Steps you can take today to become a technical architect?

Learning to become the person who pushes the team forward is no easy task.  No one was born with the skill to lead or make decisions, it’s a skill everybody has to learn.  For a lot of people, making decisions and taking ownership is uncomfortable, it creates anxiety, it pushes you outside of your comfort zone and a lot of people shy away from this.

One of the big things that I have frequently noticed holds a lot of people back, is the thought that there is always a right solution; there isn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely better solutions than others, this is true, it’s a fact.  Some solutions are just plain bad.  On every project you have people with different roles, some people add content, some people only care about sales, some people will only care about how responsive a webpage is or how it looks.  If you’re reading this, then you probably care more about crafting an elegant and well designed code base than the former.  This contrast in needs means there is never a single right answer, so stop beating yourself that what you are doing now isn’t perfect.  Perfect doesn’t exist

It’s this mesh of interests that makes the job so challenging and interesting.  One solution that may make a great code base, might make the content editors lives a misery, an idea that can make a site super fast, might cost too much to implement.  It’s a balancing act.  You may come up with a perfect design but in two weeks the requirement changes, your code is scrapped, welcome to project life, it happens.

I think the first step anyone can take is trying to shed the fear that they might fuck up and make a wrong decision.  I can’t count the number of times someone has come to me with a good solution but is too afraid to implement it unless they get some form of affirmation from someone ‘senior’.  We’ve all had the fear, if it’s my idea and it’s wrong I’ll be blamed.  Don’t listen to it, it’s wrong.

Guess what, in my lifetime I’ve made decisions, most are right but it’s impossible to always be right. Have I ever been fired for making a bad call, NO. Would I get fired if I couldn’t make a new plan when things go wrong.. definitely.

To become an architect you need to take responsibility, to overcome your fear that you might be blamed.  Your job is to come up with solutions, to deliver, plan.  Requirements change, so will your plan.

Your task is to start taking ownership, make more decisions, don’t ask for permission, innovate, implement and get shit done.  Repeat the cycle enough, it gets easier.  If you mess up (you will, I will, it’s human nature) learn from it, adjust, come up with a new plan, help be the driver, get it done, move forward.  Learn to provide solutions, not ask for help.  Who cares if you get judged, everyone has to start at the bottom and learn.  Trying to live a life where you never make a mistakes is pointless, you’ll be left behind.  Be bold, be passionate and see where it leads.  Learn the ability to innovate under pressure, start creating and pushing boundaries and you’ll naturally gravitate.

Jon D Jones

Software Architect, Programmer and Technologist Jon Jones is founder and CEO of London-based tech firm Digital Prompt. He has been working in the field for nearly a decade, specializing in new technologies and technical solution research in the web business. A passionate blogger by heart , speaker & consultant from England.. always on the hunt for the next challenge

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