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People of Symphony starring Damir Opalka: A glance into the Solution Architect world - "Don't be afraid of the things you don't know; be confident in how much you do know."

Author: symphony.is Date: Wed, 01/06/2021 - 11:32

Last November, Damir celebrated his 5th anniversary as a part of our community. Today we are talking about his Symphony path and how he became one of the first Solution Architects in our Sarajevo office. Continue reading to learn about some of the essential features of his work as he knows it today. 

We started with some of his first project and technology memories here at Symphony. Damir shared with us: "When I started working at Symphony, I encountered Python, Django, and Angular technologies both for the first and the last time. After that, I started working in Java and continued to do so, well, until this day."

Damir continued to share his first experience in transitioning to the Solution Architect role. This transition was a career shift, and he explained the very beginnings: "As a company - we developed fast. At one point, we found ourselves designing and developing systems for clients very often. Once you are in this process, many questions emerge - which constraints do we have, is the system on-premise, is it cloud, okay it is - but which cloud, what is the budget and duration? In that aspect, we realized that many pitfalls needed a professional analysis. Therefore, I started transitioning into the role of a Solution Architect to bring the best possible quality to our work."

Being a Solution Architect opens a path that enables you to focus on the system, design, integration, development, and architecture before the implementation itself. In this setup, you need to know what is feasible, but it is not essential to know how to implement those solutions.

Therefore, we asked Damir, from his perspective - what skills should a Solution Architect have? 

 "I like to think of it this way - be fearless; it is crucial to be confident in your knowledge. Don't be afraid of the things you don't know; be confident in how much you do know." 

Regarding the technical component, the role of a Solution Architect has many knowledge and competency requirements - you need to be familiar with every aspect of the system. Symphony offers the advantage of having many various projects and technologies to work on. He continued, "Even though I have never developed a Node.js application - I can observe how it behaves in a similar scenario that my colleague had managed. From the technical viewpoint, there are many patterns used in system architecture between Microservices and Monolith. It is crucial to know the strengths and weaknesses of both options because there is no silver lining. This job gets creative very often - you find yourself in need of a solution that has to be drawn out of non-suitable options."

During our talk, we reinforced the importance of having a Solution Architect who keeps the work structured. As a response, he made a powerful statement. 

"You have to know one thing - engineering is costly; nothing is more expensive than the developer’s time. Therefore, when we receive a business unit that needs to be made, it is vital to create an optimal scenario that will consider all of the factors - from budget to timeline. By overengineering, we can hurt the client as well - we deliver a perfect product which the client does not need. Look at it this way - I need a family car, and I am given two options: buying a Renault or buying a Porsche. Yes, the Porsche is perfect, but it does not fit my needs because soon I won't have a place to live anymore due to the expenses. We have to deliver work by the Symphony standards - quality work, but definitely not the things that are not necessary to the client. The Solution Architect is here to recognize those needs and keep them aligned.”

In the end, Damir shared one of the best things about his role as a Solution Architect at Symphony - Symphony has many greenfield projects, and the implementation is up to the team; they do the work the best they know. A big advantage is that there are no significant constraints in the work they do, which is exactly what keeps him and other Solution Architects highly motivated to deliver their best work. 

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