Architects… architects everywhere! The amount of job offers and people with this title is booming. The question is why and for what reason? I will try to go through some of the most common sins which can be found in the current market as this non-sense is getting out of hands and will only harm the way people perceive this role.

For a lot of people being an architect is a step in their career… for some it is an end goal. There is nothing bad about this but most of the people which are “architects” are not Architects and only got lucky, where taken advantage of by some companies for many different reasons.

Let us start with consulting - this is the biggest pool of pseudo architects. Why you ask? Super simple - it is always better to send to a client or potential client an architect than a senior /software developer/engineer/IT specialist because:

  1. it just looks better - “look - we have given you AN ARCHITECT”. Omg what a blessing I got form this amazing consulting company. No, you did not. You got scammed!

  2. and the second reason which comes out of the first one is money - you can easily charge more for that kind person on a project.

The problem companies get with this kind of architects is that usually they do not do the actual job an architect should do… Many times, they are “just” senior (in terms of technical knowledge) employees which is also important part of being an architect role but lacking all the other skills. And the projects even when are done (can a project ever be done? ;) )… suck. They deliver, they code but nothing more what is needed from an architect.

Wanna be architects are another of my favorite “architect” type. People who have that title may even have the right experience, skills etc. but still… day to day delivery, coding/delivering solutions. Or on the other hand they do not have the right experience to be an architect and the things they propose, suggest, enforce is just full of non-sense. But “the architect has decided, we need to deliver this now…”.

All of this is not without the fault of recruiters. The amount of “architect” offers I get weekly is just insane. First of all, the required skill set… this goes both ways - it is either junior or so vast that it is impossible for a single person to have in-depth experience and knowledge about so many different technologies, products, solutions. Second issue is the money they offer for that kind of role. Having required experience to be an architect will not allow you to earn 15k PLN / month… c’mon people (yes, recruiters are also people) be serious and do not waste people time.

Ok… I have ranted a bit on bad architects on the market so what I would suggest for an architect to be? Here are some (not all) skills required from an architect IMHO:

  • deep technical experience - only with that you can have success, you need to understand the technology you are going to work with, no matter if its software, cloud, solutions, infrastructure - you need to know your game!
  • able to see the dots, lego bricks or puzzle pieces (however you want to call it) from a higher level - deep tech is super important but without the ability to step back and look at the big picture, the tradeoffs you need to make, sacrifice sometimes your beliefs in things that need to be “done by the book” in order to satisfy stakeholders is crucial
  • this segways nice to the next point which is interpersonal skills and working with stakeholders. This part most of “architects” lack - you need to be able to talk to people, write to people, manage their expectations and satisfy them. If you cannot play “politics” in an organization - you will not succeed.
  • not only do tech - some people are super hyped about doing tech all the time - the “sad” reality is that an architect needs to work in PowerPoint, Word documents, multiple charting solutions and more, and more…

And a general remark for those who are senior dev/IT pros who are trying to make that final “jump” to be an architect - seriously - do not force it! You may not have the required skills. You want more money? Architect role is not the way to go. There are plenty of companies which think in the proper way and will pay a good senior employee the money they deserve. If your company does not see that in you - change it! You want more recognition? Start doing extra stuff, showing in the team, organization that you think out of the box and it will be valued and respected.

Agree/disagree - feel free to leave a comment down below! :)