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Architect: Is it enough...

Elle Atechsy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 23, 2004
Posts: 96
Hi All,

I'm looking to see what it take in becoming a J2EE architect because I don't want to go the project manager route. So, I'm wondering if knowing programming technology concepts & theories, such as OOP concepts and design patterns, is enough to be a successful applicaion architect in the future.

Here's my senario:

- A developer with 6.5 years experience in web application development.
- 4 of 6 yrs using a non-OO language.
- 2.5 yrs of Java/J2EE
- Now being pushed into an overall project lead role where there is absolutely no time for programming. Mostly design/tech spec writing (with input from longer experienced Java developers), and lots of meetings with the managers, and occasional meetings with database modelers/DBAs, etc.

My fear is that I'm getting away from hands on Java programming too soon before I can really get the proper experienced required to be able to successfully architect a J2EE application.

- How can someone direct others on how an application should be constructed without knowing the pitfalls of the language?

- But on the other hand, my counter thought is that one can become an OOP application architect, and one day the hot and happening programming technology can change again (like it did for me 2 yrs ago). Then what would one do, drop back & program in that new language to get the hands on experience, and work his/her way up again?

- Also, can anyone recommend other skills an OOP application architect should possess, such as UML object modeling, design patterns?

I'd appreciate any thoughts.

Thanks in advance!
Lulu
Shipra Verma
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 11, 2005
Posts: 116
you gain some you lose some . you are going in right direction though . agree that architect is more on the technology side .


<a href="http://itpaypacket.blogspot.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://itpaypacket.blogspot.com/</a><br />Life is unpredictable: eat dessert first :-)
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
If it's something you want to do, then go for it... Learning new languages is great, but the fact is, programmers come a lot cheaper today and therefore are looked at as the lowest of the totem pole. If you gain experience and knowledge as a lead, manager, architect, you will have far more opportunities in the future then you will if you decide to stay a developer and learn everything you can..

In the long run of your career, you should learn what you can, but regarding promotions and other opportunities, somebody who shows experience as a lead or manager or architect on their resumes always looks more impressive to those who do the hiring than simply a developer.
Jignesh Patel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 03, 2001
Posts: 626

OOP application architect

When you really started working as an architect, will realize architecture is not to restrict yourself in one technology area.
I would say architecture is independent to the technology.
Chris Hani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 03, 2004
Posts: 42
That is my fear too.

Unlike I have thought throughout my early career, an architect is not the architect should be in reality.

I imagined the roles of an architect is to design product, giving technical solution to the tech team(not business team) etc.

However, it seems that the main role of architect is to soothing project managers and business team managers saying it is going to end on time.

The whole lot of meeting is all about that.

Now I start to think that I may want to be a Sr. developer for whole my career. But then, some people(I would say most people) didn't recognize between high quality and intermediate(or even entry level) quality developers. Even if they realize there are huge difference, they simply don't care because they don't want to quality applications but something running with any kinds of disturbing ways. In this reality, my job market is really narrow down if I made that good Sr. developer.

Either I am paid like intermediate developers or I am unemployeed ^^;
Jignesh Patel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 03, 2001
Posts: 626

But then, some people(I would say most people) didn't recognize between high quality and intermediate(or even entry level) quality developers.

In todays world almost all the software developed by the combination of few very good developers and few bad developers.

Being a developer you are not going to develop whole software single handed, regardless of whatever quality you posess.
While in the case of Architect, PMs its the case.
And thats why they are getting different pay package then developers.
[ March 05, 2007: Message edited by: Jignesh Patel ]
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
Developers and programmers have become the blue collar workers of IT.
They are basically the carpenters, plumbers, electicians and so on.

You can make decent money, but on the same note,
certain places will hire the cheapest labor.

Developers and programmers are looked at as the bottom of the totem pole. When things are going good, it might not be an issue.
But when a company struggles, the IT dept seems to always be the
first ones cut now.

