I’ve been at Lumigo for 6 weeks now, and it’s been an eye-opening experience on a personal level. Though there wasn’t much opportunity at Workday for coding on a daily basis, I didn’t realize how much my coding skills had atrophied in only 18 months.

"Non-coding" Architect

I’ve always told myself I never wanted to be an Ivory Tower Architect, and even more so an architect who doesn’t code. If you’re not in the trenches with the rest of the team on a regular basis, how can you possibly know what’s going on? And more importantly, how will you achieve buy-in for any changes if you’re not feeling their pain with them?

While reflecting on this realization, I thought back to the blog Charity Majors wrote on ARCHITECTS, ANTI-PATTERNS, AND ORGANIZATIONAL FUCKERY in March. Charity stated: The role itself can also be one that does not set up the people who hold it for a successful career in the long run, if they are not careful. It can be a one-way street to being obsolete. That’s exactly what I felt, I was becoming obsolete.

How do I do this again?

In the many years of being a software engineer, this was my biggest fear, losing the ability to code! Those first couple of weeks at Lumigo were really tough. It really kicked my imposter syndrome into high gear!

I experienced everything from: How do you create a Helm chart? How do I use kubectl? And many more problems doing tasks that 18 months ago I wouldn’t have to think about. I knew it, and I did it.

I can’t give enough thanks to everyone at Lumigo for being patient with me as I began my ramp-up with them. As the weeks have continued, remembering how to do these every day tasks has come back bit by bit. It’s a very humbling experience to realize that the ability to code is most definitely a perishable skill! Like with any muscle, if it’s not used frequently enough it atrophies.

I love coding!

I would be lying if I said I’m completely back to where I was 18 months ago, but I’m getting there more and more every day. I’m extremely lucky to have been given this opportunity to get back into the trenches and code again. On a personal level, I’ve realized coding is something I truly love doing, and I’m not ready to give it up just yet.

That’s not to say I did’t enjoy the other aspects of being an architect, but not at the expense of giving up the time I spend coding.

The future with Lumigo

I’m really excited about the future with Lumigo. There are so many interesting problems to solve, and it’s definitely exciting to be at a startup again. I’m also enjoying being back in the OpenTelemetry Java community again, and in time I will also be contributing to open source too.

Though my current title is OpenTelemetry Architect, the role is focused on building out the SDKs for OpenTelemetry, and ensuring developers have a great experience using them. I don’t expect my new role to fall into the Ivory Tower Architect anti-pattern, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on it.