As part of my role, I talk to architects across the spectrum, from senior and strategic architects, through to Solution and Domain Architects who are new to the discipline. Given my role within Architect Associates, and my recent career history, I have a bit of a unique position as my core focus is within the discipline of Architecture.
When speaking with architects who have been in the space for a while, it seems to me that they didn’t always set out to be an architect, mostly because it wasn’t necessarily a role that was fully understood when they started in the workforce, it was something that happened with the progression in their career.
When I speak to those at the early stages of their careers, many of these professionals aspire to be an architect at some point down the line; they can see the growth in the domain and the potential to influence strategic decisions and transformation initiatives. Those at this early stage normally have similar questions, around how they can break into the architecture space. For these aspiring and newly anointed Architects it seems that their previous or existing roles have necessitated the need for an array of industry certifications to demonstrate their knowledge and experience with certain frameworks, methodologies and technology stacks. Therefore, there is a justifiable and understandable perception that the way to become an accepted as an accomplished Architect is also obtained through attaining industry certifications.
What I have learned over a number of years is that architecture is so varied and conceptual in its nature, that it isn’t something that one can just pick up and learn from a book (like I did back in the day with most of my university courses). Architecture is something that needs to be understood and mastered over an extended period. There is no black and white, no right or wrong answer – the world of Architecture is far more complex and subjective; which I think adds to the complexity for those trying to break into the discipline.
I think becoming a successful Architect comes from experience within the domain and previous complex programmes of work, rather than someone who has learned the terminology and definitions from a textbook or training course. When it comes to certain technical certifications at the solution level like AWS and Azure, then these certifications are certainly relevant and valued very highly in the current marketplace. I do believe having an accreditation is well worth it for particular roles and it can certainly give you a solid base from which to learn and develop your career. However, I think it needs to be said that simply doing the training (and getting certified) will not turn anyone into an architect overnight.
I’d be keen to hear from those at any stage of their architecture career to see what advice you would give, whether you value industry certifications, or whether you put more emphasis on experience?