According to Indeed, the average salary for a software architect in the U.S. is $136,318. But with that large salary comes a lot of hard work.
So today we’re looking at the best software architecture books to get you started on your path to becoming a software architect. Some are for absolute beginners, others are more challenging.
No matter what your skill level, we’ve got something for just about everyone.
We’ve also included a few courses just in case you’re looking for some companion resources.
This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you buy something. Read my disclosure for more details.
TLDR: Best Software Architecture Books
We picked the absolute best software architecture books based on the following criteria:
🔥 Best Overall 🔥
Clean Architecture: A Craftsman’s Guide to Software Structure and Design
💥 Best for Newbies 💥
Just Enough Software Architecture
💸 Best Value 💸
Design It!: From Programmer to Software Architect
Best Software Architecture Books for 2021
Clean Architecture by Robert C. Martin is one of the best software architecture books out there. With over 50 years of experience, “Uncle Bob” shows you how to make the best decisions to maximize your success as a software architect.
In addition to learning how to address architectural challenges, you’ll learn how to master software design principles. Then you’ll learn about programing paradigms and their influence on developer restrictions.
You’ll also learn how to implement high-level structures for various application types. And perhaps most importantly, you’ll learn why architectures go wrong, and how to fix them.
Clean Architecture is ideal for aspiring software architects but is also relevant for programmers working with someone else’s designs.
🔥 Geena’s Hot Take
If you get one book on this list, make it Clean Architecture. If you ask around, most software architects will have this in their collection.
It’s a tool not only to learn software architecture, but to use as a reference throughout your career.
Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture Volume 2 was written by Douglas Schmidt, Michael Stal, et al.
Using a series of patterns, it will teach you how to design application and middleware software to run in concurrent and networked environments.
You’ll learn about:
- configuration patterns
- event handling patterns
- synchronization patterns
And much more.
Throughout the book, you’ll work with 17 patterns for idioms and architectural designs. There are plenty of exercises presented in C, C++ and Java.
With Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture, you’ll learn best practices for navigating middleware and beyond.
Want to learn more? Check out the other books in the Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture series.
Interested in learning more about software architecture in Java? Check out the course Software Architecture in Java: Design & Development on Educative.io.
Software Architecture: Foundations, Theory and Practice by Richard Taylor, Nenad Medvidovic and Eric Dashofy is one of the best software architecture books to learn a strong foundation of fundamentals.
There’s a heavy focus on the creation of real implemented systems.
Plus you’ll learn about:
- modeling techniques
- design implementation
- system adaptation
- deployment and mobility
And much more.
In addition, you’ll learn about designing architectures. This covers the design process, architectural conception and architectural patterns.
Also, you’ll learn about software architecture as it applies to people, roles and teams.
Software Architecture is geared towards complementing curriculum for upper-undergraduate and graduate courses in software architecture.
Looking for a good beginner course on software architecture? Sign up for Web Application and Software Architecture 101 on Educative.io.
Documenting Software Architectures by Paul Clements, Felix Bachmann, et al. aims to provide the most complete guidance on software architecture fundamentals. This includes capturing an architecture in a commonly understandable form, without using a specific programming language.
It’s separated into three parts.
First you’ll learn about different software architecture styles. These include service-oriented architectures, multi-tier architectures and data models.
Then in the second part of the book, you’ll learn how to complete the architecture documentation. So this includes things like:
- context diagrams
- variation points
- software behavior
Finally, in the third part of Documenting Software Architectures, you’ll learn about building architecture documentation.
Software Architect’s Handbook by Joseph Ingeno is one of the best software architecture books because of its comprehensive nature. Using design patterns and best practices, you’ll learn how to design efficient software architectures.
In addition, you’ll learn how software architecture relates to organizations. Software Architect’s Handbook will also teach you methods to improve your architecting skills.
Then you’ll learn about how DevOps affects software architecture. Plus you’ll become familiar with architecture documentation to reflect your DevOps decisions.
You’ll learn ways to refactor, integrate and re-architecture legacy applications. Finally, you’ll learn how to create evolving software architectures.
Architecture Patterns with Python by Harry J.W. Percival and Bob Gregory is a hands-on guide to enable Python developers to manage complex applications.
These include higher-level software architecture designs like:
- event-driven architecture
- clean architecture
- domain-driven design (DDD)
Architecture Patterns with Python is separated into two sections.
The first part will teach you how to support domain modeling by building an architecture. The second part covers event-driven architecture.
Every pattern in Architecture Patterns with Python is illustrated and contains examples in Python. Some patterns include:
- dependency inversion
- Repository and Unit of Work patterns
- the message bus
- command-query responsibility segregation (CQRS)
- reactive microservices
Just Enough Software Architecture by George Fairbanks teaches risk-driven architecture. That means it teaches you to use just enough software architecture based on given risks.
It’s is separated into two sections.
In the first part, you’ll learn about risk-driven software architecture. This covers everything from defining what software architecture is, all the way up to modeling advice.
The second part of the book delves deeper into architecture modeling. Here you’ll learn about different types of models:
- engineers use
And beyond. You’ll also learn about encapsulation, partitioning and model elements and relationships.
Then you’ll learn how to distinguish procedural knowledge from declarative knowledge as it applies to software architecture.
In addition, there’s a strong emphasis on engineering. So you’ll look at the technical side of software development.
Plus you’ll learn how to build models and analyze architectures.
According to the author of Fundamentals of Software Architecture Mark Richards, The Software Architect Elevator by Gregor Hohpe is “filled with tips and techniques to becoming an effective software architect.”
