Enterprise Initiatives

This blog focuses on Enterprise IT topics such as Enterprise Architecture, Portfolio Management, Change Management, Business Process Management, and recaps various technology events and news.

I have read and posted several articles about the many business and IT benefits of SOA. I haven't seen much talk about the benefits it creates for the individuals within IT. This article focuses on the potential career path opportunities that a Service Oriented Architecture can create.

Many IT shops that do not have a well defined architecture have a limited career path for those folks who want to stay technical and not go into management. There are typically a few levels of development (programmer, programmer/analyst, sr. programmer, etc.) followed by an architect role. There is only room for a few architects so most people with over 10 years of experience get stuck in the sr. programmer role for long periods of time. People stuck in this role tend to do one of the following:

1) Go into management soley for the purpose of getting promoted. Many of them return to development, leave, or do not perform at previous levels.

2) Leave due to lack of opportunity.

3) Become miserable and unmotivated

Enter SOA. Companies moving towards SOA may develop a layered architecture like the one in the following picture:

Within each layer you can see specialized roles and job responsibilities. Some of the roles (DBA & Configuration Management) will likely already exist in your organization. Some of the others may be new or the job responsibilities may change dramatically. The point here is that for those organizations with many talented IT professionals who are stuck at a dead end technical career path, SOA might be the answer to your prayers.

Some of these roles (Process Analyst and Enterprise Architect) are best suited for technical folks with great communication skills. These people will interact often with the business. For those who would rather not be exposed to the business, there are many other roles for you (Configuration Management, Object Librarian, Information Architect, etc.). Your more junior developers or people who prefer web development can live in the presentation layer. They will be extremely productive since most of the business rules and services will be available for them to assemble into the UI's. The folks who just love to bang out code can live in the business rule layer where they can develop components and services. The more seasoned developers will build enterprise components and services (i.e. encryption, authentication, error handling, etc.) while the others can focus on application specific components and services (i.e. create order, print invoice, etc.) .

Most IT shops will have pockets of people who don't like change. They may not be interested in these new roles. Those folks can focus on maintaining the legacy systems.

In summary, SOA has many benefits. For IT professionals, many new roles will be created and your company's IT career path will most likely be extended. Over the next few years, more companies will be moving towards SOA and the demand for SOA professionals will be great. So embrace SOA if your company is implementing it. SOA will create many opportunities for those who take advantage of it.


  1. Jordan Haberfield  

    While I think it can be difficult to compartmentalize IT titles and roles, you make a good observation. As for seeing more chatter on the benefits of SOA for the individual, I welcome you to read my blog (www.agile-elephant.com). Happy holiday.

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