Paul McGrath


You May Not Need an Architect

Photo by Tobias Keller on Unsplash.

“Architect” is a status symbol in tech.

Many of us tend to conjure thoughts of developers capable of understanding, managing, and eliminating impossible complexity, while still finding time to poke holes in your pull request’s business logic.

By putting these real or fictional beings on a pedestal, however, we enter into an unintentional us-and-them power dynamic, effectively muting our valid thoughts, questions, and proposals in favour of those who may know more.

This form of thinking tends to eliminate individual agency, and is one I believe we would do well without.

A Better Path

In order to grow as developers we must be challenged, ideally by progressively confronting more difficult problems, and overcoming them, usually with some assistance.

This assistance is important, because it does not outsource the problem solving entirely to an “Architect”; instead it provides a useful nudge in the right direction, allowing you to see through the problem to a viable solution.

Developing your skill-set in this manner builds effective self-confidence in your abilities, and contributes to a knowledge bank of solved problems which you may draw on when the going gets tough.

My personal motto for this is “Seek Mentors, Not Architects”, as the former will grow your career, whereas the latter will not.

If you find yourself in this position, and you don’t have the benefit of a mentor to provide assistance, then a few useful books to begin shifting your mindset are as follows:

Most importantly, have faith in yourself, and find hard problems to solve.