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Currently I'm a software engineer at my company. We've been using ASP classic for a while and in our search for improvement we as a department have been striving to make a switch to C# ASP.NET.

I overheard my manager talking about architectures and told him I'd like to assist since I already had some knowledge about it. So I was assigned as the one who did the research towards architecture and how to support our department in an orderly fashion as we grow.

This was important as the current switch in languages is more than just the language itself but also the methodology.

As I kept researching I seem to have kindled a passion towards architecture and how this can be combined within the software development environment. So I wish to develop myself within the next several years towards becoming a software architect.

Currently my company has a lot of developers but hassn't matured enough to expand towards other jobs such as architects, business analysts, etc. However they still wish to know more and develop the company in a more orderly and mature fashion.

So to summarise. How do I grow from a software engineer position towards a software architect position in a company that doesn't know software architects?

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    Well, become the change you want to see. Do you need to be called an architect? Is it connected to salary? Look into devops and when you want to convince management then focus on the monetary gain aspect of it. Automatic builds = less manual error = money saved. Test = less errors goes into production = less costly to fix errors = money saved. You get the idea.. Feb 22 '17 at 14:09
  • @ErikBergstedt I'd want to be called an architect as it is indeed connected to salary. Maybe not directly at this company, but if I were to ever switch to a different company it'd be much easier. But I understand, if I want to prove myself, I'd need to show it in numbers. preferably monetary numbers. However as I'm still inexperienced in the topics at hand, it'd be hard to find these places where money can be saved. Especially since architecture is a rather vague topic.
    – Migz
    Feb 22 '17 at 14:16
  • I understand. Then you can simply market yourself as an architect at that new company.. fake it until you make it - really, that is the truth of it. Do you feel like an architect? Then you are. Words, labels, it's all malleable, everything is contextual and relative to the person you want to convince. You can convince your manager than an 'architect' is someone who simply knows devops. "Devops" is just as vague as "architecture". Regarding money saved: time saved = money saved. Find places where time can be saved, try to fix them, convince people in power of fixing them. Feb 22 '17 at 14:21
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    Want to be a Software Architect? Just start acting like one. Sometimes responsibilities are there for whoever wants to grab them. Don't be so concerned about titles and focus on the practice. When the opportunity comes you can just say "that is what I have been doing for ages!" and 'officially' become one.
    – angarg12
    Feb 23 '17 at 8:04
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The bottom line in these situations is always money. And not just considerations such as what they pay you, but whether they're getting a bang for their buck as far as your output is concerned.

Software architecture is quite awesome, but the reality is that most companies do not have the processes and staff in place to hire a full time architect whose job is to simply refine their software and tools.

And the changes needed to get to that point require a lot of $$$ and institutional changes (for example hiring testers, and getting used to the fact that development will take longer because you need to much more thoroughly test their work, etc.).

Convincing a company that doesn't have these things in place that they should invest in them is very difficult - at least in the short term. Even if they agree with you it might be years before they can afford to place you exclusively in that position.

What most companies really feel they need is a stable and efficient enough environment such that their devs pump out decent quality software at a pretty good pace.

In other words, if you really want to get into software engineering, get whatever experience you can get out of this job, maybe take some kind of certification course in your spare time, and find a company which already has that role in their organization.

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Show your boss that the need exists and that you would save/generate more money for the company in that role than in your current one. Convince him that it seems that its in his interest (not just the company's) to spend the department's scarce resources, at this time, on meeting that need.

(That last one may be difficult. You may need to sell this idea higher up the management chain.)

Or grow into the role on your own time, then go to management with endorsements from those whom it has helped and suggest they make it official.

Or go interviewing for that position elsewhere.

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Take the initiative and start doing it. Ask for permission to start implementing your changes, and then do so.

They may not understand the concept, but they will understand quantifiable benefits. I started my IT career by making myself the desktop support person for our location. Just step into the role, but get permission first.

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