TH Köln

Master Digital Sciences

Documents for Study Program Accreditation

Software Architecture (SAR)

Specialization within Master Digital Sciences

The field of study teaches software engineering oriented towards large and complex systems, which understands IT as a socio-technical system and pays particular attention to people and their ways of thinking and acting when creating software systems. It reflects the growing importance of software for innovative digital products and services in our society by enabling graduates to design and implement complex software systems in the context of social, technological and economic conditions.

Software is becoming increasingly important in our society for the development of innovative products and services. It is necessary to design systems that are not only robust, easy to maintain and modify, but also optimally embedded in their context of use.

The field of study Software Architecture offers a modern education that meets this growing importance of software - with simultaneous increase in complexity and growing quality requirements. Graduates learn to design complex software systems and to implement them in a division of labor. The focus is on understanding software and specialist domains in the context of human contexts of meaning and action, as well as interdisciplinary methods for system design, taking into account social, technological and economic conditions.

Before technical system solutions can be designed and implemented, the functional requirements and needs of the users must be recorded in a structured manner. The future system and its conditions of use must be recorded so that an architecture can be created as the basis for an overall solution strategy. Graduates of SAR are therefore in a position to optimize a complex overall IT landscape with regard to the orientation of a technical domain.

Alumni Profiles ("Personas") and Example Curricula

In the area of software development, students are taught competencies for modeling and abstracting the technical aspects of application systems. In doing so, they decompose problems into subproblems, which are solved in dedicated software components through an implementation. This domain exploration is followed by the design of software architectures, which are complemented by the selection of the appropriate architectural style and by the design and implementation of consistent, robust and performant APIs and design and implementation of user interfaces adapted to the needs of the users. In doing so, a modern model of a "culture of coding" is conveyed, which ties every form of architectural decision to mastering the corresponding styles, patterns and technologies "hands-on" and being able to implement them agilely in the team. This includes all relevant phases of the software lifecycle, from writing sustainably maintainable code to testing and hosting using modern technologies (cloud) and the greatest possible automation (DevOps).

Below, you find a number of alumni profiles with their specific example curricula.

Business Architect

Graduates of this profile typically work closely with the business side in a large IT organization to ensure the appropriate alignment of IT with the needs of the business side. They are often part of an EAM (enterprise architecture management) team that is responsible for the strategic alignment of the overall IT landscape. Alternatively, the role of the business architect can also be found in the central requirements management of a larger IT organization.

The exemplary study plan therefore places a clear focus on modules that deal with requirements, quality assurance and project management. In addition to the main focus on the Architecting and Coding Software focus area, the modules in the sample course of study have a high proportion of the Empowering Business focus area. In this way, a good understanding of specialist domains is already trained during the course of study.

Typical employers are insurance companies, banks, the energy industry, IT authorities, and other industries that are organized in large structures and operate EAM.

The subsequent table contains an example curriculum for this alumnus profile.

Customize this example curriculum to fit your own needs, using our Study Planner! The Study Planner is an interactive tool that you can use to plan the modules you want to attend.

   Mapping to Focus Areas
Term Acronym Module ECTS AR ACS DIP EB GAK MRI
1. Semester (SS) RE Requirements Engineering 6 0 4 0 2 0 0
EAM Enterprise Architecture Management 6 0 0 0 3 0 3
BPM Business Process Management 6 0 2 0 4 0 0
QS Qualitätssicherung 6 1 4 0 1 0 0
PM Projekt Management 6 5 1 0 0 0 0
   Subtotal 30 6 11 0 10 0 3
2. Semester (WS) MUU Management und Unternehmenssteuerung 6 1 0 0 5 0 0
DDD Domain-Driven Design of Large Software Systems 6 0 5 0 1 0 0
GP-TS-ACS Guided Project with Team Supervision, focused on Architecting and Coding Software 18 6 4 2 2 2 2
   Subtotal 30 7 9 2 8 2 2
3. Semester (SS) MA Masterarbeit mit Kolloquium / Master Thesis with Colloquium 30 Contribution depends on topic
   Total 90 13 20 2 18 2 5

Innovation Manager

Graduates of this profile move on a borderline between technology and design of digital artifacts. They recombine existing technologies to create surprises and innovations. Building on a solid knowledge of software technologies, development methods and modern Internet-of-Things technologies (IoT), they can thus participate in the development of new products and business models.