Too many people in IT forget that it is about the business and not about software, hardware, technology and so on. Yeah it might be cool
to you or I that this new java application can do wonderful things, but if you work for a large car company like any of the huge corporations in the world, they want
software and hardware that improves their bottom line,
improves how they do business, not something that requires tons of retraining and budget analysis.

Many times they won't care how it works or if its better than
all the other things out there, if it makes the business save money,
increase efficiency and so on, then it will be impressive.

Too many people in IT forget that most people outside of IT really could care less if ONE Applicaition can do problems a, b, or c while the SECOND Application can only do a and/or b. If c is not needed, you won't impress anybody, only make matters worse if it took an extra few months and money to finish it.

It is about understanding what the users and clients want. And in the end, if you like developing that is wonderful and if you find a niche or opportunity that rewards that, that's great. But as you get older, 45 year old developers in this day and age without any lead experience are not looked up to anymore.
Mike Isano
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 19, 2007
Posts: 144
I think all developers should go on strike and let project managers develop software.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15950
    
  19

Actually, in the local market, "architect" now means "non-offshore software developer". A real devaluation of the concept, IMHO.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Sai Surya
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 08, 2006
Posts: 457

Originally posted by william gates:
Developers and programmers have become the blue collar workers of IT.
They are basically the carpenters, plumbers, electicians and so on.


I will not agree for this. A carpenter or a plumber need not to have an engineering degree to work. They can simply start working from scratch for pea nuts even though they don't know alphabets.

To be a software developer, a person need solid understanding of software fundamentals, computer science essentials, data structures and algorithms. I agree to working for less salary when people just come out of college, however, this doesn't mean that they are blue collar labour.

Let us take an example of fresh civil engineering graduate, he need not to really start working as a civil construction daily labour to be a good civil engineer.

The term "entry-level" more suitable rather than "blue-colored".

Finally, I will not agree on this point, other members feedback appreciated..


Sai Surya, SCJP 5.0, SCWCD 5.0, IBM 833 834
http://sai-surya-talk.blogspot.com, I believe in Murphy's law.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Sai Surya:
I will not agree for this. A carpenter or a plumber need not to have an engineering degree to work. They can simply start working from scratch for pea nuts even though they don't know alphabets.

To be a software developer, a person need solid understanding of software fundamentals, computer science essentials, data structures and algorithms. I agree to working for less salary when people just come out of college, however, this doesn't mean that they are blue collar labour.


You have it backwards.

To work as a software engineering, you just need to convince someone to hire you. I've met many developers who don't have CS degrees or understand data structures and algorithms. (I generally don't hire them, but they do exist.) There is non educational or other requirements to be a developer.

To be a plumber or electrician you need not only training, but to be certified by the county/state. Unlike the software industry, plumbing and electrical actually have quality standards to insure public safety. Oh, also unlike the software industry, in which anyone who can fork over the money can become "certified" by arbitrary third parties, the required government certification usually requires minimum training/education/experience.

So you, right in some respects that software engineers aren't like plumbers or electricians--we have much lower standards.

--Mark
Jignesh Patel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 03, 2001
Posts: 626

Actually, in the local market, "architect" now means "non-offshore software developer". A real devaluation of the concept, IMHO


That is true when the software proejct outsourced. But does all the software project oursourced. I am working some big firm architects, and they just know visio, and just now started learning UML and they are architects from many years. Don't you think it is also devaluation of concepts, while the project is not oursourced.


So you, right in some respects that software engineers aren't like plumbers or electricians--we have much lower standards.



I think software companies do follow ISO-9001-9002, which probably followed by plumbers or electricians. Infact some companies do follow much hire standards like Capablitiy Maturity Model.
Offcourse I agree they are not certified by the state.
Jignesh Patel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 03, 2001
Posts: 626

Actually, in the local market, "architect" now means "non-offshore software developer". A real devaluation of the concept, IMHO


That is true when the software proejct outsourced. But does all the software project oursourced. I am working some big firm architects, and they just know visio, and just now started learning UML and they are architects from many years. Don't you think it is also devaluation of concepts, while the project is not oursourced.


