Leveling Up Your Architecture Game

The role of software architects is constantly evolving, and staying ahead of the curve requires key skills like decision-making, communication, and the ability to adapt to changing environments. 

In this talk, we'll explore how innovative architects are leveling up and thriving in today's fast-paced tech landscape. 

You'll discover how good communication and collaboration with teams is essential to the success of the architect role, and how architecting is truly a team effort.

What's the focus of your work these days?

I work at Blackbaud, which is the leading software provider for the social good community. I know some people aren't familiar with the name, but since this is for QCon London in the UK you've probably heard of Just Giving. That's one of our brands. I'm one of several application architects that work on the next generation of Blackbaud's flagship financial and accounting platform for nonprofits.

What's the motivation for your talk at QCon London 2023?

The role of software architect has never really been clearly defined, and it means different things to a lot of people and at different companies. That leads to confusion over what is expected from architects and just practicing architecture. So I want to focus on the fundamental skills that are required to do architecture well. That's things like communication, decision making and leadership. If we understand those core fundamental skills, we can apply them to any situation that comes up and that leads to better software.

How would you describe your main persona and target audience for this session?

One thing I want to establish is that architecture is not only for architects. You don't have to have an architect's job title. I want to provide advice that anyone–from a developer to an architect–if you're working on software, I want them to get information that they can take back to improve how they design and build software. From small little decisions to big enterprise wide decisions.

Is there anything specific that you'd like people to walk away with after watching your session?

I think seeing that software architecture is almost a team sport, that it takes a lot of people being involved. It's not just the one architect up in the ivory tower anymore. Then, because of all that interaction, you have to improve communication. That's a fundamental skill we always see on a job description, like “good written and oral communication skills.” That's really important, especially if you are going to be good at architecture and building good software.

What's something interesting that you've learned from the previous QCon?

The thing that I've been most surprised by, the sessions that have been about remote work. That was just before the pandemic in QCon London 2020, and there's been several after the pandemic when people were scattered, really. I always expect great technical presentations from QCon. Those talks that are more people-focused are some of the unexpected gems. So not just the hybrid remote work, but also things like the Staff+ engineer track, like how do you make yourself a better person in the software development community?  


Thomas Betts

Laureate Application Architect @Blackbaud, Lead Editor for Architecture & Design @InfoQ

Thomas Betts is the Lead Editor for Architecture and Design at InfoQ, a co-host of the InfoQ Podcast, and a Laureate Software Architect at Blackbaud. For over two decades, his focus has always been on providing software solutions that delight his customers. He has worked in a variety of industries, including social good, retail, finance, health care, defense and travel. Thomas lives in Denver with his wife and son, and they love hiking and otherwise exploring beautiful Colorado.

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    Tuesday Mar 28 / 01:40PM BST ( 50 minutes )


    Fleming (3rd Fl.)


    architecture communication collaboration best practices


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