How to move from an engineering role to a Solution Architect role?
I recently landed my first cloud architect role, and this is how I did that.
How do you know what the right role for you is?
In my case, I have been working as a Software Engineer for more than 15 years. Also, have a lot of experience in customer engagement, conducting training and demos, infrastructure design, data centre migrations, cloud, and pre-sales related work.
I started to take on more responsibilities outside of coding, and I realized I liked it more, and I’m good at them than coding.
To find out the right role for you, list down what you are currently doing day-to-day or want to do and rate what you like and dislike. Or talk to people who are already in such a role. If you aspire to become a cloud architect, talk to a cloud architect, ask what they do daily, and see if you would like to do similar work.
So I decided that a Solution Architect role is a suitable role for me and the best case is to be a Cloud Architect.
If you are new to the industry and are unsure what you would like to do, try doing several experiments. Spend a couple of weeks building a website, a serverless application, DevOps project, Cloud architect, engineering project. Also, based on your personality, you would know what type of role is a good fit for you.
Ask people who are already doing that role to know what it looks like.
Don’t worry too much. You can always change, so start with something. It’s a two-way-door decision, according to Jeff Bezos.
Next, identify the core skills needed for the role.
You can see a couple of job postings and see the skills employers are looking for.
Below are some examples from job postings:
Ability to articulate complex architectural and technical problems/solutions
Experience architecting/designing solutions built on cloud ideal but not required (AWS, Azure, GCP)
Experience migrating or transforming legacy solutions to the cloud.
Presentation and whiteboarding skills with a high degree of comfort speaking with internal and external executives, IT management, and technical teams.
Communication skills with an ability to right level conversations.
Authoring and reviewing technical design documents, participating in technical design meetings and providing thought leadership and guidance on architecture best practices.
Identify supportive skills needed for the role.
Hands-on cloud engineering, familiar with the console, CLI, Infrastructure as code
Some knowledge about CI/CD
How to master core skills
- Ability to articulate complex architectural and technical problems
Daily problem and solution practice. Find an architectural problem and create an answer for it. And then record the answer and fix mistakes until it becomes flawless.
Read AWS blog, Whitepapers.
2. System design
Read Martin Kleppmann book Designing Data Intense Applications
Do Grokking the System Design Interview in educative.io
3. Experience architecting/designing solutions built on cloud ideal but not required (AWS, Azure, GCP). Learn about best practices.
You can do some online courses to gain these skills. I did Adrian Cantrill, KnowledgeIndia courses. You have to build, document your solutions and explain them to someone to be clear and confident about them.
3. Experience migrating or transforming legacy solutions to the cloud.
You can think of a system you are familiar with in your current organization and design a solution to migrate that to the cloud.
Also, you can follow AWS migration workshops.
And read about migration guidelines from the AWS blog.
4. Presentation and communication skills
Start practising these skills in your current role. Find opportunities to present, and talk in meetings. Find Cloud meetups in your town and do a presentation. Start your YouTube channel.
Spend some time learning about the supporting skills as well.
- Hands-on cloud engineering
Do an AWS hands-on training
2. Hands-on CI/CD
Do an Udemy course
This is just a template, and you have to do your research and come up with one that works for you.
Just Jo It
Now you have to fix a minimum of 2–3 hours a day and do focus work. Check my article.
Certifications are important to get noticed and to get an interview. Certification doesn’t get you jobs, but it helps get the interviews.
Do your research and understand how to write an effective resume. Customize your resume for each job based on the job description.
Write your experience in the comments so others can benefit from it.