Java guru Venkat Subramaniam spoke in his keynote at the Devoxx developers conference about the ‘Qualities of a highly effective architect’. How can we become better at what we do as software architects? We noted a number of tips to remember.
Subramaniam emphasises that a good architect is always a good team leader. “Be a mentor, not a tormentor,” says Venkat Subramaniam. In other words, don't forget that everyone has to learn and ensure that you facilitate and encourage this learning process. This also makes you open to other possibilities and ideas and a project won't be limited by your own experience from previous projects. Every project is different and, moreover, situations and possibilities change and evolve.
Better results by sharing knowledge
Strong teamwork also clearly involves being open and sharing knowledge. This is moreover a win-win situation. “Knowledge is a wealth that grows when given,” says Venkat Subramaniam. By sharing knowledge, everyone can grow. In the same spirit, he also gives the advice that criticism should not be directed at people but only at ideas. This way you help a project to progress much more constructively and arrive at solutions much faster.
Go for collective ownership of the code
Developers are sometimes too protective about their ‘own’ code, although you can achieve much better results by collaborating with colleagues on the code. This way you also avoid problems if a developer can suddenly no longer work due to an accident or illness. For this reason, Subramaniam argues for shared ownership of the code.
Although Venkat discussed the qualities of an architect, many of his ideas can also be applied to growing as a developer. For example, he talked about the fact that architects themselves should continue to program and about the usefulness of making prototypes. With prototypes you can first test new technologies before deciding whether to actually use them.
This also applies to what we learned at Devoxx. We learned about the latest technologies, but in order to really make use of them we have to actually work with them. So for instance, one of our Cheops developers attended an introductory course on the Kafka streaming technology. To see if this would be of interest to our customers, we will first have to create a proof of concept.
Whatever happens, by sampling new technologies and by attending inspiring keynotes at Devoxx, we are putting Venkat Subramaniam's final piece of advice into practice: stay curious and keep on developing your knowledge. At Cheops we think it's important to always be up to date with the latest developments. So we can use IT in the best way possible to support innovation for our customers.
View Venkat Subramaniam's full keynote here.