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97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know by Richard Monson-Haefel

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Chapter 92. Learn a New Language

Burk Hufnagel has been creating positive user experiences since 1978 and is a lead software architect at LexisNexis.

Burkhardt Hufnagel
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TO BE SUCCESSFUL AS AN ARCHITECT, you must be able to make yourself understood by people who don't speak your native tongue. No, I'm not suggesting you learn Esperanto or even Klingon, but you should at least speak basic Business, and Testing. And, if you aren't fluent in Programmer, you should make that a top priority.

If you don't see the value in learning other languages, consider the following scenario. The business people want a change made to an existing system, so they call a meeting with the architect and programmers to discuss it. Unfortunately, none of the technical team speaks Business and none of the business people speaks Programmer. The meeting will likely go something like this:

  • A business person talks for a minute about the need for a relatively simple enhancement to an existing product, and explains how making the change will enable the sales team to increase both market and mind share.

  • While the business person is still speaking, the architect starts sketching some kind of occult symbols on a notepad and enters into quiet argument with the one of the programmers in their strange multisyllabic tongue.

  • Eventually the business person finishes and looks expectantly at the architect.

  • After the whispered argument ...

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