A day in the life of a Solution Architect

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Hi! My name is Kris Van Vlaenderen, and I’m a managing partner and one of the founders of Cymo. We started Cymo a year and a half ago because of our experience in Event-Driven Architecture. I’ve been working as a Solution Architect for a couple of years now, and I love the variation that the job brings. Read on to find out more about what it’s like to work as a Solution Architect for Cymo!

Before I get into my daily life, let me explain a bit about what makes Cymo special to work at as a company. We’re a small team, so there is a lot of knowledge sharing and opportunities to help shape the future of the company. We strongly believe in an open company culture, so you’ll encounter no boundaries between management and our other employees here.

Cymo is also unique in its approach: we specialise in Event-Driven Architecture implementations and managed services, both as a service and a product. Our collective niche experience and expertise make us the preferred partner in Belgium and Europe as a whole. Being focused on Event-Driven Architecture means we attract innovative projects, so you can expect to work on some cutting-edge technologies and implementations, regardless of your role.

As a Solution Architect, you are especially close to innovations. You are a bridge between the technology and business sides of a company, and you work as a consultant. You have to understand what the business wants, translate this to technological requirements for the developers, and find the right tools for the job. I think you should know at least a bit of everything.

Getting everyone on the same page takes time, so on an average day, you’ll have meetings with both clients and the technical team. Of course, there’s also stand-up calls, and Cymo has two of them each week to check in with each other and share our experiences. However, that doesn’t mean that your days will be filled mostly or only with meetings.

At Cymo, we intentionally limit the workload of Solution Architects to one or two concurrent clients, so you have enough time to actually work on solutions. There’s a lot of variation to be found there. On any given day, our Architects can be found coding, modelling business processes, and creating and testing proof of concepts. Instead of working for various clients, you can also help us with our managed services products and service offering.

The emphasis will depend on yourownpreferences and ambitions. Do you prefer to code a lot yourself, or are you more interested in business process modelling? Would you like to take on a coaching role further down the line? Of course, you’ll have to do a little of (almost) everything, but at Cymo we like to give our Architects a lot of trust and freedom. After all, you work at your best when you can solve your problems as you see fit.

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The freedom to choose extends to our tooling and technologies. All our projects use an event hub, often Kafka or Redpanda, but our Architects are welcome to find alternatives. For example: we don’t use Elixir as a programming language in our technology stack at the moment, but we can’t predict when this may become the case. Most of our coding currently happens in Java and Rust. Business models can be sketched in Lucidchart, draw.io, or any other tool you feel is right for the job.

No matter the tool, our clients expect you to know the necessary standards. For business process modelling, this would be the business-oriented BPMN standards. It’s very important for us to note that you don’t have to know everything right away. Whether it's standards, parts of the technology stack, or the intricacies of Event-Driven Architecture, if you’re willing to learn, we’ll give you the time and resources you need!

Besides a lot of ad hoc knowledge sharing and visiting events, you also get an individual learning track and an educational budget to spend as you see fit. I personally take care of the onboarding of Solution Architects. I make sure that we get you started with some minor projects and general reading material. From there on, we fill up the gaps in your knowledge depending on your preferences and your upcoming clients.

In short, I think that being a Solution Architect is an exceptional job! You get to see both sides of a company, you are closely involved with the projects, and you get to solve your problems the way you prefer. Being part of Cymo makes it even better, since you get to work on some really innovative projects with cutting-edge technologies!

At Cymo, we’re constantly looking for new and enthusiastic faces to join our team. Are you intrigued by Kris’ experiences, and would you like to work as a Solution Architect for us? Contact us, and we’ll see if we’re a good fit!

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