The exemplary course of study reflects this through a strong focus on interaction, IoT and front-end technologies.

With such an orientation, graduates of this profile can work on the creation of innovations in startups as well as in medium-sized companies or large corporations.

The subsequent table contains an example curriculum for this alumnus profile.

Customize this example curriculum to fit your own needs, using our Study Planner! The Study Planner is an interactive tool that you can use to plan the modules you want to attend.

   Mapping to Focus Areas
Term Acronym Module ECTS AR ACS DIP EB GAK MRI
1. Semester (WS) INM Innovation Management 6 1 0 4 1 0 0
IDE Interaction Design 6 1 1 4 0 0
STE Soziotechnische Entwurfsmuster 6 1 1 4 0 0 0
DDD Domain-Driven Design of Large Software Systems 6 0 5 0 1 0 0
UBICOMP Ubiquitous Computing 6 0 1 4 0 0 1
   Subtotal 30 3 8 16 2 0 1
2. Semester (SS) WEB Web Technologies 6 1 5 0 0 0 0
RE Requirements Engineering 6 0 4 0 2 0 0
GP-TS-ACS Guided Project with Team Supervision, focused on Architecting and Coding Software 18 6 4 2 2 2 2
   Subtotal 30 7 13 2 4 2 2
3. Semester (WS) MA Masterarbeit mit Kolloquium / Master Thesis with Colloquium 30 Contribution depends on topic
   Total 90 10 21 18 6 2 3

Lead Developer

Graduates of this profile are predominantly employed in the area of agile software development, for example at startups, IT service providers, or agile innovation spin-offs of large companies. In such structures, there is usually a flat formal hierarchy. Instead, the culture is that of a “meritocracy” in which the people who are most trusted professionally have the most authority. This goes hand in hand with a certain skepticism about role titles that suggest a great distance from coding (e.g., “manager”).

Therefore, such roles are often called “Lead Developer” or “Senior Developer”. Graduates of this profile are characterized by deep and broad knowledge in programming and software technologies. They think in terms of software architectures, but always from a hands-on approach.

The exemplary course of study supports this by focusing on coding-heavy topics and providing comprehensive knowledge in the various aspects of developing complex software systems.

The subsequent table contains an example curriculum for this alumnus profile.

Customize this example curriculum to fit your own needs, using our Study Planner! The Study Planner is an interactive tool that you can use to plan the modules you want to attend.

   Mapping to Focus Areas
Term Acronym Module ECTS AR ACS DIP EB GAK MRI
1. Semester (SS) LCSS Large and Cloud-based Software Systems 5 0 4 0 0 0 1
MODI Mobile and Distributed Systems 6 0 4 1 0 0 1
RE Requirements Engineering 6 0 4 0 2 0 0
QS Qualitätssicherung 6 1 4 0 1 0 0
SCSR Seminar Computer Science Research 3 0 1 0 1 0 1
WEB Web Technologies 6 1 5 0 0 0 0
   Subtotal 32 2 22 1 4 0 3
2. Semester (WS) CEX Coding Excellence 6 0 6 0 0 0 0
DDD Domain-Driven Design of Large Software Systems 6 0 5 0 1 0 0
GP-TS-ACS Guided Project with Team Supervision, focused on Architecting and Coding Software 18 6 4 2 2 2 2
   Subtotal 30 6 15 2 3 2 2
3. Semester (SS) MA Masterarbeit mit Kolloquium / Master Thesis with Colloquium 30 Contribution depends on topic
   Total 92 8 37 3 7 2 5

Solution Architect

Solution architects are typical “universalists” who occupy the positions of project architects at software service providers and in large IT organizations, i.e. they are responsible for the software architecture of a project.

Graduates of this profile have a very broad IT knowledge. Since they interact with many roles in the company in their position, they are also familiar with other areas of the software lifecycle, such as requirements management, project management and testing. This puts them in a position to interact effectively and competently with these individuals.

With such a profile, graduates can work at all types of companies, but preferably in medium-sized enterprises, service providers or large corporations.

