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Behind the Scenes: The Work of a Software Integration Architect

The New York City (NYC) subway system interconnects the five boroughs and suburbs to one another, facilitating the travel of millions daily. Someone had to design the Subway system. Like the designer(s) of the NYC Subway system, who designed it to interconnect destinations and facilitate people's travel, the Software Integration Architect designs systems to interconnect applications, facilitating data transmission.

This post will peer into the career of Software Integration Architects and answer the following questions:

Disclaimer: Everything mentioned on this post and throughout my site are my thoughts and opinions. They are not thoughts from MuleSoft or Salesforce, my current employer.

What is a Software Integration Architect?

A software integration architect (or integration architect) is a software architect that specializes in designing software integrations that connect multiple software applications. In addition to being well-versed in the same concerns as software integration engineers (integration engineers), like integration patterns, databases and other data systems, security, network protocols, and cloud computing, these architects are concerned with designing solutions that satisfy non-functional and functional requirements.

Integration architects are your designated future-looking, big-picture teammates. Not only do integration architects worry about fulfilling your project’s needs, but a good integration architect is concerned about how the solution will function in five years.

I love hearing from my past employers and clients that integrations I designed and wrote are still running and producing results at their companies five years later.

What does a Software Integration Architect do?

Daily tasks for integration architects include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Presenting and fostering architectural design discussions with stakeholders and project leads (product manager, development lead, test lead, security lead, etc.)

  2. Working with cross-functional teams to design an integration solution that satisfies functional and non-functional requirements

  3. Evaluating software and performing gap analysis assessments to address project needs

  4. Assessing the tradeoffs between software and infrastructure offerings

  5. Providing architectural direction to the development team

  6. Building proof of concepts and starter projects during the design phase to prove the technology will fulfill the project’s needs

  7. Working with the development team to produce architectural diagrams and design documentation

  8. Tweaking original architecture to accommodate changes in design during the project’s implementation

  9. Ensuring non-functional requirements are met, like performance and security

  10. Helping with implementation when needed.

Who do Software Integration Architects work with?

As stated earlier, integration architects work on cross-functional teams. Cross-functional teammates could include integration engineers, other architects, business analysts, product managers, security analysts, DevOps engineers, etc.

Relationship with the development lead

Integration architects should work closely throughout the project with the development lead to ensure that the software implementation addresses the architectural direction. The working relationship between these two roles will produce a realistic architecture that can be implemented.

Please note: Depending on your organization, the integration architect role could be fulfilled by the development lead. For instance, I have taken on many architectural responsibilities as the development lead.

Relationship with enterprise architects

Enterprise architects are responsible for assessing and addressing the software, infrastructure, and other technology architectural needs of the entire organization (or enterprise). If there is a solid integration framework in place, corporate-wide software, security, and infrastructure have already been addressed, and the integration architect should design solutions that work to utilize the technologies already in place.

The integration architect should also communicate with the enterprise architect to discuss the enterprise technologies and determine if they will meet the project’s needs. For instance, each integration may have the same logging strategy and be deployed on a cloud framework. However, your project could have special non-functional requirements that require an audit trail and that all data is at rest and in transit flow on-premise. Those concerns should be addressed on the project and enterprise levels.

How to become a Software Integration Architect?

Career Paths

Integration architects are usually integration engineers promoted to the architecture role. These engineers have spent years building integrations to connect many systems, from mainframe to internal web applications, to SaaS systems.

Integration architects can also be or convert from other information technology architectural spaces, like web applications, security, etc. In addition, they can start in non-traditional roles like product and program managers or business analysts.

Experience matters

If you are interested in becoming a software integration architect, it is recommended that you get a lot of experience integrating many different systems first. Experience helps to quickly address requirements and issues that may arise in the project. Integration architects also provide additional direction to the development team. Lending a helping hand backed with years of experience in implementing integration solutions to the development team may help the team to deliver the solution on time and maybe quicker than intended.

Note: The best architects are willing to jump in and help the development team with implementation as needed.

Soft skills are essential

Technical skills are essential, but soft skills are equally important. A person in a junior role may get by with little to no communication skills. Depending on the organization, they may just be told to do the task and not to communicate. If this is the case for you, please start working on developing soft skills. Soft skills will set you apart from the next person in your role.

Leadership, communication, and presentation skills are extremely important in your career, as well as integration architects. Integration architects must confidently present and communicate architectural ideas with stakeholders and tech leads and take full responsibility for the architectural direction, which will be fed to other teams during the implementation, testing, and security phases.

Lastly, believe in yourself, make your intentions known to your employer, and start thinking about the system design. When you feel ready, start applying for integration architecture roles.


In concussion, software integration architects set the architectural tone for the project. I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions or want to expand on this topic, please comment in the comment section below.

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