The system architect is connected to the project at the pre-sale stage and is fully responsible for the entire technical part. He participates in the development of a technical and commercial proposal, thinks through every element of the future system in detail. He also coordinates the concept of the project and “sells” it to the customer – convinces him of the correctness and optimality of each solution.
After signing the contract, the system architect acts as a technical manager of the project: he gathers a team, distributes roles and oversees all processes up to the implementation of the infrastructure. He conducts his work in close cooperation with the project manager, immersing himself in detail in the features of the customer’s IT infrastructure and taking into account all the specific requirements.
Where are such professionals needed?
Wherever digital transformation takes place, powerful and comprehensive IT infrastructures are being built. For example, in projects for large state corporations, which differ not only in scale, but also in a high level of criticality and importance.
Most often, such projects are implemented by system integrators, in which system architects work. Depending on the scale of the project, either one or several system architects can take part in it.
Key Skills of a Systems Architect
The position implies many years of experience. Therefore, theoretical knowledge alone is not enough here. It is necessary to understand how different solutions are combined with each other, where problems can arise, to be able to thoroughly calculate the risks. It is important to see the big picture, but it is also great to know every component of the IT infrastructure. This can only be achieved through practice. In the case of the public sector, it is also necessary to take into account the requirements associated with the import substitution policy, and finely implement Russian solutions into already operating systems.
In addition to extensive knowledge in IT, an architect must have a number of cross-profile skills or soft skills. First of all, communication. He must correctly formulate his thoughts both in writing and orally. He will have to communicate a lot with customers, politely but persistently defend his point of view, set tasks and motivate the team. And in some cases – to work in conjunction with other architects.
You need to be able to plan and conduct presentations, “sell” your ideas. Another important skill is time management, as you will have to manage not only your time, but also correctly distribute the workload within the project team.
How to become a systems architect
Since the position implies extensive experience in working with IT infrastructure, system architects do not become immediately after graduation from the university. When choosing this line of work, it is important to understand that career growth will not be rapid. But the specialist is guaranteed an interesting job in reputable and stable companies.
Since it is not so easy to find a ready-made professional with the right background and the right expertise on the market, integrators prefer to develop specialists within their companies. They actively invest in training and by all means try to retain talented and motivated employees for as long as possible so that this investment does not go to waste. That is why well-known IT integrators usually have very low staff turnover.
Rubytech’s experience shows that most often, system architects become employees who began their careers as an expert designer. In some companies they are called technical writers. And this is no coincidence, because documentation design is one of the key functions of system architecture specialists.
To successfully implement a large-scale project, its detailed description is required. It includes a rationale for the architecture of each of the proposed solutions and detailed operating instructions for the customer’s administrators. The designer deals with all these aspects at the documentation level.
At the same time, he develops according to an individual trajectory – pumps his knowledge and skills under the guidance of senior mentors, undergoes internal and external training and certification from vendors. Gradually, he takes on more and more complex, creative and responsible tasks – from a junior expert he becomes a senior, then a leader. The next step is the system architect.
How long to wait for career growth
Everyone’s growth rate is very different. It happens that young specialists with great ambitions, having briskly started, stop developing in the middle of the way. And it happens – exactly the opposite. For example, in the Rubytech Systems Architecture Department, which I manage, there is an employee who at first did not show impressive career results, she just did her job carefully.
And recently, I got on a large and complex project, showed independence, made several competent management decisions, showed high professionalism and, after a slow acceleration, made a qualitative professional leap.
In general, this is exactly what happens – specialists quickly grow up on difficult projects that usually last at least a year. During this time, you can learn a lot and express yourself brightly. Therefore, I advise young employees to be proactive and look for challenges. If the project is easy and comfortable, it means that you have outgrown it.
What you need to know and be able to enter the profession
To get a job as a designer, you need to have an understanding of the basic concepts and principles of building an IT infrastructure, know the main vendors and understand their products. You must have a completed technical education. As in any position in the field of technology, you need to be able to read and write documentation in Russian in English.
But the main thing is to have an irresistible desire to work in the IT field, the ability to quickly learn and assimilate huge amounts of information. Attention to detail is another important factor, without which successful work as a designer is impossible.