Technical Architect Mindset

8 Habits for Developing a Technical Architect Mindset

22 May 2020

Developmentcommunicationcooperationsoftware architecture

A Technical Architect is someone with the knowledge and skills necessary to design and create effective technical solutions. In order to become a TA, you need to be a thinker and a problem-solver. You need to plan long-term, creating solutions that will help your client or company go from zero to millions of customers. Suffice it to say, becoming a Technical Architect isn’t a piece of cake. However, there are habits that you can pick up to build yourself into this prestigious position.

The customs that we will talk about below are going to help you overcome Technical Architect’s daily challenges in software development, including:

  • increasing the effectiveness and/or decreasing the cost (senior management);
  • improving daily duties (business users);
  • creating a safe, stable and supported environment (IT support).

1. Orient yourself towards problem-solving

Whether you're busy designing a system or trying to meet the needs of your client, your work is about solving problems. Design problems, technical problems, communication problems, there is an infinite number of problems that can arise. The solution often requires a change of perspective—yours as well as your team's or client's. Thus, you need to be a negotiator.

Problem-solving is in large part about honing your social and communication skills. It's one thing to find a technical solution, but it's something else to convince others to go with it. That's why no software house would hire a lone wolf for the job.

2. The world is numbers - you understand math

The entire idea of architecture is based on the rules and limitations of mathematics. To become a TA, you need to understand maths, with an emphasis on geometry and algebra. Since there's no escaping this subject, it also helps to actually enjoy working with numbers.

3. Don't be afraid to use your imagination

You might think that there's nothing creative about maths, but being open-minded and having bold ideas is actually a huge advantage. After all, the mission of every Technical Architect is implementing reliable solutions. It is important to achieve a balance between stability and modern, innovative solutions that allow you to develop and scale a product or service.

4. Be open to ideas

No one expects you to know everything. Even the best TA doesn't have the answer to every question. Software development is about teamwork, and it's important to be open to ideas from other people. Openness is one of the basic SCRUM values.

It's always good to listen to your co-workers, even if you're their superior. Their suggestions, anecdotes, or experiences from their past projects may bring that one breakthrough idea you desperately need.

5. Never assume you're right

Why? Because it's not about being right or wrong. Usually, you won't be able to tell who's right until the work is over. You need to have confidence and strong vision, but also keep in mind that there are things beyond your control. Surprising technological breakthroughs, political changes, suddenly emerging competition, a tragedy that impacts the economy - are some examples of situations that can happen beyond your control.

It takes years to properly review any project, and only in hindsight can you see all the factors that led to a specific conclusion. Expect the unexpected, consult, and educate yourself.

6. Follow tech news

Do you want to innovate? Then you need to know the wider context of your work. What's the technical standard today? What will it be in six months? Or two years? Are there any technologies you should consider applying, or at least getting ready for? Following the IT industry is a must. And just like with maths, it really helps if you enjoy it.

7. See if LEGO blocks still entertain you

Just buy yourself a set. It doesn't have to be a big one. If you spend half an hour with it and think it's boring and childish, maybe being a TA isn't for you.

The thing is, Technical Architect builds stuff. Software development is not that different from playing with LEGO. In both cases, you work with pieces that you can creatively combine to come up with something new. If you don't find any enjoyment in doing this with building blocks, there's a chance that working at a Software House won’t be a good fit.

8. Understand that being a Technical Architect isn't an end in itself

Before you start this adventure, you need to realize its destination. Because finally getting the prestigious title of Technical Architect doesn't mean that you're done.

No, this journey never ends. The technology around you will keep changing, and you will always have to learn, evolve and adapt. If you ascend to the summit and stop, the mountain you just climbed is going to outgrow you. Thus, the position of Technical Architect is only for those who actually enjoy learning and discovering new things. There are many potential development directions. You can become, for example, a Strategic Architect, and maybe even CTO someday.

Embark on a journey to develop your mindset. Being a Technical Architect does not mean that you will no longer code. We described here how to find time for coding in an architect's work. Because it's still your passion, isn't it?

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