About Peter Campbell
Peter Campbell is the CTO of our Digital Services division at Kainos currently focused on delivering digital public services to UK citizens. Peter is passionate about making things work better, and in his spare time, cycling.
Job application and interview processes can be long and difficult. It’s really tricky to know what an employer is looking for or whether they meet your expectations. Job descriptions try to explain a role but often don’t reveal much about the selection criteria for candidates. How brilliant would it be if employers told you what their criteria was from the beginning?
Here at Kainos, our multi-disciplinary teams develop software supporting digital transformation. Teams get to work on creating and building large-scale digital services and products that are transforming citizen and user experiences.
We like (software) architects to work within our teams, guiding them to make the right design and technology choices as they build a software product. We look for our architects to inspire and influence those around them not just in how they work, but how they grow and learn. We trust our architects to make important decisions so it’s important we hire those who will make good ones.
But we have been finding it really difficult to find the right type of architect to match our growth. We think openness and transparency about what we are looking for could help with this.
What do we mean by “Architect”?
An architect (in the software sense) is a dedicated role that requires breadth to understand how different elements work best together. It also needs a depth of understanding of code, components and products. This is why our architects are engineer-architects not process-architects or ivory-tower-architects.
Architect and architecture have no consistent industry definition. When we say “architect” we mean someone who is responsible for making decisions about software design. Rory said it well,
An Architect is someone with sufficient experience to make decisions and guide others in the right direction, balancing dogmatism and pragmatism, know that they don’t know everything, understand that they have more they can learn, and above all else understand how they can use experience and knowledge to guide their decision making.
We scope the decision-making of architects at three different levels,
This forms the core of our architect roles. There are of course additional responsibilities that Technical Architects, Solution Architects and Principal Architects will have — these are described in the job descriptions. The point of this article isn’t to describe these roles but instead to focus on the characteristics of the architects we want to hire.
Who are we searching for?
Our search is for individuals who have the right experience and a similar mindset to us when building software. However, someone with all the right technical experience but who can’t work within our teams is a bad fit. It is important that we find those who care about building software that is well-considered, tested and meets user needs.
Specifically we are searching for those who are,
Things we’re flexible about
Many of the characteristics we’re looking for are more about an architect’s mindset that are evidenced through recent experience. This might seem like a high bar: it isn’t as simple as just finding people with experience of x and y technologies for z years.
However, there are some things that we are flexible about.