SOA architects in high demand

The real challenge is to get SOA architects who are actually SOA architects.

So, you think times are bad, but not for those who get SOA. If you're a qualified SOA architect, you're in high demand now, or that is according to Joe McKendrick's recent post, sighting some recent data that was just published.

"Demand for SOA-related skills is hot, and getting hotter among organizations."

"In particular, organizations are hungry for the skills of SOA architects that know how to align SOA-enabling technologies with business requirements and culture."

You don't have to sell me on this; I've been getting a call a week from a headhunter looking for good SOA architect. Moreover, I've been watching, and the number of SOA architects openings have increased tenfold in the last 6 months. Typically it's consulting firms and the Global 2000 that are looking for SOA talent, but I'm also seeing searches under way by government agencies and nonprofits as well.

Why now, and why so much demand? It's really a matter of maturation of the market; indeed, I saw the same thing in the EAI days. The initial interest in SOA was around innovative early adopters who while read a lot, did internal presentations, and went to conferences -- really did not do much around true architecture. Then, SOA was increasingly picked up by mainstream IT who placed the SOA concepts into funded projects, typically doing some experimentation…dipping a toe in. Now, there are fully funded larger scale project that require some SOA talent that many organizations don't have. In essence, business is getting serious around SOA, and the demand for SOA architects is outpacing the supply. According to Joe's post, there are 5 positions chasing one candidate out there.

The real challenge is to get SOA architects who are actually SOA architects. I see and hear a lot of people out there who talk a good game but really don't understand the first thing about the application of the core concepts of SOA. Thus, my fear is that many organizations in a rush to find SOA talent may find that they hired architects who led them down the wrong path; perhaps not considering the business; leaning too much on technology, or worse, "managing by magazine;" or chasing the hype, not the needs of the business.

Good SOA architects typically include the following:

  • Can speak the language of business and IT.
  • Understand how to work with complex technologies in challenging environments.
  • Can drive towards a strategy through effective tactical implementations.
  • Are experts in the available SOA technologies, and SOA best practices.
  • Are able to work effectively with the resources they are given.

Good luck to those looking for SOA architects, and those SOA architects looking for jobs. Sounds like you need to find each other.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.