May 19, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday to Me

Filed under: adminstration,architecture,blogging — jonEbird @ 9:34 pm

A little play on blog titles going on here. Today I enter a new chapter in my career as I accept the Linux and Unix Architect role at Nationwide. I originally applied for the position back in February and I had hoped to land the position on my birthday in April, but the process was delayed for uncontrollable reasons. I like to be able work towards a work promotion as a birthday present for myself. In recognition for all the hard work just like four years ago when I congratulated myself in achieving Senior Systems Administrator.

I have been preparing for this position for the last few years and yet in some respects it feels like I don’t know what I’m entering. That might terrify some people but it is this very fact that most energizes me. The last time I felt this way I was transitioning from a purely development role into Administration. At the time, my high school friend Cory Sanders encouraged me in saying, “You’ll do fine.” I’ve received the same kind of encouragement recently and I appreciate the support. I’m energized about this opportunity because I will be learning so much. When I switched over to System Administration I spend hours studying admin books while my wife (then girlfriend) was working at Tim Horton’s. Fueled by coffee and donuts I climbed the learning curve as fast as I could.

My best description of a Architect is someone who leverages their broad technical experience in helping the business make decisions in what to pursue, where to invest and ultimately where to focus further development. I have always had a great deal of success in influencing people outside of my control but I plan to study that art in the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. I am currently learning about personalties via Personality Plus. Somewhere in the middle of those books, I’ve already borrowed The New Rational Manager where I hope to gain a better systematic approach to problem resolution. I already consider my troubleshooting skills to be very good but I was impressed in how, now fellow, Architects were able to keep a room full of people technicians focused on the resolution in such a organized manor.

Beyond the academic focus, this new position is largely about building relationships. I need to devote time with teams and individuals at lunch, over coffee and in the hallways. They need to be comfortable coming to me with their problems and I need them to be receptive to directions I set for them. This will be the “easy” part of the job. As a person of a Peaceful Phlegmatic personality disposition building relationships is naturally easy.

Finally, I hope to largely increase my business acumen as the next Linux and Unix Architect. I am looking forward to having strategic conversations with our business partners such as RedHat, HP, Sun Oracle, Novell, IBM, Veritas and many more. I expect to be working closer with existing management on budgetary decisions. Frankly, I am struggling to enumerate further business categories for which I should be focusing on which underscores my ignorance in the field. I have had a subscription to Entrepreneur Magazine for nearly a year, watch business videos online from Stanford University and try to participate in local TechColumbus networking and business related activities. I will look for any further opportunities that present themselves to me and take it from there.

When I started mentoring with our previous Architect, I told him my goal was to take his job, “…but don’t worry, I want you to move on to bigger and better work first.” I need those kind of goals to keep me motivated. This next goal will be quite lofty and I have no idea how or when I might achieve it, but the next position I am setting my sights on is CTO. I have a feeling it’s going to be longer than four years from now that I’ll be able to write that blog post.

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