In part two of our interview with Kyle and Ujjval, we learn more about their career journeys, advice they have to offer, and their work as MuleSoft Mentors. Whether you are just getting started in your MuleSoft career or looking to change roles — Kyle and Ujjval java experiences to offer you some guidance in your MuleSoft career.
What were some key career moves you made to become an Enterprise/Integration Architect?
Ujjval: When I started my career in neural sciences associated with machine learning and pattern recognition, I fell into enterprise resource planning (ERP) via SAP consulting services very early into my career. This led me to dive into business process management and associated applications. This set the base for me in the fundamentals of business-process-driven applications and the planning engines associated with it. It further exposed me to a service oriented architecture (SOA) implementation in a packaged application. This was the onset of services and the integrations associated with such services for me.
My mid-career journey with such a matured ERP as SAP, stretched my boundaries for understanding various industries’ IT setup. It also gave me an opportunity to expose myself to complex problem solving. It was almost a decade before I started realizing how I created a foundation for myself as an Enterprise Architect. This helped me choose my path to navigate within the three organizations I have worked for, to reach my goal to become an Enterprise Architect.
Kyle Usher: I had a lot of different opportunities in a variety of different roles (developer, DevOps, Production Support, Team Manager, Solution Architect) which allows me to be a “jack of all trades.” To be an architect of solutions you must be willing to understand more than just your expertise and understanding how the pieces fit into a bigger picture. By being curious, eager to learn more, interact with other teams, and willing to take on new opportunities has enabled me to grow into an architect.
Additionally, as an Integration Architect using MuleSoft, I took training to become a MuleSoft Certified Platform Architect as well as a MuleSoft Certified Developer. Although my current work doesn’t require me to be hands on, I still enjoy and am good at writing code. There is added value when you can understand all of the different pieces of Anypoint Platform. Everything is similar, but different at the same time as each interface is unique.
What advice would you give to someone interested in your role?
Kyle Usher: When starting your career try to work at small and big companies and find what environment fits you. This will also help you gain experience with different methodologies, tools, and processes. In my career I worked at a smaller company where I ran the integration COE — and now at JCI my role focuses on the architecture which I like better as I can stay closer to the technology.
I also recommend caring about data and data mapping as these skills become important in Integration Architect work, especially between systems. Similarly, with the integration space, both sides of the work never seem to agree, so you have to learn skills to work through disagreements and work with both sides to get the project done.
Last bit of advice is to find a mentor that will give you honest feedback and I have many who I would call mentors over my career and they all still provide me with great guidance. As a MuleSoft Mentor, I am working to mentor even more individuals in our field. Check out how you can get involved in this program. At JCI, we are looking to hire for a few new roles, so please reach out to me if you are interested in taking the next step in your career.
Ujjval Tota: As mentioned earlier, the definition of an Enterprise Architect has gotten a bit skewed due to various reasons but primarily because of the misinterpretations of the organisation in defining one. As such, we keep seeing several roles coming up across the world, but when you read the roles and responsibilities of those roles, it’s very surprising to see how skewed they are from the original definitions of an Enterprise Architect. The problem lies in mixing the Solution Architect’s roles with that of an Enterprise Architect’s role. Enterprise Architects are not Solution Architects, but are strategists and custodians.
Let me quote TOGAF in this matter:
“The Definitional Rigor: Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Architect are widely used but poorly defined terms in industry today. They are used to denote a variety of practices and skills applied in a wide variety of architecture domains. There is a need for better classification to enable more implicit understanding of what type of architecture/architect is being described.”
As an Enterprise Architect it’s important to have these skills:
- Clarity in the organization’s business strategy
- Understand the various operating models
- Understand the fundamentals and core aspects of software engineering
- Stakeholder management
- Business value measurement
In conclusion, Enterprise Architecture is an art and you as an EA are an artist. Create it with a passion and find your “element” in the process.
Thank you to Ujjval and Kyle for sharing their career journeys with us! We hope that this provides some guidance and advice for those of you looking to get started on your own MuleSoft journey. Be sure to join the MuleSoft Community to continue networking with other like minded integration practitioners!