How I Became An Architect
11 Jul 2021 » Opinion
This post is going to be very different from those I usually write. Instead of talking about Adobe technology or related topics, today I want to explain how I became an architect in the Adobe consulting organisation. This came as a suggestion from a colleague, in case others would like to follow the same path.
Early days in consulting
I do not think I need to explain that the first tool I worked with was Adobe Analytics. It is the tool that I have written more about. I had worked with this tool in my previous job and, naturally, it became the area I worked on when I joined Adobe in 2012. As a side note, I have to admit that this move was one of the best decisions in my life.
During this period, I worked mainly as a technical consultant. One year after I joined, I was already considered a subject matter expert. On the other hand, I did not know anything about other tools. One of my colleagues, who sat next to me, was a Target consultant, and I did not even understand what Target was about. To me, the Adobe world was only about Analytics.
Looking back in time, this is not a good attitude to become an architect. At that time, I was nowhere near that job description.
The next step in this story happened in September 2014. After I came back from my holidays, my then manager told me to book tickets to New York, as I was going to get trained on Adobe Audience Manager. Adobe had acquired Demdex and it was finally expanding beyond the USA. There was a need for more people trained on the tool and I was chosen for an ad-hoc training. I remember I only understood half of the explanations.
The first meeting with my first AAM customer did not go very well. However, I soon started to get the hang of it. In 2015, I was working full time as an Audience Manager consultant. That meant that, at the time, I had 2 skills in my belt, and I had finally understood Target. At this point, I was a multi-solution practitioner, although that name was only coined a few years later.
At another meeting with a high-profile customer, I had to present a holistic view of the solution we were proposing. My manager was there with me and she said that I was probably the only person who understood the full Adobe SaaS stack. In hindsight, this was probably the first time I was heading to the architect role, although I did not know it at the time.
Moving to the architect role
By 2016, our customers’ setup had become more complex than ever and there was a need for an architect role. An Adobe-internal training was specifically created to address this need. I was invited to the first edition and it became the 2nd best experience I have ever had at Adobe. Before I finished the training, I started working as a Multi-Solution Architect and I was already training others.
As with the transition from Analytics to Audience Manager, in 2017 I finished all my single solution engagements and I became a full-time architect. Since then, I have worked with most of the Adobe Experience Cloud tools.
There is one final step, which is sometimes the most difficult. While we architects typically come from a technical background, we must embrace the business side. I would even say that, to be a good architect, we need to be as proficient with business as with technology. As I have explained a couple of times, there is a big disconnect between these two worlds. In my experience, the person that can help bridge the gap is the architect. And, if you are good at it, people will love you.
Want to become an Adobe architect?
There is no default path for the Adobe architect role. Each of the Adobe consultants has followed a different path. If you are a consultant in a systems integrator, you should look for the options your company offers.
That being said, from my own experience, the best thing you can do is first get experience in more than one Adobe tool. Then, start working on the integrations, which bring additional capabilities with little extra cost. Finally, take the next opportunity you see to work as an architect full-time. I know it requires time, but you want to be a good one, right? :-).