SATURN 2015 Keynote: It’s Good to Be Architect (Session Notes)

Gregor Hohpe, Allianz

by Jacob Tate, Mount St. Mary’s University

Wednesday’s keynote speaker was Gregor Hohpe, who is the Chief IT Architect with Allianz. He delivered an information-packed presentation on why exactly it is good to be an architect.

Hohpe guided the crowd through several amusing examples to demonstrate the difference between design and architecture. Architecture necessitates deliberate decisions with logical reasoning behind them that can be explicitly explained. Hohpe gave multiple practical analogies to help us grasp that architecture is neither good nor bad, but rather it is fit or unfit for the purpose. Among these analogies were architects as gardeners or tour guides and the highly applicable metaphor that a company is a building, and the architect has to ride the elevator. This is a clever and memorable way of demonstrating that architects must communicate with upper management as well as get their hands dirty with the code.

Successful architects are skilled, they make an impact, and they are good leaders who can foster the growth of the architectural field. Being able to ask and listen, being able to write and draw, and understanding how to bridge communication gaps are all necessary skills for an architect. They are also very rare skills, which makes someone who possesses them a hot commodity. Companies work to have a culture that promotes the work of architects and treats them well. If you have these skills and you can tell when a company is not going to treat you as a second-class citizen, it is in fact good to be an architect.

You can tweet your question or comments @ghohpe and make sure to follow the conference on twitter @SATURN_news with the hashtag #SATURN2015.

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