I was asked via Steam Chat today from a close friend of mine "Where can I get some decent RIA work.." to which I had a fumbled reply (weakness here for our RIA community). It was a great question and something I've often thought about in terms of how our RIA communities from both Adobe and Microsoft work (another post).
Later that chat..
We got onto talking, and I should clarify that Grae is quite an exceptionally talented RIA Producer. He can both code and design with the best of them and I wish I could clone 50 more of him.
The biggest problem Grae faced was how to position himself that reflected on his capabilities and passion. His talent is never questioned, his approach is. In that he'll do what I used to do, join a team, begin building a product/solution and somewhere along the line hit a point of frustration. Then one starts to consider exit strategies.
The real problem for Grae is that he's taken roles that are either designer or developer, never really in the middle. To not only emphasis his pain points, he's also one of the guys in the team that can see all the angles from end to end thus frustration creeps in.
As he can see weak points in the code or design starting to arise and he wants to fix them, in fact he knows how to fix them but can't quite get the message across. As the moment he does, folks feel he's encroaching on their patch and can at times get defensive.
Here is where we need to all say this out loud. Grae, you're a RIA Architect.
The downside for folks like Grae is that software teams aren't acknowledging this position as well as they should. The ones that do, I feel are the ones whom are capable of shipping tomorrow.
I think it's high time we acknowledge this out loud and proud as you can spot the good RIA Architects of today. Just look at their resume and see the patterns that emerge. Usually they flip flop between design and developer and don't spend large periods of time in the one position.
Do not punish them for this, in fact pounce on them and give them a role that is in the form of software leadership, as trust me you will thank me for it in the long run.
Here's what Grae stated after I made him say "I'm a RIA Architect" out loud and proud:
seven: it wasn't until you said it then seven: and I said it back seven: that I realised actively what the source of my frustration was seven: taking positions where I couldn't enact required change seven: because no matter how high my role in the creative realm seven: I didn't have enough authority seven: and profitable RIA/Interactive requires a solid blend of creative, production and tech seven: even CD can't really kick tech ass seven: and works under an EP to deal with producers
If anyone needs a quality RIA Architect, give Grae a call/email. firstname.lastname@example.org