I am attending (and speaking) at the Atlanta IT Architect Regional Conference hosted by IASA. Angela Yochem of Bank of America gave this initial keynote based on some work IASA has been doing on the skills of IT architects. Angela laid out a model of skills needed based on 5 layers - IT Environment, Design Skills, Quality Attributes, Business-Technology Strategy, Human Dynamics - and four areas - Software, Infrastructure, Business, Information. An enterprise architect, she argues, needs all these skills. She mostly walked through the key issues in this - very useful and insightful but also well documented on the IASA website and so not worth typing here! She wrapped up with some thoughts on skill building:
- On the job (direct assignment or apprenticeship, observation or committees).
- Training (web-based, university, professional, self-study)
- Community Involvement (User groups, IASA)
She pointed out that different people combine these things in different ways and that all are valid sources. Although more companies are establishing architect career tracks, she also emphasized networking - call people and ask questions, send email and ask questions - build relationships where you can contribute but which also act as a resource for you.