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Tomas Tulka
Tomas Tulka

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Junior Software Architect

Let me get this straight, software architect is no job title to me, it's a role. A role assigned to one or more persons in the team.

In my experience, the architectural role is taken very naturally by the most experienced or capable developer with great communication skills. Usually, the best ones from us.

Charisma, respect, and natural authority is a good driver for picking up the right person. The role comes with great responsibility and must be accepted by the whole team to succeed.

The hat could be handed over with the time, there could be different architects for different topics or project slices, and so forth.

Are you with me so far? All right, let's move on.

In some (rare) cases, the role can match the job title. For example, the software architect must step out of the team when dealing with outsourcing or open-source community projects.

But I would still expect great programming skills, a lot of experience, and natural authority, right?

Now, let me tell you a true story.

My company hired a new developer. He had almost no experience, poor technical skill, and, worse, no motivation.

I really enjoy working with juniors. They are eager to learn, have plenty of ideas, and brilliant thinking out of the box. Having juniors in the team is always a big benefit (and fun). I advise organizations to hire more of them. All in all, we all used to be juniors once.

This guy was no junior anymore, but hard skills poorer than most of the coding bootcamp graduates. But the worst thing was, he was bullshiting so much!

His constant lying and excuses made each and every coworker boil blood, and our guy was finally fired. With a lot of drama and emotions, of course.

After several months I saw his profile on LinkedIn. He's got a new job as a Software Architect in an international financial institution.

Wow.

Leaving aside the question of how badly the interview process failed, I have to ask how can anyone with such poor technical skills manage this position for more than a few days?

Maybe, the title Software Architect has nothing to do with actual software architecture. It's just somehow good to have this position in an organization that is facing a digital transformation, but there is no actual need for him to do anything useful.

Create a few PowerPoint slides, skitch some generic diagrams, don't bother the development team, and don't argue with the management. You'll be happy, everybody will be happy. Win-win. An instant recipe for success. Cool!

Alt Text

Everyone knows the sad joke about bad managers to be recruited from good programmers. Has the time come for software architects to be recruited from bad developers?

Is a Junior Software Architect a real thing?

Top comments (3)

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ionutarhire profile image
Arhire Ionut

What is natural authority?

Why do you need charisma? I've seen this argument made elsewhere too and I find it exaggerated. It helps, but surely it's not mandatory right? People should follow you for being good at what you do and being a good communicator.

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ttulka profile image
Tomas Tulka Author

Well, being a good communicator is definitely part of it. Being good in what you do is just not enough if you can’t sell it.

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ttulka profile image
Tomas Tulka Author

Cover photo by Bruno Kelzer

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