Digital and technology skills

Technical architecture

Using a logical approach and user-centred design to plan the structure of technology systems.

Architecture includes both the logical design as well as its physical implementation. Logical architecture based on user-centred service design and clear user needs should always come before physical architecture. People working with technical architecture will also need skills from the Development skills group.

Some relevant roles: technical architects, developers, infrastructure managers

Architecture for digital services

Creating architecture for digital purposes

Understanding how architecture practice should look in a digitally focused environment.

This involves:

  • ‘horizon scanning’
  • being able to identify opportunities in emerging software so technology doesn’t stagnate

Technical integration

Connecting front-end and back-end environments

Bridging understanding and being able to operate in both digital/front-end and technology/back-end environments

Integrating new and legacy systems

This involves:

  • being able to integrate new digital front-end solutions with legacy back-end systems
  • when looking at overall system design, considering all elements of digital front-end with back-end and internal/external system integration

Considering impact of digital transformation on integration

This involves:

  • considering all traditional aspects of integration (eg universal data models and messaging) when designing architecture
  • taking into account how these are affected by digital transformation

Designing APIs

Building integration points/APIs so they’re secure and adaptable.

Integrating outsourced elements

This involves:

  • ensuring that elements of outsourcing are in line with government policies on external vendors
  • ensuring that outsourced elements are technically integrated with overall system design
  • working with external suppliers to ensure their system architecture is robust, scalable, open and secure

Service Integration and Management

Managing multiple suppliers

Understanding how the management of multiple suppliers and integration of services provides a single business-facing technology organisation based on user needs.

Providing end-to-end service management

This involves:

  • co-ordinating and consolidating the management of individual services from service providers
  • providing end-to-end service management
  • ensuring that services continually meet business objectives and requirements for performance quality and cost

Procuring for service integration

Procuring and commissioning what’s needed to complete end-to-end service integration, while making sure to:

  • understand user needs first
  • bring in the right capability and skills
  • analyse existing applications
  • architect a disaggregated desktop using cloud infrastructure
  • consider platform options

Service integration modelling

Understanding the role of a Service Integration and Management (SIAM) layer - ie balancing it with effective in-house IT capability.

Legacy systems

Understanding a variety of architecture principles and techniques to specifically assist the decommissioning and transitioning of legacy systems (This may often require the commercial management of legacy vendor contracts - see also Commercial and procurement.)

Standards compliance

Meeting relevant standards

This involves:

  • understanding and designing systems that comply to national and public sector standards
  • where appropriate, considering EU and international standards

Using open source

This involves:

  • being aware of the government’s open source standards during systems design
  • considering the merits of using open source technologies

Governance

Designing and participating in proportional governance policies.

Hosting and cloud

Understanding hosting and cloud technologies

This involves:

  • having a strong understanding of all fundamental elements of hosting and cloud technologies, including:
    • design
    • planning
    • security and compliance
    • integration
    • provisioning
    • cloud storage
    • virtualisation
  • considering the above in the context of the related business environment (eg if customer facing or business-to-business (B2B))

Choosing a cloud hosting service

This involves understanding:

  • cloud hosting services and the types available, in particular Platform, Infrastructure and Software As A Service (PaaS, IaaS, SaaS)
  • the government’s ‘Cloud First’ policy
  • why PaaS, IaaS, SaaS should be considered before other kinds of solutions

Risk management

This involves:

  • understanding and advising on the risks of certain architectures and data management
  • working to lessen those risks

Hosting environments

This involves:

  • understanding the various capabilities of different hosting environments and architectural set-ups
  • making appropriate design decisions for their implementation

Identity management

Understanding, designing and implementing identity management policies.

Networking

This involves:

  • understanding the building blocks of network services and infrastructure (eg ethernet and wireless solutions)
  • understanding the implications for systems design in a digital environment

Data management

Creating data governance policies

This involves:

  • developing and implementing data governance policies
  • defining complaints, metrics and processes accurately

Designing databases

Designing and advising on large scale database design, for both relational and non-relational data.

Embedding data protection

This involves:

  • building architectures incorporating data protection (eg the protection of physical and virtual environments, disaster recovery and fast recovery of data)
  • applying the principles of the Data Protection Act, other enforcement bodies and regulatory standards as appropriate

(See the Data skills group for more detail.)

Capacity management

Incorporating capacity management during design

Having an understanding of capacity management, especially when designing flexible and scalable solutions.

Balancing user needs against cost

Designing systems that meet current and future user needs and are also cost-effective.

Testing and iterating

Testing systems and analysing the data, using it to iterate services so they continue to meet user needs.

Learning resources:

The Service Design Manual has a section (under development) on technology architecture.

Computer Weekly published a useful article on how to set up development operations.