Different Designations for Architects
Honestly speaking, the question itself is a very large question. Or, I would say a very open ended question. This is because in IT as like the real world, a system as a whole would mean or looked upon as different to different people who are related to different aspects of the system. Following are some of those key aspects:
- Business processes and related aspects
For all of the above areas, there could be one or more architect designations representing different viewpoints such as following:
- Business Architect
- Application Architect, Solution Architect, Technical Architect
- Data Architect, Information Architect
- Technical Architect, Infrastructure Architect
Given above, the developers/senior developers would be required to decide which aspect (or set of viewpoints) of the system they would want to architect, and appropriately choose to gain the appropriate expertise & experience. However , if one wants to gain expertise in working with all of the different architectural viewpoints such as those mentioned above, then there is a position or role called as Enterprise Architect. One, however, may need to spend several years playing the role of one of the above architects to become a good Enterprise Architect.
Technical Architect, as such, may only deal with the technology aspect of the system at large. IT architect can be termed as general terminology and can be used for any of the above architect.
What could one do to become a successful IT architect?
Learn, At least, One Architectural Framework By Heart
One of the most important aspects of becoming an architect is the ability to come up with appropriate diagrams representing different viewpoints of the system. This could be taken care by learning one or more architecture frameworks such as some of the following which represents different ways of putting an enterprise architecture in form of different diagrams. Actually speaking, above represents TOGAF architecture framework. Personally, I recommend TOGAF which helps in putting different architectural viewpoints using various different out-of-the-box templates.
- The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF)
- Zachman framework for enterprise architectures
- The Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA)
Good Knowledge of Tools & Frameworks
It would be good to remain up-to-date with relevant tools & frameworks in one or more technologies including programming languages. At the minimum, it may be a good idea to gain good expertise with at least one mainstream programming language such as JAVA, .NET, C/C++ etc. For this, one may be required to keep looking out for evaluating new tools & frameworks and create an easily accessible knowledge repository. The way it helps is that you may be able to propose relevant and cost-effective technology to achieve the desired solution.
Great, if You are Hands-On!
An architect could achieve great things if he could lead by example. And, this is only possible if you are really hands-on, meaning, still coding. For this, as I mentioned above, it is always helpful to gain good expertise with at least one mainstream programming language. There is no fun in becoming an Ivory Tower architect who is only involved in creating power-point presentations and similar documents. Thus, the mantra is to always remain hands-on until you are an architect.
Communication is the KEY
An architect is required to communicate the architecture of the proposed system using diagram and supporting texts. Good written and verbal communication would help a great deal in putting the architecture in easy-to-understand form and see greater acceptance than otherwise. An architect may be required to communicate with CIOs, fellow architects, project managers and developers & testers. Thus, one must work on his/her communication if he is seriously planning to become a good architect.
Become a Blogger 🙂
Yes, I am serious when I say that. This is because it would help you in following manners:
- Take your communication skills to the next level
- Help you communicate with outer world and get right & honest feedback
- Motivation to evaluate tools & frameworks and presenting your findings
- Who knows it could also earn you interesting assignments and help you become freelancer where you could work at your will
To summarize, I would say that becoming an architect is a journey and every other day you get better if you keep working on above aspects. Best of Luck!