So you, right in some respects that software engineers aren't like plumbers or electricians--we have much lower standards.



I think software companies do follow ISO-9001-9002, which probably followed by plumbers or electricians. Infact some companies do follow much hire standards like Capablitiy Maturity Model.
Offcourse I agree they are not certified by the state.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Jignesh Patel:

I think software companies do follow ISO-9001-9002, which probably followed by plumbers or electricians. Infact some companies do follow much hire standards like Capablitiy Maturity Model.
Offcourse I agree they are not certified by the state.


Some companies do follow ISO-9000 standards, many more do not (the certification cost is prohibitive for smaller companies). I'm not saying there aren't companies that don't have high standards for quality and minimum eligibility requirements, merely that the industry itself has no minimum requirements, unlike plumbing and electricians.

--Mark
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
Maybe it's a hard pill to swallow, but it is true.

Many kids in high school can program. Many businesses, management and others think that programmers can be outsourced and/or cut back to a point where instead of 60 people working on 10 projects, you now have 20 people working on 30 projects. But expected to get things done sooner.

Is it fair? Probably not, but the fact is, developers and programmers are the "blue-collar" workers today. They are usually put in small cubicles. They are usually not looked at in high regard by non-IT folk. The people getting the big big bonuses are usually not the programmers.

Just look at some large consulting firms. Many programmers who work at these places are by and away very smart, bright, and intelligent. They'd probably walk lightyears around most consultants and others who work on IT projects.

But the fact is, the programmers are the first ones laid off. They are the ones working the long hours and in the end, it's the project managers, the consultants, the salesmen who are getting the praises, the huge raises, the credit, and the huge bonuses.

Yeah every now and then you get a bone and a few meeger bonuses, but the fact is, programmers in todays world are looked at as the bottom of the totem pole. Yeah you need skills. Yeah you need intelligence. Yeah you can make a decent living for the most part as long as you keep your skills and knowledge up to date. But most people outside of IT do not understand or respect what programmers do.

It isn't that far removed from electricians and plumbers. They can make a decent living. They have to learn new things. But for the most part, they are the first ones laid off, let go, and so on.

There is nothing wrong with any of these jobs or careers. It's just a fact of life that as a programmer today, in most businesses you are not considered that important by most non-IT people. Even though most of the time it's a stupid assumption by those people, it is sadly, what happens all the time.
ravi janap
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 04, 2000
Posts: 389
I totally agree with what Williams has to say. This is the usual attitude in the IT industry today. Programmers/developers are considered as disposable. It is the business that gets all the kudos. One need not have fancy educational degrees to program. The minimum education demanded of most of the IT jobs in US is high school degree.


SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA
Kevin Thomas
Greenhorn

Joined: May 11, 2007
Posts: 2
The minimum education demanded of most of the IT jobs in US is high school degree.


I don't know if this is necessarily true. The company I work for is squeezing people who only have high school diploma's out. And requiring advanced degrees for new hires.

But I do agree that college degrees are not required for programming. Of course it's helpful, mostly for that foundation, and only if you apply what you've learned. But, I've been in IT for 11 yrs, and in my experiences, many people with CS degrees cannot program to save their lives. Some without degrees can code circles around them. Heck! Look at Bill Gates, he only had a HS diploma!
[ May 12, 2007: Message edited by: Kevin Thomas ]
Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1297
here is a typical description for an architect job

Solution Architect-Shanghai


BEA 8.1 Certified Administrator, IBM Certified Solution Developer For XML 1.1 and Related Technologies, SCJP, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCDJWS, SCJD, SCEA,
Oracle Certified Master Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
subject: Architect: Is it enough...
 
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