Program Manager to Architect transition? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have been a Program Manager for 5 years now, before that 3 years as a project manager. This is all of my career. My usually work days is made up of writing functional specification, or solving communication issues. I don't have experience of writing a line of code except for recreational purposed. But I work very closely with the developer's team in my current role.

    Is there a way I can become a .Net architect? If so how? Is there certificate to gain or what exactly is the things I would need.

    You may want to ask me why the change? I am facing a practical issue here, being separated with my wife geographically. There is not much of a market is her country for Program Managers. But I do see a lot of openings for .Net architects.

    Thanks in advance for your kind answers.

    - Pulped

    Thursday, May 17, 2012 1:34 PM

All replies

  • The short answer is yes, you could make the move to being an architect, but the difficulty will depend on what you mean by the term.

    First off, let's clarify terms - there are a lot of different job roles that companies call "architect", and they typically work in layers from the most general to the most specific. The Enterprise Architect is the most general, and typically manages the structure of an entire solution (including hardware, software, networking components, etc.). Just below them is the architect who designs the software solution, which may include data modeling, service endpoint definitions, third party tools and libraries and the interactions with them, etc.. Next is the Technical Lead, who is also sometimes called an architect. The technical lead makes the lower level decisions about the structure of the application - things like which architectural patterns to use, what ORMs will fit, logging frameworks, and other technology-specific decisions.

    I think your easiest transition would be into the middle category. You would need a high level of technical understanding - in particular, you'll probably need to understand good database design, SOA and other large-scale architectures, implications of web vs desktop vs mobile, things like that. Once you have that basis, though, a large part of the job is taking business requirements and choosing the best solutions to accomplish them - probably working very closely with Program/Product and Project Managers. 

    Enterprise Architects typically fall just below executives, and they need quite a bit of experience in either IT or as a mid-level architect to qualify. Technical leads have to have an intimate understanding of the development platforms they're working with, and usually have to have a lot of experience with that platform to be able to make the decisions they have to make. A mid-level architect could be a feasible role if you have management, organizational, project planning, and business requirement experience.

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    • Marked as answer by ribbonfish Friday, May 18, 2012 1:24 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by ribbonfish Friday, May 18, 2012 4:47 PM
    • Proposed as answer by Ashwini47 Sunday, May 20, 2012 11:05 AM
    Thursday, May 17, 2012 3:17 PM
  • Thanks Tim for the answer. 

    Any one else has any thing to say?

    - Pulped

    Friday, May 18, 2012 1:25 PM
  • I Do agree with Tim 
    Sunday, May 20, 2012 11:05 AM