The subsequent table contains an example curriculum for this alumnus profile.

Customize this example curriculum to fit your own needs, using our Study Planner! The Study Planner is an interactive tool that you can use to plan the modules you want to attend.

   Mapping to Focus Areas
Term Acronym Module ECTS AR ACS DIP EB GAK MRI
1. Semester (SS) QS Qualitätssicherung 6 1 4 0 1 0 0
RE Requirements Engineering 6 0 4 0 2 0 0
PM Projekt Management 6 5 1 0 0 0 0
WEB Web Technologies 6 1 5 0 0 0 0
VDM Virtualisierung und Dienstarchitekturen (Master) 6 1 1 0 0 0 4
   Subtotal 30 8 15 0 3 0 4
2. Semester (WS) DDD Domain-Driven Design of Large Software Systems 6 0 5 0 1 0 0
UBICOMP Ubiquitous Computing 6 0 1 4 0 0 1
GP-TS-ACS Guided Project with Team Supervision, focused on Architecting and Coding Software 18 6 4 2 2 2 2
   Subtotal 30 6 10 6 3 2 3
3. Semester (SS) MA Masterarbeit mit Kolloquium / Master Thesis with Colloquium 30 Contribution depends on topic
   Total 90 14 25 6 6 2 7

Solution Architect (4 semesters)

Using the example of the Solution Architect (for the profile description, see there), a typical course of study for a 4-semester variant is played out here.

It is obvious that the 4-semester variant offers a further nuance to the already very broad graduate profile.

The subsequent table contains an example curriculum for this alumnus profile.

Customize this example curriculum to fit your own needs, using our Study Planner! The Study Planner is an interactive tool that you can use to plan the modules you want to attend.

   Mapping to Focus Areas
Term Acronym Module ECTS AR ACS DIP EB GAK MRI
1. Semester (WS) DDD Domain-Driven Design of Large Software Systems 6 0 5 0 1 0 0
UBICOMP Ubiquitous Computing 6 0 1 4 0 0 1
CEX Coding Excellence 6 0 6 0 0 0 0
OR Operations Research 6 0 0 1 1 4 0
SCC Scientific Computing 6 0 3 0 0 3 0
   Subtotal 30 0 15 5 2 7 1
2. Semester (SS) RE Requirements Engineering 6 0 4 0 2 0 0
WEB Web Technologies 6 1 5 0 0 0 0
MDS Modern Database Systems 6 1 2 0 0 3 0
VDM Virtualisierung und Dienstarchitekturen (Master) 6 1 1 0 0 0 4
BPM Business Process Management 6 0 2 0 4 0 0
   Subtotal 30 3 14 0 6 3 4
3. Semester (WS) GP-ACS Guided Project focused on Architecting and Coding Software 12 0 4 2 2 2 2
GP-TS-ACS Guided Project with Team Supervision, focused on Architecting and Coding Software 18 6 4 2 2 2 2
   Subtotal 30 6 8 4 4 4 4
4. Semester (SS) MA Masterarbeit mit Kolloquium / Master Thesis with Colloquium 30 Contribution depends on topic
   Total 120 9 37 9 12 14 9

Software Architect with Focus Business Intelligence (international)

Graduates of this profile have a sound knowledge of business processes and data analytics. They have knowledge of companies and markets, and work in companies to build and operate business intelligence infrastructures. There, they specify blueprints for interactive dashboards, reporting and complex analyses of business-relevant data, and the associated IT infrastructure.

Graduates of this profile are preferably found at large corporations and consulting firms.

This profile exemplifies that it is easily possible to study the field of study entirely in English without having to make major compromises in the desired specialization.

The subsequent table contains an example curriculum for this alumnus profile.

Customize this example curriculum to fit your own needs, using our Study Planner! The Study Planner is an interactive tool that you can use to plan the modules you want to attend.

