What is the distinction between software design and software architecture?

Kazem Mirzaei
4 min readMar 24, 2022


Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

The software designer or software architect position, like many others in the software business, can vary greatly from company to company. The size of the company, the complexity of the project, the experience of the development team, the organizational structure, and the age of the company may all influence how these jobs look.

The software designer job is the process of turning the requirements of a customer into working code that is stable and maintainable in the long run, and can be evolved and can become part of a larger system.

A software architect would be in charge of looking at the entire system and selecting appropriate frameworks, data storage, and solutions, as well as defining how components interact with one another. That brings us to the primary difference between software design and software architecture.

In short, software design examines the lower-level aspects of a system, whereas software architecture examines the bigger picture and the higher-level aspects of a system.

Great software designers and architects are detail-oriented and forward-thinking individuals. They must be able to see the product at both low and high levels. To provide a great solution to the challenge, they must be innovative problem solvers. They must also be able to successfully communicate their ideas to the product manager and the development team. Software design and architecture are critical components of the software development process.

Why is software design and architecture is important?

Design and architecture are important if you want to have a stable, long-lived system. Anybody can build a system that’ll last a week or a month or a year, but if you want to build something that is the basis of other people’s work and contribution over potentially years or longer, in some cases, you need to put some thought into it. You need to have somebody who's job is to look out for the long game and make sure that you are not making suboptimal short term decisions.

What are key challenges in software design and architecture?

One of the primary issues is the tendency to have to trade-off between speed and quality. typically, there’s a propensity for the consumer in the business to want their outcomes as fast as feasible. And the engineering team tends to build the most robust, thoroughly designed and implemented system that is possible. As a result, we constantly trade-off between these things.

Another important issue is understanding the client’s problem. because in many cases, the client doesn’t know what they want to do either. They come in with only a partial understanding, a vague kind of sense that they could be doing things better. But often, one of the first tasks is to help them understand, with more precision, what their business is.

What does a software architecture do?

A software architect’s job is to be the interface between the product and the customer and the engineering teams.

When customers will express demand or need for the software, it is the architect’s responsibility to then work with the customers and product managers, to come up with the technical specifications of how we’re going to solve the problem.
They then take those needs to the engineering teams and collaborate with them on how to actualize them in a way that meets the customer’s objectives while also being aligned with the technical best practices and nonfunctional criteria that must be adhered to in the product.

The software architect is like a building architect. They’re responsible for the overall conceptual integrity of the project.

What does a software designer do?

software designer oversees the construction, maintenance and expansion of a business or organization’s computer systems. They manage each department’s demands, advise technological direction, and establish any networks that link up computers with the company.
To teach, test, and debug software to the end product, software engineers must also have interpersonal skills and be able to successfully connect with consumers. They are frequently involved in the early phases of software planning through testing, development, training, and support.

What is a career path for software architecture?

Most architects started as software engineers usually as an intern. They work on progressively larger and larger pieces of the software that they’re responsible for.

And what happens is, those engineers get to a level of comfort where they start to push outside of the code base that they’re indirectly responsible for. And they start involving themselves in discussions around the larger impacts to the system of the work that’s being done.

It’s a gradual building of reputation is that makes someone into a software architect.

What skills are needed in being a software designer or architecture?

An architect has to have several important skills deep technical expertise is table stakes. You have to be a technical guru at a certain level.

In addition to that, you need to be able to communicate with people at the level that they want to be communicated with. So if you’re talking to a business person, they don’t want to hear about your code. They want to hear about their business problems. And they want to hear how you’re solving their business problems.

If you’re talking to an engineer, they want to know the business context but they need you to talk to them about code. And so, it’s really important to have that ability to understand how the person you’re talking to wants to be communicated with.

Additionally, some basic functional skills like a little bit of project planning and organizational skills, being able to keep a backlog of work so that you don’t forget about things. Being able to juggle a lot of different competing concerns at the same time is also a very important skill.



Kazem Mirzaei

Software Engineer | Full Stack, PHP, Laravel, React, Vue, Docker

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