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« Europe ahead of North America in Enterprise Architecture? | Main | What does a Chief Architect do next? »

What does a Technical Architect do next?

One of the readers of this blog wrote ... "I'm a Technical Architect for a software/services organisation and have recently begun an MBA at a top business school, ideally I'd like to move into an EA role soon, but I'm unsure about the next step do you have any advice?"

I do a lot of recruiting and I find it very difficult to find the right balance of depth and breadth.  My guess is that as a technical architect, you will have depth in some technical domain.  The first piece of advice is don't lose this.

The MBA is a good move.  It looks good on the resume, it gives broader business and management skills.  Make sure you network with other people from the course.  Talking to a marketeer makes marketing theory more real.  A note of caution - a standard interview question for MBA graduates - "you have an MBA, what makes you think we can satisfy your potential?"

Build the breadth - you need to get some experience and knowledge of the business, information, application and infrastructure domains.

I would suggest joining an end user company.  There is often more flexibility to expand experience and take responsibility in new areas.  It also gives a different perspective on organisational politics.  Having end user experience is valuable if you want to go back into consulting.

Build the people skills.  You need to be able to stand up in front of senior management and clients with confidence.  You can get the techniques and tips from courses and books.  The real learning is by doing - if this area is difficult then start small with unthreatening audiences and move up over time.

So, to pass my interview process for an EA...

  1. technical depth in one area eg integration or data architecture, I expect multiple products
  2. some experience of all the EA domains
  3. business understanding in at least one industry (I don't care which, I just expect you to be able to talk credibly to business people)
  4. people skills
  5. commercial and financial skills are a bonus.

You probably know why I find it tough to recruit now!

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