   Mapping to Focus Areas
Term Acronym Module ECTS AR ACS DIP EB GAK MRI
1. Semester (WS) CEX Coding Excellence 6 0 6 0 0 0 0
DDM Data Driven Modelling 6 1 2 0 1 2 0
ABIA Advanced Business Intelligence and Analytics 6 0 0 0 2 4 0
AML Advanced Machine Learning 6 1 2 0 0 3 0
SCC Scientific Computing 6 0 3 0 0 3 0
   Subtotal 30 2 13 0 3 12 0
2. Semester (SS) BPM Business Process Management 6 0 2 0 4 0 0
DSE Data Science and Ethics 6 2 1 1 0 2 0
GP-TS-ACS Guided Project with Team Supervision, focused on Architecting and Coding Software 18 6 4 2 2 2 2
   Subtotal 30 8 7 3 6 4 2
3. Semester (WS) MA Masterarbeit mit Kolloquium / Master Thesis with Colloquium 30 Contribution depends on topic
   Total 90 10 20 3 9 16 2

Software Architect Focusing on Data and AI Architectures

Graduates of this profile typically go through a classical career in software development and then specialize in architectures for data science and AI. The processing and analysis of large amounts of data as well as the use of deep learning models and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI) require their own software architectures.

Software architects with this orientation therefore have (in the sense of a “T-shaped Competence Profile”) broad knowledge in software development, architectural styles and IT technologies. In addition, they have in-depth competencies in methods of data analysis, the conception of mathematical models and methods of AI. This can be seen from the number of courses with a high proportion in the Generating and Accessing Knowledge (GAK) focus area.

Graduates of this profile typically work in companies and organizations that specialize in AI and data science applications (e.g. startups, such as LegalTechs, FinTechs, InsurTechs). Equally, however, this profile can be found in large corporations where new business models are developed around data (e.g. automotive, insurance, banking, eCommerce).

The subsequent table contains an example curriculum for this alumnus profile.

Customize this example curriculum to fit your own needs, using our Study Planner! The Study Planner is an interactive tool that you can use to plan the modules you want to attend.

   Mapping to Focus Areas
Term Acronym Module ECTS AR ACS DIP EB GAK MRI
1. Semester (SS) DSE Data Science and Ethics 6 2 1 1 0 2 0
MDS Modern Database Systems 6 1 2 0 0 3 0
SCC Scientific Computing 6 0 3 0 0 3 0
DVI Data Visualization 3 0 0 0 0 3 0
NLP Natural Language Processing 3 1 0 0 0 2 0
RE Requirements Engineering 6 0 4 0 2 0 0
   Subtotal 30 4 10 1 2 13 0
2. Semester (WS) DDD Domain-Driven Design of Large Software Systems 6 0 5 0 1 0 0
AML Advanced Machine Learning 6 1 2 0 0 3 0
GP-TS-ACS Guided Project with Team Supervision, focused on Architecting and Coding Software 18 6 4 2 2 2 2
   Subtotal 30 7 11 2 3 5 2
3. Semester (SS) MA Masterarbeit mit Kolloquium / Master Thesis with Colloquium 30 Contribution depends on topic
   Total 90 11 21 3 5 18 2

System Architect

System architects are responsible for the conception, planning and implementation of operational IT infrastructures in IT organizations. This includes, for example, hardware procurement, virtualization, network setup, middleware design, etc. They may also be involved in building and operating public or private cloud infrastructures.

Other tasks of this profile are in building build pipelines (continuous delivery / continuous deployment) and test automation. In these DevOps approaches, development and operation/hosting of software move together, which is particularly common in agile IT organizations.

Graduates of this profile can therefore work in a wide range of IT positions - at Internet service providers, in specialized consulting roles, in traditional data center operations, in large corporations with their own private cloud, or in agile startups.

The subsequent table contains an example curriculum for this alumnus profile.

Customize this example curriculum to fit your own needs, using our Study Planner! The Study Planner is an interactive tool that you can use to plan the modules you want to attend.

