Tuesday 10 March 2009

Moving from Technologist to IT Architect

As a programmer I recall thinking about key skills, knowledge of programming languages, exposure to different environments and protocols and generally being very good at solving abstract puzzles. I note now that the skills and knowledge I value are quite different although I still need the background knowledge.

This actually forms part of the question about how an experience programmer or technology worker moves into the area of Systems Architecture. I recall my own growth and leading the technology in one of my early roles. I recall immersing myself in the detail, becoming familiar with all the protocols the system used, the languages required and configuration methods through the architecture. I recall discovering design patterns by a circuitous route and embedding those into my set of skills.

In recent years though I've spent more time looking at people than technology. Questions I face daily are
  • how do I present this information so that this stakeholder understands the key issues at hand?
  • how am I going to get this message across concisely?
  • who must I influence to make this change happen?
  • what are the key concerns of the people in the meeting with me?
As a result much of the things I read about lately are more to do with leadership, expressing information and around social intelligence. I've also spent time changing my appearance, working with the ideas in walkingtall.com and getting personal coaching on my appearance in order to have greater impact. Of course we all worry about money, so much of my time is now spent talking about money and converting technical lingo in the £££ (both benefits and costs).

Perhaps then the key leap for a technologist into an IT Architect role is to become as familiar with the protocols and inner workings of people as we are with the protocols and inner workings of computers. Oh, and to be able to put a value to such things.

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