What I wish I knew before becoming an Architect

May 2, 2024 

1 - "You don't look like an architect"

(Excuse me while I roll my eyes) You will get this a lot, both verbally and bluntly to your face, and indirectly -"I thought you worked in hair and beauty''. But, what does an architect even look like? Do you expect me to look like the outdated inaccurate stereotypical portrayal of an architect- an overweight, middle-aged white man in business casual attire, possibly wearing glasses, with a laptop or tablet in hand? Sorry, not sorry!  In reality, architects come from diverse backgrounds, genders, ages, and their appearance does not define their capability or expertise. 

2 - It's more soft skills than you think

Contrary to popular belief, being an architect requires a balance of technical prowess and soft skills. Communication, leadership, influence, and collaboration are just as crucial as your expertise and depth of knowledge. The role of an architect is typically a client facing role where you are required to engage with different audiences, motivate, inspire and lead teams. 

3 - Career progression is NOT limited

While some may assume that there's a glass ceiling for tech architecture, the truth is that the sky is the limit. With determination, skill development, and networking, you can advance to executive-level and C-suite positions, leading organisations  and driving innovation.

4 - There is no such thing as a perfect design

Architecture is an iterative process. It's not about creating one perfect design and calling it a day. Architects continuously refine and adapt their designs based on evolving requirements, feedback, and technological advancements. As an architect, you will collaborate, seek feedback, open your design up for security and adapt it to reflect unforeseen challenges.

5 - Find a community or mentor

Oh, trust me, you'll need this. In the tough moments where you're questioning it all, having a supportive community or mentor who truly gets it can make all the difference. They're the ones who will listen to your frustrations, offer sage advice, and remind you of your worth when self-doubt creeps in. Having a mentor or community to lean on means having a safe space to be vulnerable and share your experiences. It's a place where you can freely bounce ideas off each other, question established norms, and brainstorm innovative solutions to complex problems. They've been where you are, faced similar obstacles, and emerged stronger for it. Their wisdom and insights can help you navigate the twists and turns of your career path, providing guidance on everything from honing technical skills to mastering the art of negotiation.