Based on my experience, the following are the most important challenges when you start as a new architect:
- Communication skills are probably one of the most important qualities to focus on when you move from a developer to an architect role. Usually, this is an underrated skill that new architects often neglect or underestimate. In your architect job, you will be exposed to a wide range of people with the different types of skills and responsibilities such as managers, stakeholders, product owners, clients …. etc. And you need to collaborate with them to understand the context, the business goals and the application you are building. Therefore, my recommendation is to keep up working on sharpening your communication skills and be ready to get out of your comfort zone.
- Understand the business you are working on (domain) is critical for architects. I am not saying you need to become a domain expert but definitely you should know much more than understanding the surface. And yes, expect the early weeks and months to be a steep learning curve. This is a continuous process, so keep reading whatever documents you have access to but most important is to ask the domain experts, the business analysts and be curious. Indeed, curiosity and motivation to learn the business of your company will make a difference on the long run.
- And finally, the area where you are more comfortable is the technical staff. But even here, there are several challenges and traps that you need to be careful about. It is important to understand in your role as architect what your team is expecting from you in terms of artifacts to produce and the level of the details in these documents. You need also to keep up to date with the latest technology and industry trends. This can be hard to achieve but you need to keep a “Never Stop Learning” attitude by following tech news (InfoQ.com is a good example), reading books and technical reports and listening to video conferences.