Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Technical Architect

Here's a job description for Technical Architect that I recently submitted for a position that I believe is a need of my current client. The description is at the bottom of the post. Along the way, I found some good resources on understanding this new role of Architect (Technical, Systems, Application, Data, Web, Software, Solutions, Enterprise, Information, or any specific platform such as Java or .Net).

One good source was Seven Habits of Highly Successful Enteprise Architects. There is also some brief descriptions and a wealth of links on Worldwide Institute of Software Architects (WWISA) New Zealand Chapter's site. Dana Bredemeyer has also published some articles defining the role of Architect, and has a resources site for for Software Architects.

After reviewing those sources and reviewing some job descriptions on, I came up with the following:

Job Title: Technical Architect

Duties and Responsibilities
Assists and guides in effort to move from reactionary to proactive (trouble-shooting environment to problem prevention).
Enable tighter business/IT alignment, better-quality decisions, and the successful implementation of an enterprise architecture
Assists in business strategy and process engineering
Responsible for solution options, trade-offs, design and implementation. Responsible for application integration. Responsible for review and implementation of third party solutions or tools. Responsible for standards definition and review.

Qualifications, Skills and Abilities
Personal Traits / Behavioral Competencies
1. Strong leadership skills
2. Excellent written and oral communications skills
3. Proactive – Identifies problem areas and opportunities and makes recommendations
4. Provides thought leadership, thinks strategically
5. Exceptional interpersonal skills
a. Builds rapport & trust
b. Excellent team player and team builder
c. Strong facilitation and negotiation skills
d. Persuades & communicates effectively
e. Ability to moderate and build consensus
f. Ability to articulate and sell a vision
g. Ability to mentor and coach
6. Delivers practical results – Quantifies return on investment
7. Is agnostic toward technology vendor and product choices; more interested in results than in personal choices
8. High tolerance for ambiguity. Resilient
9. Entrepreneurial and creative
10. Practical and pragmatic
11. Empathetic and approachable
12. Committed, dedicated, passionate

Skills and Credentials
1. Bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, systems analysis, or a related study, or equivalent experience.
2. Three to four years of experience in at least two IT disciplines OR three to four years of experience in business analysis or business strategic planning.
3. Exposure to multiple, diverse technical configurations, technologies, and processing environments.
4. Excellent analytical and technical skills.
5. Excellent planning and organizational skills.
6. Knowledge of all components of a technical architecture.
7. Knowledge of business re-engineering principles and processes.
8. Understands the business, business drivers, and business strategy
9. Demonstrates technical prowess
10. Strong understanding of network architecture.
11. Strong understanding of client/server and object-oriented analysis and design.
12. Ability to understand the long-term (“big picture”) and short-term perspectives
13. Ability to translate business needs into technical architecture requirements.
14. Ability to apply multiple technical solutions to business problems.
15. Ability to quickly comprehend the functions and capabilities of new technologies
16. Good understanding of technology trends. Technical vision
17. Good interviewing skills
18. Understands system analysis and synthesis, modeling, conceptualization
19. Trade-off analysis. Technical reviews and assessments. Technology selection
20. Project/transition planning. Able to manage and coordinate key project elements

Other Abilities
1. Researching: must become adept at understanding issues and finding answers quickly and creatively.
2. Analyzing: must be able to formulate questions used in business conversations to elicit facts or statements from them, and be willing to listen to what these individuals have to say.
3. Engineering: must be able to apply principles of logic, science, and mathematics to the understanding of systems and processes so the latter can be improved.
4. Communicating: must be able to expound on an important subject to inform and instruct an audience, convincing members to take further action. This entails persuading, marketing, and selling.
5. Arbitrating: must be able to reconcile differences to achieve a common objective and find appropriate solutions.
6. Teaching & Mentoring: must be able and willing to transfer knowledge to others, if necessary, identifying their weaknesses and helping in their correction.
7. Organizing: must be able to put things together in an orderly, functioning, structured whole. This entails handling multiple things at the same time effectively.

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