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From Developer to Architect (and back again)

From Developer to Architect (and back again)

A year ago I was looking for a job, and ended up taking a job as a "Technical Architect".

But what exactly is a Technical Architect?

Weren't Software Architects a thing in the 90s, cast away when we learnt about Agile?

In this talk I'm going to tell the story of my year as a Technical Architect in government, and hopefully convince you that there is a place for just enough architecture in modern software development.


Matthew Rudy Jacobs

July 05, 2019


  1. From Developer To Architect (and back again) Matthew Rudy Jacobs

    @ BrightonRuby 2019
  2. I'm @MatthewRudy and I'm a Developer

  3. But until a few months ago I was a "Technical

  4. From Developer To Architect (and back again)

  5. Lead Developer of a Unicorn: What next?

  6. Junior Developer -> Developer Developer -> Senior Developer Senior Developer

    -> Lead Developer Lead Developer -> ??????
  7. Engineering Manager? Head of Engineering? CTO?

  8. I became an "Architect"

  9. What is a "Technical Architect"

  10. "A developer who goes to meetings, writes documents, and draws

  11. What do I do all day?

  12. Working in a Castle

  13. Transporting Prisoners

  14. Understanding the Problem

  15. Research and Validation

  16. Sketching Solutions

  17. Firming up the solution

  18. Writing it up

  19. Presenting it

  20. Attending £1bn meetings

  21. Definitely NOT Coding!!!

  22. My Magnum Opus!

  23. Why does Government need Architects?

  24. Government Lacks Technical Skills

  25. but needs to make Technical Decisions all the time

  26. Historically they would call in Consultants 20 x £2000 /

    day for 6 months
  27. At the end, they provide a report: "Buy this £million

    system" (then pay us £10millon more to customise it)
  28. This is happening 100s of times over right now for

  29. Instead, we say

  30. "You don't need this!!!"

  31. "Use Ruby"

  32. "Use Postgres"

  33. "Host it on Github"

  34. "Deploy it to Heroku"

  35. "Here's our Kubernetes Cluster!"

  36. "I will design the system and lead the team to

    build this in house"
  37. In Summary

  38. Architects Save the Government £Millions By making decent Technical Decisions

  39. Architects Save YOU £Millions By making decent Technical Decisions

  40. Does your business need an Architect?

  41. "It Depends"

  42. "Are my Lead Developers already doing Architecture?"

  43. "Would it be better if that's all they did?"

  44. Importantly: Architecture is not the goal its a tool!!

  45. We only want: "Just Enough Architecture"

  46. so...

  47. Why did I go back to Development?

  48. Government is really slow

  49. I like making things

  50. I want to buy a house

  51. Finally

  52. 1 minute of Architecture

  53. "software architecture is the set of significant design decisions about

    how the software is organised"
  54. "it turns a big problem into smaller, more manageable problems"

  55. "it provides a vocabulary for talking about complex ideas"

  56. "it enables agility"

  57. "Just Enough Architecture" no more

  58. https://pragprog.com/book/ mkdsa/design-it

  59. https://c4model.com/

  60. https://fundingcircle.github.io/ fc4-framework/

  61. Thanks!

  62. https://HongKong.CodeConf.io

  63. Find me online: @MatthewRudy