What is road to becoming a technical architect is a tricky topic, many wants to know. Especially, this is of interest largely to senior developers and technology leads. Let me give a shot at this. I would love to hear your comments in this regard:
- Technology vs Thought Leadership: Technical lead is primarily responsible for exploration and implementation of technology (tools & frameworks) to solve a particular set of problem in hand. He also plays a crucial role in doing proof-of-concept in related with adoption of newer technologies. The person on this role also acts as a mentor and guide to individual team members in terms of adoption of technology. However, technical architect is responsible for not only providing technology leadership similar as technical lead, but also provide thought leadership in terms of adoption of newer technologies (tools & frameworks) in near future to solve similar problems in the most effective manner. In addition, he, at times, gets associated with multiple teams to provide solutions to the entire applications, unlike technical lead whose primary responsibilities lies with a single team in most cases. Thus, if you have been acting as a technical lead, and wants to board the technical architect boat, start getting involved in key design decisions of different teams. Show your willingness to explore take on problems from different teams, run extra mile and provide them with solutions. You shall surely go to the next level of becoming an architect.
- Knowledge of Architectural Frameworks: It is always helpful to get hang over one or more architectural framework such as TOGAF which enables a person to approach the architecture & design of one or more applications in entirely different manner. From TOGAF perspective, a person learns to think of multiple different viewpoints of architecture using matrices,catalogs and diagrams that he may be required to create based on project stakeholders. These viewpoints primarily involves consideration of following different aspects of architecture:
- Business architecture
- Application architecture
- Data architecture
- Technology architecture
Thus, if you are planning to wear the hat of technical architect, it is high time that you get yourself aware of at least one architectural framework such as TOGAF.
- Great Communication: Great communication is another must-have of a technical architect. This is primarily because of the reason that you as a technical architect may be involved in doing regular communication with some of the following stakeholders:
- Internal team involving developers/testers, project managers, technical leads, senior management etc.
- External stakeholders such as architects, technical leads, project managers and senior management etc.
Thus, if you believe you are not the best of the communicators, start working on your communication including oral and written manners.
- Faith in Yourself: If you are the one who lacks faith while proposing solution, you have to work on developing faith. This is because most of the times you have to propose newer technologies including tools & frameworks and you may be required to convince various stakeholders explaining why you believe in your proposed solution.
- Lot of Patience: A technical architect may have to go through lot of iterations on his proposed architecture/design based on the feedback of different project stakeholders. If you lack patience, you may want to start meditating :-).