   Mapping to Focus Areas
Term Acronym Module ECTS AR ACS DIP EB GAK MRI
1. Semester (WS) NADI Netz-Architekturen, -Design und -Infrastrukturen 6 0 0 1 0 0 5
SPV Sicherheit, Privatsphäre und Vertrauen 6 1 0 1 0 0 4
CEX Coding Excellence 6 0 6 0 0 0 0
SCC Scientific Computing 6 0 3 0 0 3 0
UBICOMP Ubiquitous Computing 6 0 1 4 0 0 1
   Subtotal 30 1 10 6 0 3 10
2. Semester (SS) LCSS Large and Cloud-based Software Systems 5 0 4 0 0 0 1
SCSR Seminar Computer Science Research 3 0 1 0 1 0 1
NGN Next Generation Networks 5 1 3 0 0 0 1
GP-TS-ACS Guided Project with Team Supervision, focused on Architecting and Coding Software 18 6 4 2 2 2 2
   Subtotal 31 7 12 2 3 2 5
3. Semester (WS) MA Masterarbeit mit Kolloquium / Master Thesis with Colloquium 30 Contribution depends on topic
   Total 91 8 22 8 3 5 15

User Interaction Architect

User Interaction Architects focus on the design and development of user interfaces. They have special knowledge of human-computer interaction and front-end development technologies. They are also familiar with design principles.

Graduates of this profile work wherever the human interface is the main focus. They are used to working in an interdisciplinary and creative way. As a result, this role can be found in agencies as well as startups, but also in large corporations that strive for more direct customer contact.

The subsequent table contains an example curriculum for this alumnus profile.

Customize this example curriculum to fit your own needs, using our Study Planner! The Study Planner is an interactive tool that you can use to plan the modules you want to attend.

   Mapping to Focus Areas
Term Acronym Module ECTS AR ACS DIP EB GAK MRI
1. Semester (WS) IDE Interaction Design 6 1 1 4 0 0
DDD Domain-Driven Design of Large Software Systems 6 0 5 0 1 0 0
STE Soziotechnische Entwurfsmuster 6 1 1 4 0 0 0
WDB Wettbewerbsstrategien im Digital Business 6 0 0 3 3 0 0
UBICOMP Ubiquitous Computing 6 0 1 4 0 0 1
   Subtotal 30 2 8 15 4 0 1
2. Semester (SS) WEB Web Technologies 6 1 5 0 0 0 0
RE Requirements Engineering 6 0 4 0 2 0 0
GP-TS-ACS Guided Project with Team Supervision, focused on Architecting and Coding Software 18 6 4 2 2 2 2
   Subtotal 30 7 13 2 4 2 2
3. Semester (WS) MA Masterarbeit mit Kolloquium / Master Thesis with Colloquium 30 Contribution depends on topic
   Total 90 9 21 17 8 2 3

Assistant to the Board of Directors for Software & Technology

Graduates with this profile opt specifically for a management career with an IT background in a large corporation. A typical entry point would be a trainee program for high potentials, for example, with the prospect of a position as an executive assistant. Such positions are usually a stepping stone to middle and senior management positions, with the potential to take on a CIO position at a later date.

For this profile, graduates bring strong methodological knowledge in the area of strategy and enterprise architecture management in addition to the appropriate leadership and organizational skills. Those who aspire to such a position from the focus area Software Architecture (instead of Business Information Systems) are more technologically than economically oriented. This can be an advantage, for example, for a career in a technology or software group.

The subsequent table contains an example curriculum for this alumnus profile.

Customize this example curriculum to fit your own needs, using our Study Planner! The Study Planner is an interactive tool that you can use to plan the modules you want to attend.

   Mapping to Focus Areas
Term Acronym Module ECTS AR ACS DIP EB GAK MRI
1. Semester (SS) ITSTR IT Strategy 6 0 0 2 0 0 4
EAM Enterprise Architecture Management 6 0 0 0 3 0 3
DVI Data Visualization 3 0 0 0 0 3 0
SCSR Seminar Computer Science Research 3 0 1 0 1 0 1
MODI Mobile and Distributed Systems 6 0 4 1 0 0 1
PM Projekt Management 6 5 1 0 0 0 0
   Subtotal 30 5 6 3 4 3 9
2. Semester (WS) DDD Domain-Driven Design of Large Software Systems 6 0 5 0 1 0 0
CEX Coding Excellence 6 0 6 0 0 0 0
GP-TS-ACS Guided Project with Team Supervision, focused on Architecting and Coding Software 18 6 4 2 2 2 2
   Subtotal 30 6 15 2 3 2 2
3. Semester (SS) MA Masterarbeit mit Kolloquium / Master Thesis with Colloquium 30 Contribution depends on topic
   Total 90 11 21 5 7 5 11