It’s separated into 6 parts such as:
This isn’t your typical software architecture book. Instead of learning concepts, you’ll learn about redefining the role of software architects.
So you’ll get real-world advice from an actual software architect. And with that comes lessons he learned while on the job.
The goal is to help you obtain a more complex, rewarding career in software architecture.
Want to learn about domain models and CQRS? Sign up for the course Modern Software Architecture on Pluralsight.
Fundamentals of Software Architecture by Mark Richards and Neal Ford was written to help developers transition to the field of software architecture.
You’ll look at things like:
- architectural characteristics and patterns
- component determination
- evolutionary architecture
In addition, you’ll learn about soft skills like how to effectively manage a team and deliver presentations.
You’ll also learn about software architecture through the eye of an engineer. So you’ll focus on repeatable results, concrete valuations, and more.
Fundamentals of Software Architecture focuses on modern approaches to engineering practices.
Become an Awesome Software Architect by Anatoly Volkhover has a strong focus on the business aspect of software architecture. It’s intended for both entrepreneurs and developers interested in fast-tracking their software architect career.
You’ll start with the absolute basics like learning the exact role of a software architect. Then you’ll dive into concepts like:
- code composition
- error recovery
- runtime infrastructures
And much, much more.
Become an Awesome Software Architect is packed with illustrations and code examples.
Software Architecture in Practice by Len Bass, Paul Clements and Rick Kazman was written based on architecture influence cycles for large software systems:
- technical environment
- life cycle of a project
- business profile
- software architect’s professional practices
Software Architecture in practice is separated into 5 parts:
- Quality Attributes
- Architecture in the Life Cycle
- Architecture in Business
- The Brave New World
Here you’ll learn about software architecture competence as it applies to businesses and individuals. You’ll also examine how business goals affect architecture.
Then you’ll learn how software architecture applies to current technologies like the cloud and social networks.
Looking for a course on software architecture? Sign up for Software Architecture on Coursera.
Designing Software Architectures by Humberto Cervantes and Rick Kazman was written to teach readers how to design systematic and repeatable software architectures.
The book is packed with case studies you can use to understand reusable design and structures.
You’ll learn about the Attribute-Driven Design (ADD) method to examine architectural concerns. In addition, you’ll use it to identify functional requirements, usability and availability.
Throughout the book, you’ll learn about architecture designs that support the complete software life cycle.
In addition to mastering core concepts, you’ll learn how to:
- scale design
- optimize analysis and design relationships
- adapt reusable designs to specific problems
- solve design problems in big data, cloud or mobile
Design It! by Michael Keeling provides dozens of design methods and examples to teach you how to become a software architect.
But first you’ll learn what software architecture is and what software architects do. Plus you’ll learn about design thinking fundamentals.
Then you’ll learn:
- devising a design strategy
- creating a foundation with patterns
- managing complexity with meaningful models
- empowering architects on your team
And much, much more.
Finally, you’ll dive into the software architect’s toolbox. This is where you’ll work on a series of 38 activities to apply what you’ve learned throughout Design It!
Beyond Software Architecture by Luke Hohmann maintains a heavy focus on the business value of software architecture. So you’ll learn how to build software architectures as they apply to a customer’s business goals.
First you’ll learn the basics of software architecture like creating an architecture, patterns, and principles. Then you’ll learn about product development and project management.
After that, you’ll learn about marketecture and tarchitecture as they relate to software systems.
You’ll also learn about:
- deployment architecture
- integration and extension
And much more.
So not only will you learn how to understand the business decision-making, you’ll learn how to build and maintain dynamic software.
Software Systems Architecture by Nick Rozanski and Eoin Woods is both an introduction to software architecture and a reference for best practices.
First you’ll learn design architectures that reflect the needs of stakeholders. Then you’ll examine overlooked designs as they relate to software architecture.
You’ll also learn how to use scenarios and patterns to design and document your architecture.
Finally, you’ll learn about architectural principles and how they’re used to make decisions.
Best Software Architecture Books: Conclusion
Today we looked at the best software architecture books, and three came out on top:
Best for Newbies
Just Enough Software Architecture
So whether you’re a newbie, are on a budget or want the best for your architectural dollar, we think there’s a book for every aspiring software architect.
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- What are the best software architecture books?
We chose the best software architecture books based on the following criteria. For best overall, we think Clean Architecture by Robert C. Martin is the way to go. For newbies, we think Just Enough Software Architecture by George Fairbanks is a quality book. And we think Design It! by Michael Keeling is the best value-conscious choice.
- Is Clean Architecture by Robert C. Martin worth it?
Clean Architecture by Robert C. Martin is one of the best software architecture books out there. With over 50 years of experience, he'll show you how to make the best decisions to maximize your success as a software architect. In addition to learning how to address architecture challenges, you'll how to master software design principles. Then you'll learn about programing paradigms and their influence on developer restrictions. You'll also learn how to implement high-level structures for various application types. And perhaps most importantly, you'll learn why architectures go wrong, and how to fix them. Clean Architecture is ideal for aspiring software architects but is also relevant for programmers working with someone else's designs.
- Is Fundamentals of Software Architecture by Mark Richards and Neal Ford a good book?
Fundamentals of Software Architecture was written to help developers transition to the field of software architecture. You'll look at things like architectural characteristics and patterns, component determination, diagramming
evolutionary architecture, and beyond. In addition, you'll learn about soft skills like how to effectively manage a team and deliver presentations. You'll also learn about software architecture through the eye of an engineer. So you'll focus on repeatable results, concrete valuations, and more. Fundamentals of Software Architecture focuses on modern approaches to engineering practices.