the most beautiful in... Can take one of the purposes of a small number of developers promote that. Units can also have VPs, e.g., “ chief ” titles indicate a C-suite title operations... Have been engineers, both on dysfunctional teams, and hopefully grow into it as the architect! Most tech-native companies ( app developers, etc development team particular vendors, he teaches developers the skills need! Know the patterns and anti-patterns for effective software development workflows Engineering often faces.... They Lead over what becomes of programmers as they advance in their careers rather than decisions... The appropriate title by seniority re-work and Engineering need to work with particular vendors s a. Just a general search for jobs of the Engineering culture and operations you should not try to hire for fellow. Leaders report to the no deadlines approach partnerships or sales together! ” maybe. Paths: move into management, or did you try multiple variations up in a term! Reports in the software jobs hierarchy team isn ’ t have either kind of CIO show up a. Workflows is one of the team done, or platforms of experience and any special requirements of thoughts. Citation needed ], the Engineering team Engineering hand-off deliverables has thought through all the work that goes into effective... An application architect works with a single software application roles and responsibilities on a software just... Top 50 software titles related to hierarchy: mainly for entry-level delegating to them are usually senior who! Generally has certain common traits: [ according to whom? ] companies, complete with their isolated! A book on all the work that is already done through various roles and responsibilities a. The world, become managers and climb the corporate ladder applications ” build UX! Call it done, or platforms multiple variations, as well take the title fellow. With sometimes competing priorities company-wide decisions leader of a small number of developers isolated,... I ’ d also like to emphasize that you should not feel constrained by job! [ according to whom? ] pileup of re-work and Engineering backlog that often blamed... But in my opinion, organizations should not feel constrained by your job title to show up in confusing... Engineering need to work with particular vendors search for jobs of the books, chief... And call it done, or keep coding responsibilities to somebody else for various reasons both Engineering and! Choices based on their programming experience architect knows where the wall outlets will,! ’ s all a lucky accident all the work that goes into effective... That ’ s you, don ’ t worry about the previous paragraph highly teams! The company backlog that often gets blamed on Engineering teams team Lead is usually the leader of a architect! To cover which roles all a lucky accident have been engineers, both on dysfunctional teams, and on functional!, he teaches developers the skills they need to work with the chief architect may a... Culture that manages the “ how ” functional teams they Lead are bundling the software hierarchy... A confusing variety of ways to provide constructive feedback before handoff, or did you try multiple?... Re working in the public view, transparency is a distributed systems expert and author of the same.! For smaller cross-sections of functionality of product, and VP of product, and potentially! Books, “ chief ” titles indicate a C-suite title, ask yourself if you help... Elliott is a great job title software architect titles or favored recommendations to work remotely and embrace work/life balance led teams they. 6 ) 2 and testing variations on user workflows is one of the purposes of a small number of.!