How to become a Solution Architect?

Many software engineers are considering Solution Architect position as the next position in their career path. I’m often asked about Solution Architect’s job. What do they do? How to become an architect?

First of all, let’s understand what types of architects are there.

Types of Architects

This is the best illustration I found so far:

image2015-5-27 11-46-20

(source and more details: https://sysarchitect.com/2011/09/19/differences-between-architecture-roles/)

Very often, a software engineer is starting playing a technical architect role. It happens naturally. Experienced engineer with leadership skills is a great candidate for this role. Technical architect is often hands-on and is focusing on one product.

Please find a short comparison of architect’s roles below:

Role Focus Area Hands-on Technology specialization
Technical Architect application / related applications Yes 1-2 technologies,

example: tech lead with experience in iOS and Android development

Solution Architect Project usually POC implementation only experience in multiple technologies, good understanding of integration patterns and design best practices

example: an architect who is leading discovery, design and planning phases of the project

Enterprise Architect Portfolio usually an EA is not hands-on broad experience with multiple technologies and multiple business domains

How To Become an Architect?

If you’d like to pursue a career in Architecture, the most critical skills that you need are continuous learning and curiosity.

A mistake that many engineers do is that they focus on technology only. In addition to technology, you need to understand your business domain, improve your presentation and communication skills.

For those, who want to become an architect I would recommend to start with this book:

12 Essential Skills for Software Architects

12-skills

This book describes what non-technical skills architects need and (what is even more important) what is expected from architects.

This book has a part two: 12 More Essential Skills For Software Architects. The goal of this book is to cover technical skills that architects need. I would recommend to read it as well.

Many other book and training classes would help you to succeed. Please find some of them below:

  1. Lean Enterprise by Jez Humble, Joanne Molesky, Barry O’Reilly.
    • This is my favorite book. It’s a must-read for Enterprise Architects!
  2. Lean Startup by Eric Ries 
    • I would recommend this book for Solutions Architects. It has a lot of ideas how to deliver startups that can apply to projects that are done by enterprises too.
  3. NoSQL Distilled by Pramod J. Sadalage, Martin Fowler 
    • As an Architect, you should be able to choose a DB for your projects. It means that you need to make a decision despite the fact that you have no experience with technology. Once you made a decision, you need to explain why. This is a great book that gives an overview of NoSQL technologies and provides a bunch of examples and use cases.
  4. The Deadline: A Novel about Project Management by Tom DeMarco 
    • This is a great novel about project management. A must-read for everybody who works in technology (It’s like “The mythical man-month”, but you have much more fun during reading)
  5. Don’t forget about soft skills! Training “Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills” from University of Michigan on coursera. This skill you would use often!
  6. If you’d like to become an Enterprise Architect, it might be useful to get a TOGAF certificate. There is a good training on udemy that would help you to prepare for this certification.
  7. Technology blogs:
    1. Dzone: https://dzone.com/
      • I love their refcardz. It helps a lot when you need to catch up quickly on a tool or technology
    2. https://www.infoq.com/ – a lot of articles, podcasts and presentations
      • attend if you can their QConf. end of June in New York and in November in San Francisco
  8. and many-many others books, online training classes, conferences, and certifications…

Keep learning and good luck in your career adventures!

 

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One thought on “How to become a Solution Architect?

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  1. Reading is important to give you knowledge while to become an architect you should have a good experience and involved in many projects. I think the good architect is the one who can take the right architectural decisions and these decisions are derived from the architect knowledge and his experience

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