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10 steps learning pyramid for Architects and Technologists

10 steps learning pyramid for Architects and Technologists

** Please click here to see Learning Pyramid in enlarged form! **

A young Technologist had approached me recently with a very genuine question – “I have decided to make my career in Technology and would like to grow as an Architect. What would be the learning path for me?”… The same question many of my young friends in the Technology field keep asking and looking for concrete answer motivated me to write down my thoughts around this important topic. I am evolved and still evolving as an Architect over the period of time, I did not have concrete plan in front of me when I started my career but I did observe, absorb, adopt, adjust and evolve on my own and with help of my wonderful mentors. Corporates are becoming huge and complex these days and finding such wonderful mentors who can personally spend time and guide for individual’s success is becoming difficult now (though not impossible).

When it comes to learning, Architects and Technologists have tough task due to dynamic nature of Technology around them. In their organization, can they be successful just based on their Architecture and Technology skills? Answer of this question depends on size and culture of the organization. In few organizations, Architects can be focused only on architecture concepts and Technologists can be focused only on technology . They can learn new architecture paradigms / technologies on their own, apply those to problem statements, play individualistic role, care about self and small teams and be successful based on Technology competency. But what if we talk about other organizations where other necessary qualifications in addition to Architecture / Technology expertise matter for personal growth and organizational success? How can they cope with the pressure around them, learn required skills, define road map for success and achieve quantifiable goals?

Obviously success is a relative term and I am not trying to define what it means. Every Architect can have different definition of success. I have seen people being happy working in same role, same technology and same group for ages and as far as person finds the work interesting and if organization gets benefited by the work of this individual, person *can* call it as success.

But what about the Architects and Technologists who are beyond such category and look for other attributes as their personal capabilities and qualifications to grow in the organizations and accomplish measurable goals?

Here is an attempt to define learning pyramid for Architects and Technologists which can help them achieve measurable goals over the period of time.

Basic Competency Skills
1. Technology competency and Engineering practices
2. Time management and multi-tasking
3. Communication and Collaboration
Skills which can be gained through gradual progression
4. Client advocacy and Trusted partner
5. Networking and Relationships
6. Economics and Political science
7. Negotiation and Persuasion
Differentiators
8. Specialization and Personal Brand
9. Leadership and Mentoring
Continuous Evolution
10. Introspection and Self goal setting

Considerations for the Learning Pyramid:

1. The learning pyramid has many attributes but I did my best putting the related ones in 10 separate buckets.
2. Architects can achieve these qualifications in sequential / hierarchical manner or they can prefer to achieve those in parallel. Or group relevant ones together and focus on those.
3. They can do base evaluation and plan their roadmap. Baseline for survival and for achieving meaningful expertise is provided for reference only.
4. In no way we can provide these required skills in quantitative form. I have divided learning path in active learning and passive learning categories again for reference only.
5. Active learning is on the job with technologies, people, internal-external stakeholders and systems whereas passive learning is on own which can be reading, learning, evaluating, planning, etc.
6. I personally prefer active learning as it is more effective and helps learn in real environment. I have provided tentative breakup but Architect can fine tune their efforts breakup based on existing baseline, availability of resources and other relevant circumstances.
7. The learning areas are self-explanatory and hope Architects and Technologists find it useful.
8. If any of the point mentioned in the pyramid is not clear, please feel free to post a query and I would be more than happy to provide my point of view.

So what you think about this ‘Architects and Technologists Learning Pyramid’? Do you think any other skill is must? Please let us know!

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12 Comments

  1. Varun Surpurkar says:

    Thanks for this valuable information.
    I am one among your first liner statement,who always wanted to be a Technologist
    Often when there is the word technical skills
    it has always has been difficult to draw line on “what kind of technology” and “how much” of that.
    Recently was having a conversion with an Architect(very experienced) .He asked me what are you
    specialized in?Reply from me was I am Java J2EE developer,then came the question “next”,My reply was
    I am well versed with frameworks like Struts and Spring and can handle those projects confidently.
    The next question was,” what kind of product are you specialized in? Anybody can code using Spring /Struts these days,what specialized skill do you have?”These kind of questions always puts me as a developer in dilemma about the technology path which needs to be followed.From your perspective ,how should the technology career path viewed.Please let me know your insights on this.

    Thanks!

  2. Kedar Dhopeshwarkar says:

    Hi, as technology field is so vast and ever expanding, it is practically difficult to master everything. So apart from having a good understanding of basic common ground (which itself is huge – architectural frameworks like TOGAF, design patterns, UML, web services, Spring, rich user interface etc etc), I think one should know about other and newer things as well and then try to have a deeper understanding of key technologies like say rules engine, mobility etc. In short: Jack of all, master of some. 🙂

  3. swarrajk says:

    Thanks Varun and Kedar. At macro level, I would suggest focus more on the concepts than the Technology and frameworks. Concepts remain forever than the technologies. Define road map for yourself on the lines mentioned above and put systematic efforts on not just the Technologies but the other soft aspects as well.

  4. Venki says:

    I agree with Swarraj that we to need focus on the concepts. To be precise “IT design concepts” based on the applied research where an individual understands its abstraction and abilities.

  5. Hi Swarraj,

    Thanks for putting your thoughts in this area; it can really help to lots of aspiring architects. I agree with Varun that it is not so easy to decide what to pick and what not to, Just knowing any technical topic is ok but mastering it, needs very hard work & dedication.

    I completely agree with Swarraj that first focus should be on concepts because most of time same concepts can be applied in various technologies & old concepts really help to learn new technology very quickly.

    I would also like to quote your sentences,

    ” Corporates are becoming huge and complex these days and finding such wonderful mentors who can personally spend time and guide for individual’s success is becoming difficult now”.

    It is very true, I consider myself lucky that I got really good mentors but for most of young technologist, it is really very difficult nowadays. Attitude of mentors are changing from “Lets help team to grow” to “what’s in it for me”. I can understand valid short-term benefits for this but this may hurt industry/organization in long term.

    Will be really helpful for us if you can share some of your thoughts, ideas / tips on how to realize or move up in this pyramid.

    • swarrajk says:

      Thanks Amit. I understand it is a broad topic and a big issue. For every individual to be successful in Architecture field (for that matter in every field of life) two most important things are must – “Passion” and “Discipline”. First will keep some goal in front of you and second will help you reach to that goal. My pyramid just mentions the “What” part and not “How”. I intentionally did not put “How” part because it is very specific to every individual and has to be defined by the person based on his/her personality, existing capabilities, interests and career goals.

  6. Looks good. Economics and Political science sound more like a graduation course and less specific when compared to other points. What about Project and people management?

  7. swarrajk says:

    Thanks Thiruvadinathan, first two points are interpretation of individuals :)… Yes, Project and people management skills are required too and can relate them under basic must haves.

  8. gulerden says:

    Can I use the bild in my thesis?

  9. gulerden says:

    I mean the picture 🙂

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