Recently I was asked that if a person was already acting in the role of a software integrator, did they really need to learn how to be an Architect. The answer was a little bit complicated, but it was an emphatic “yes!”
While the basis or core skills of a great IT architect does come from solid software integration knowledge and practice, the basic practices, approaches and thought processes as well as ways of thinking in the correct context is what is taught during an IT Architecture workshop. Various approaches and ways of thinking allows an IT Architect to get a new perspective of the various contexts they must review before choosing a solution or constructing an architecture.
There are various thoughts on how one becomes an IT Architect, and granted:-
there are so many ways to get here, the result is the same. In order to become good or even excellent, the Architect takes on a different mind set. There are various perspectives that are reviewed, and as well, various options with respect to ways about thinking about the issue, problem or opportunity are reviewed.
The architect considers more than fitting two pieces of software together, and the approach learned in a workshop will take them through the business objectives and IT Enterprise objectives, through to the various decision making techniques and options for formulating a solution. Typically the instructions given to an integrator are taken after an architect has determined the best approach and seen best fit for the components that are selected.
During these exercises, the architect takes on a different approach with respect to requirements analysis, solution review, as well as some softer skills to deal with the political and communication parts of the equation. Often integrators are given something very specific to be done, as well as a roadmap for doing so. The architect takes part or creates that roadmap, and many more variables are considered than may be actually visible to the integrator.
Finally – there are various approaches that an architect learns to getting from A to B. They learn to view a solution from a multitude of angles, and those which will enable them to see their way to the minimal path of risk. In part, the approaches are part of the culture of the organization for which they must have an appreciation for, as well as a component of the overal IT & Business Strategies.
Hopefully that sheds a bit of light on the benefits of learning to become an IT Architect, rather than skipping these important steps. For more information on training, see our site.