The importance of continual learning

James McGovern responded to my Certified Architect

post with one of his own. He made a great point at the end of his entry which was something I wanted to discuss in my original post but didn’t find a way to work it in. He stated:

I guess the point that I am attempting to make is that certifications are neither good nor bad, and it is important to look at each within the context of the role you expect this individual to play. It is my belief that certifications don’t prove hands on skills at all, but having multiple at least says that there is evidence as an Enterprise Architect that you have the ability to learn as well as the desire…

Personally, I think the ability to learn, and learn quickly, is a critical skill for an architect. While some may think that architects spend all of their time up in clouds working on strategies and reference architectures, many of the architects I know are the go-to people when projects are struggling with decisions and direction. An architect needs to be able to quickly understand what it is that project is trying to do, determine what the most critical factors are, and provide appropriate guidance. At other times, it may not be the tactical project, but rather the senior executive asking the question, “should we be paying attention to any of this Web 2.0 and Social Networking hype?” The architect must quickly develop enough knowledge to make good decisions. Probably all architects will get stung at some point by some lower-level detail, but the good architects probably also take it in stride because they’re always learning.

When I interview people, I always ask a question about how the individual stays current, and it’s amazing how many people struggle with that question. If you’re not taking the time to learn, you’ll get left behind. I hope the readers of this blog learn things, and that’s a big reason why I do it. It’s even better when I get comments, links, or trackbacks, because I’m able to learn as well.

Leave a Reply


This blog represents my own personal views, and not those of my employer or any third party. Any use of the material in articles, whitepapers, blogs, etc. must be attributed to me alone without any reference to my employer. Use of my employers name is NOT authorized.