I’ve been asked over and over how I became an I.T. Architect. I always hesitate, and say “well…” More often than not, I get into the long stories about my university degrees and my varying path in life and career. The short answer is “I changed careers multiple times within the field of I.T.”. The long answer is experience.
The I.T. Architect is a technologist, a leader, a consultant, a strategist, a politician, a writer and an artist. Yes, I threw that last one in for humor, but I get countless “way to go Picasso” comments, when I’ve helped a client with a modeling conundrum, or even cleaned up after a whiteboard session and converted our thoughts into something readable, tangible and electronic.
As a technologist, the architect must specialize in technology, information or applications if he or she is a domain architect “Data Architect, Information Architect, Technical Architect, Application Architect, Software Architect, etc.” I must understand the pertinent technologies, plus have an in-depth understanding of the entire domain. Learning the key issues around my domain and knowing the Best Practices and key standards, methods, processes and techniques key to being a good practitioner is also necessary.
I consider all the matters at hand, and analyze the tradeoffs. I get to “play” by prototyping and experimenting with technologies, taking various system viewpoints when drawing up models and then testing them later with prototyping tools. I am fortunate enough to keep tabs on the “what’s new” in technology, and follow the trends and create roadmaps for the future. Mapping out where you want to go is always done in a more positive light than where you have been.
As a not such an enjoyable task, the Architect must document and present their findings to incredibly critical groups of people. Everyone has an opinion, and at the end of the day, even with a little bickering and bantering, it’s all a good thing. I’ll take that over dead silence any day. I get to do the investigations, and create the future, so I must be tolerant of changing my work on an ongoing basis to accommodate the opinions of many, while maintaining my initial vision.