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This article was published on March 15, 2022

The most important skill for enterprise architects may surprise you: Communication

More talking than coding


A common view of developers and other tech folks is they’re anti-social. In other words, people who prefer to work alone with their headphones and avoid speaking to others at all costs.

While this stereotype doesn’t hold true for most programmers, it’s especially wrong for IT architects, a profession that relies heavily on communication.

“My work consists of talking, making some notes, doing some sketches, and more talking,” explains Lotje Meijknecht.

She works as an IT architect for the Dutch government, and tackles large-scale projects for various departments.

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A key part of the enterprise architect’s role is not just to create a design but to convince other stakeholders of that design — project managers, executives, developers, and policymakers.

Depending on who you’re talking to, the message and form of communication change. While a CIO just needs a quick overview, a project manager will want to know about costs and resources.

“Basically, I’m telling the same story in a million different ways,” adds Meijknecht.

Enterprise architects look at information technology systems within an organization. “Are they connected properly? Are they scalable? Are they safe and effective, or do we need to improve them?”

In a world that’s increasingly digital — with technology that’s constantly evolving — those are important questions for every large organization.

“Some of our systems are 30 years old, but we also keep adopting new ones. The only way to make that work is ensuring these technologies can talk to each other,” concludes Meijknecht.

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