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Becoming a software architect

Nicholas Turner
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 24, 2003
Posts: 126
I have been a consultant programmer with completely designing/redesigning several projects already
what do you suggest I do to become an architect?
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi Nicholas,
Do you have an advanced degree or are you intended to after you obtained the software architect cert? Several third party consultants I have talking to do have two things in common: MS and SCEA.
Regards,
MCao
Nicholas Turner
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 24, 2003
Posts: 126
Well to be honest I dont have a degree but I do have 6 years experience and I thought maybe I could get certs if be a software architect maybe or would I have to get a MS degree in something.
Looking for advice really. I want to be a .NET or J2EE architect but I don't really know what exactly you need to become one.
thanks for helping
nick
SAFROLE YUTANI
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 06, 2001
Posts: 257
I started as a programmer, and I still do a great deal of coding, but I have about 2 1/2 years of application-level architecture experience, and this came mostly from being involved on projects early in their lifecycle, that is, meeting with customers, gathering requirements, documenting formal functional specs, designing software architectures, applying design patterns, conducting presentations on new technologies, promoting reuse, etc.
I always bug my boss to get me involved on projects during their inception, and he has already allowed to to take the lead role on 3 systems in the last 15 months, where my responsibilites included overall architecture, design, requirements gathering, documentation, etc, I think you get the point. If you're stuck doing coding, then you're not working at the capacity of an architect since coders are the low-level business logic builders, and architects operate at a much higher level.
I would agree that getting the SCEA would help, but to be honest, most companies would rather see you attain a 4 year degree in CS or Math. I'm just being honest because I've reviewed resumes in the past for my company when we were hiring for a Senior Java position, and if the candidate did not have a 4 year degree in something related to CS, we had no choice but to discard the resume. On the other hand, if you can get an interview and talk a good game with the interviewers, they might hire you.
Good luck,
Raffi
[ June 10, 2003: Message edited by: SAFROLE YUTANI ]
San Su
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 06, 2001
Posts: 313
Originally posted by SAFROLE YUTANI:
where my responsibilites included overall architecture, design, requirements gathering, documentation, etc, I think you get the point. If you're stuck doing coding, then you're not working at the capacity of an architect since coders are the low-level business logic builders, and architects operate at a much higher level.
[ June 10, 2003: Message edited by: SAFROLE YUTANI ][/QB]

Raffi,
Very good points. I have only one question in your points (Sorry to jump in). IMHO, the things you have said as your role is a mix of Business analyst as well as System Architect. Isn't the B/A's role to gather requirement and document it and pass it on the the architects for system design based on the requirements?
Thanks,
SAFROLE YUTANI
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 06, 2001
Posts: 257
Originally posted by Sankar Subbiah:

Raffi,
Very good points. I have only one question in your points (Sorry to jump in). IMHO, the things you have said as your role is a mix of Business analyst as well as System Architect. Isn't the B/A's role to gather requirement and document it and pass it on the the architects for system design based on the requirements?
Thanks,

Well, yes. The BA is to act as the liason between the customer and the development group. However, it has been my experience in many companies that I have worked where I was forced to assume many roles on a number of different projects. This is simply because most companies don't have B/A's, therfore, the job of gathering requirements, documenting formal specifications, and communicating this information to the development group becomes the responsibility of the architect, or, at least, the project lead.
Ok, so now I'm a Business Analyst too!
Raffi
San Su
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 06, 2001
Posts: 313
Originally posted by SAFROLE YUTANI:

Ok, so now I'm a Business Analyst too!
Raffi

That is a good thing.
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi Safrole,
Very good job. I see you are a proactive individual. Any company lucky enough to have you onboard will not let you go easily.
I think the reason company not granted you the Business Analyst/Developer/etc. probably you do not have a business degree or credential.
FYI. Don't care much about title, only the roles counted. If anyone read your resume could not interpret your roles, then that individual should not have any business to interview you for the position.

Hi Nicholas,
You need to have credentials from university. Certs are issued by your field of discipline for recognizing your capability. University credentials are the permissions issued by state of sovereignty. Company cann't pay you below your professional standard. Why it is the big deal all the sudden? You can thank to the accounting fiasco in US. The SEC makes all executives who signatures on company legal documents must have credentials. It is trickle down to little people like us.
If you lucky enough to land a position with the company, by all mean take the time to get your degree. Company nowaday accepts online degrees from brandname university too.
Regards,
MCao
SAFROLE YUTANI
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 06, 2001
Posts: 257
Originally posted by Matt Cao:
Hi Safrole,
Very good job. I see you are a proactive individual. Any company lucky enough to have you onboard will not let you go easily.
I think the reason company not granted you the Business Analyst/Developer/etc. probably you do not have a business degree or credential.
FYI. Don't care much about title, only the roles counted. If anyone read your resume could not interpret your roles, then that individual should not have any business to interview you for the position.

I agree with you 100%, and what you said is so very true. I'm not looking to become a B/A anyway, but if you can effectively deal with customers via good communication and domain knowledge, you really don't need much else. To be honest, I've been working with Java for 5 years , and my title here is only "Programmer Analyst", but my roles on the last 3 projects has been "J2EE Architect/Project Lead", and this is what goes on my resume, in addition to my title. It's very important to be clear about your role, responsibilities, and duties on each project because employers need to know exactly what you are doing.
Titles only matter when it's time for a promotion
Raffi
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Nicholas Turner:
what do you suggest I do to become an architect?

Get a job as one. :-p
OK, more seriously. Don't bother with an SCEA (of course, this is my general anti-Java cert bias). Now personally I think 6 years is young for an architect, but there are plenty of companies who will disagree. To land a job as an architect you need to demonstrate previous successful application design. You do need to be familiar with multiple technologies (not just Java technologies). You need to know what tools are out there and have a good feel for buy vs. build. You should have some experience working with customers, and good speaking, writing, and communication skills. Some project management skills would help, too.
That's a very brief set of skills, if the topic is still active when I get back from JavaOne I'll post more.
--Mark
Jim Baiter
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 05, 2001
Posts: 532
I agree with Mark. The stuff on paper doesn't mean as much as what you really know although it may help you get in the door nowadays. For me, getting to the "architect level" involved working with the right people and learning the right things. Many things are instinctual - someone throws a problem at you and you come up with a design that makes sense on the fly. I would note though that there are several definitions of "architect" flying around nowadays. There are architects who are hands off and basically project managers of a sort. If you are looking to get to that type of job, the answer is really different.
 
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