Nathaniel Schutta on succeeding as a software architect

The O’Reilly Programming Podcast: The skills needed to make the move from developer to architect.

By Jeff Bleiel
November 16, 2017
Castle Hedingham, chancel east wheel window Castle Hedingham, chancel east wheel window (source: Acabashi on Wikimedia Commons)

In this episode of the O’Reilly Programming Podcast, I talk with Nathaniel Schutta, a solutions architect at Pivotal, and presenter of the video I’m a Software Architect, Now What?. He will be giving a presentation titled Thinking Architecturally at the 2018 O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference, February 25-28, 2018, in New York City.

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  • How Schutta sees the role of the software architect: “I like to say that as architects, we’re like the Rosetta Stone of an organization,” he says. “We’re the ones playing the translation game between the development side, the management side, and the business side. We have to be able to fit comfortably between those groups.”

  • On the challenges in moving from being a software developer to becoming a software architect: “As developers, we’re largely insulated from much of the politics of the organization,” Schutta says. “As an architect, you have to craft your message for many different audiences, and take the core central idea and spin that yarn so it resonates for all these groups.”  

  • The “soft skills” that are needed to succeed in the architect role, including communications, leadership ability, self-promotion, and investing in personal relationships.

  • How to “think architecturally”: “As developers, we have this tendency to chase the shiny new thing, but as an architect, we can’t afford to do that,” Schutta says. “The decisions we make have long-lasting impact, so architects have to be thinking about trade-offs.”

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