Chief Software Architect vs CTO: Explaining the Difference

Technical expertise is an integral part of every software development. Companies rely on developers’ education, experience, and skill set to make sure the project will meet the winning edge and take a competitive position on the market. Apart from hiring well-qualified developers, software development organizations are also often looking for a CTO for hire, Chief Technical Officer, a person who focuses on the long-term business goals, covers much more technical responsibilities, and takes the leadership position in the development team. Another position presented on the IT market is Chief Software Architect who acts similarly to the building architect – he/she helps compose the whole project brick by brick and reports to the CTO. To make things clear for you, we decided to define the key difference between these positions, reveal their duties and responsibilities, and point out the need to hire chief software architect vs CTO.

Software Architect Roles and Responsibilities

The person on the position of software architect controls and maintains a full-cycle development process, deals with stakeholders, and reports directly to the Chief Technology Officer. For the technical background, they must possess experience in different domains of software app development, including programming code knowledge, testing, deployment, documentation, and agile methodologies. In addition to technical skills, CSAs usually must demonstrate a solid understanding of people management to be able to run a team of developers.

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Hands-on coding.
  • All DevOps and backend code.
  • Daily team management, tech stack problem resolution.
  • Timely release (ensure the timeframe is maintained).
  • Budget execution.
  • Lead the design of software solutions, guide the maintenance of legacy software (bug fixing process, initiate requests for enhancement, provide internal support).
  • Identify the required tools and languages for coding.
  • Report on the status of tasks and collaborate with the technical leader (the CTO).

In order to boost your project development shortly, the companies across the world require the following (mostly used) software architect certifications: AWS Certified Solution Architect, CTA, ITIL, CISSP, TOGAF 9.

CTO: Responsibilities

While the CSA manages the bottom-level software development, the CTO’s role directly correlates with the long-term company’s business strategy. They are mainly responsible for monitoring the cutting-edge technologies evolving on the market, assessing the product’s potential among competitors, overseeing the approaches of the project to add value to the product, and developing the strategy for the future in terms of the released product.

Key Roles:

  • Develop a technical strategy of the project along with the CEO of the company.
  • Participate in the recruitment process to hire necessary personnel for rational and efficient project completion.
  • Resolve the internal and technical issues coming from the team.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals, analyze possible risks, advocate for emerging technological ideas.
  • Collaborate with marketing specialists to build the strategy on the product’s promotion thought its online presence on the market
  • Perform technical analysis and participate in coding, testing, and other development processes.

Despite the fact that CTO’s list of roles and responsibilities is shorter, there is much more responsibility reflected in each of his/her daily activities.

Chief Software Architect Chief Technology Officer
  • Design the software
  • Code, test, release, and maintain the product
  • Collaborate with the team, guarantee their engagement and satisfaction
  • Initiate the changes
  • Solve internal management issues
  • Keep an eye on the deadlines and product’s budget
  • Conduct daily meetups, delegate the short-term goals, distribute the tasks smartly
  • Align technology with business strategy
  • Visualize strategic product roadmap
  • Perform top and middle-level management
  • Build the team and maintain their integration
  • Provide solid support to the CSA
  • Research for innovations to add value

CTO vs Software Architect in the USA, UK, Germany, Denmark, and Ukraine

With the world’s tendency to going outsourcing or nearshoring, you are no longer limited to hiring technical experts in your country. Let’s take a look at 5 countries where you can hire them and compare CTO and senior software architect annual salaries in those countries.

Chief Software Architect Chief Technology Officer
USA $124,050 $161,419
UK $72,586 $125,420
Germany $77,864 $98,582
Ukraine $19,700 $26,622
Denmark $90,845 $116,893

Source: payscale.com

Do You Need to Hire a Software Architect or CTO?

To uncover the truth around the purpose of CSA and CTO for your business, let’s look at this from the perspective of your company’s size. Usually, the startup’s founder is a person with an immense technical background and basically occupies the position of the CTO. He/she develops the strategy, manages the team, and controls the tech flow of the project. Nonetheless, startup businesses that have distributed teams usually hire a remote software architect to operate within the remote development team. They can either go for the services of principal software engineer vs architect depending on the size of the remote team.

When the corporation runs several projects and deals with a great number of developers in each project, they need to have the additional technical expertise to cope with the technical duties. Huge companies rely on CTOs as they considerably facilitate the internal matters of the project and help align the goals of the project to the business ones.

Mobilunity, a nearshoring vendor in Ukraine, is not limited to hiring dedicated development teams and we also provide the services of finding CTOs and CSAs. We carefully analyze the local talent pool, research a necessary technical background of the candidate, and select the ones who would perform managerial duties as well. With over 10 years of experience in nearshoring, our recruiting team helps you find the best specialists to scale up your business operations.

Mobilunity will find a software architect or CTO to grow your technical team. Reach out to us via the contact form below to engage our technical experts to your project!

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