How to become an excellent Architect!

Architect

What it takes to be an excellent architect. Technical expertise? Architecture Expertise? Documentation Expertise? Answer is “Yes” all of them, but not only these skills, many more…

While working on my initial assignments as as Architect, I struggled a lot as I also came from the same background from where most of the architects come, “Programming Background”. I used to think that I am technical expert, I have design expertise so it will be easy to be an architect, but it’s not. 🙁

What I found is, technical and architecture skills are just a part of the overall architect job, but he has to do more than just designing architecture. He has to play many roles including developer, project manager, mentor, adviser, broker etc. 🙁 Then, I realized that the architect role is multidimensional. It’s not just technical, but needs management & leadership skills, too.

Architect doesn’t just need to understand the requirement and design the architecture, but he also has to understand the motivations of stakeholders (professional & personal 🙂 ) and convince them that most of the motivations will be met by the architecture.

Major Skills Categories

Most of these skills and capabilities, what I have understood, can be categorize as below.

  • Architecture
  • Technical Expertise
  • Leadership
  • Project Management
4 Dimensions of Architect Role

Above skills either can be gained overtime, while working as an architect or can be learned through training, reading books and articles etc. but becoming an expert needs practice and exposure to real time engagements, which can not be done just going through the training, but applying the concepts in day-to-day activities.

Initially, it will not be easy to follow or apply many of the concepts but that will be the initial phase of change 🙂

I have also learned that same approach for a particular concept doesn’t work in all the situations or scenarios but needs to be changed/modified based on the time, place and people context.

I learned most of my experience through practical experience in customer engagements, but many times, it’s better to learn from others (mentors or coach) than learn it in hard way.

It’s always good to find a mentor or coach, who has practical experience and already is an excellent architect. He can help you finding the shortest path based on your current strengths and weaknesses. It will expedite your learning and reduce the need of practical exposure.

Anyways, I always kept reminding me that I needed to learn from my mistakes. I found ways to apply these concepts, which slowly started giving the right outcome. My engagements started getting succeeded. I had also started feeling that I was becoming a better architect. Stakeholders started listening to me and looking at me for advice. But, this path could be shorten, if I could have got a good mentor.

What Next

Now, I would like to share my experience about how I have learned all the skills and, what worked for me and what not? How did I overcome some of the most challenging situations. How did I handle some of the most crucial situations. I did learn and apply some of the specialized techniques or learning. It helped me and think that it will help you as an architect by shorting the learning path and expedite the process of becoming a successful architect.

You can reach out to me for any help or guidance.

Here is a good book to start learning some of the Non-Technical Essential Skills…

Thank You and Happy Learning!

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