Meet our employees: Łukasz Krukowski on the Role of Systems Architect
Whether a given IT project succeeds depends on many factors; among these, the systems architect plays a very special role. A systems architect's work outcomes exert a real impact on all elements of the platform under development. It is up to the systems architect whether the other specialists working on the projects can work effectively – or whether they are doomed to fail.
That is why I asked Łukasz, a systems architect at e-point, to take us behind the scenes and show us what a systems architect really does.
Łukasz, for four years now you’ve been working as a systems architect at e-point. Can you describe your role in one sentence?
A systems architect is the only person that stays engaged all the way through the development process, from the initial agreement to the final rollout.
Exactly what do you do?
My job mainly involves analyzing client needs and designing an application’s architecture and functionalities so that the client can see the benefits as soon as possible. Naturally, meeting clients is vital; this is when we discuss our ideas and decide on the project’s range. On top of that, I’m responsible for task specifications and maintaining the project’s documentation.
One article said that a systems architect is responsible for designing IT systems, supervising the process of their implementation, and ensuring the compliance of these systems with the original assumptions. I believe this is the best way to sum up my activity.
What technical skills do systems architects need?
First and foremost, you need quite an extensive knowledge of the application development process. Start from architecture and design patterns, work through methods of integration, and then on to the practical applications of particular technologies. You also need basic programming skills and a knowledge of databases. It should be noted that a Systems Architect is a person operating on the border between IT and business.
What about the soft skills?
Patience and the ability to listen is very important! A good architect strives to understand the client’s business. The software we create is for the client, so the client's satisfaction is our priority.
Managing stress during public presentations and good negotiation skills are also very helpful. We often work under massive pressure – controlling your temper and keeping calm are vital in those situations.
Did you have any specific motivation for becoming a systems architect? Or did it just happen that way?
I’m into technology, but I also enjoy meeting people. The role of an architect, which combines both of these interests, seemed ideal.
What do you like most about your job?
I’ve always enjoyed creative problem solving, and that is what IT systems are for – to solve a problem or satisfy client needs. When you’re creating an architecture for a new application, there is very little constraint and plenty of room for creativity.
What else is cool about being a systems architect? Are there interesting professional development opportunities in this job?
This role is so extended that every day we can or maybe even have to learn new things. Each client means new standards and expectations. Also, technological novelties, which keep cropping up all the time, require us to grow our knowledge.
Speaking of technologies, what do you use on a daily basis?
It's mainly Java and various relational databases.
What tips can you offer someone wanting to follow in your footsteps and become a systems architect?
A good idea is to start modelling databases and learning about demand engineering. Then try some architecture models, design patterns, integration methods, or security.
Just to wrap up, what is your advice to people pursuing this career path?
It’s paramount that you don't neglect any of architects' fields of expertise - you must simultaneously develop your hard technological knowledge and your soft skills. I recommend taking part in industry meetings that offer access to the experience of other architects and allow you to keep an eye on trends.