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March 27
A Junior SharePoint Architect? Really?

Is It Possible To Be A Junior Architect In SharePoint?

​It's been too long since I've stirred the pot. Sorry for all those who thought I had grown beyond that. I thought I had too, but apparently not. :)

Anyway, lately I've been getting INUNDATED with emails from headhunters looking for all sorts of Java, .NET, and SharePoint work. If the keyword is on my resume, I've been getting tons of spam about it… I'm sick of it… really people, stop it. The latest email I received today was an "Urgent Need for SharePoint Architect in Virginia". Being the curious person I am, this caught my attention, maybe Juniper Strategy could help them out. So, I proceeded to open up the email and see the rate "$65 - $70/hr"

Are you freaking kidding me?

Do you realize what kind of SharePoint Architects exist for $70/hr? These are the people who claim to be SharePoint experts with less than a year of experience in the platform. These are the people who hack and hack until they get things to "mostly" work. These are the Architects who leave you with a problem that will cost twice as much to fix than it would have to hire the right person in the first place.

ALSO, this is one of the major reasons SharePoint has such a bad name: Headhunters fishing for rock bottom prices and filling seats with anyone that can spell SharePoint. It's creating horrible implementations which cause clients such headaches that they abandon the platform all together. UGH! Can you tell this is a thorn in my side?

Anyway… at this point I had enough. I responded back fairly tersely to the headhunter that he was doing his client a disservice by event attempting to hire a SharePoint Architect at that rate and they needed to better educate their clients. His response??

"Dear Mark we need Jr Guy not a Sr."

First of all… kudos on the eloquent response. Second of all… a "Junior Guy" for a SharePoint Architect Positoin? By the very nature of SharePoint an architect is a Senior Position!

I know I'm starting to sound like a curmudgeonly ginger-headed Brit, but seriously. SharePoint is such an extensive platform; no junior person can hope to understand it enough to adeptly architect anything. It's junior architects that use Visual Studio when out-of-the-box is more than sufficient. It's junior architects who build the exact same infrastructure every-single-time regardless of the client's needs. It's junior architects who don't know the potholes and pitfalls that will bite a client in the butt 6 months down the road… It's a junior architect that will get you out of support with Microsoft.

You are either a SharePoint Architect, or you are not. There's no junior involved. You may be a "less experienced" Architect, but you are still a Senior SharePoint resource if you are an Architect. Period.

An Architect is a role you grow into based upon your experiences with SharePoint. You've got the battle scars. You've seen those bottomless pits of despair and clawed your wait out of them. You don't play on your VM for a couple of months and declare yourself to be one.  

Let me be clear. Even if you need to hire the most inexperienced SharePoint Architect in the world, this is STILL a Senior Position by an individual with years of experience and a Senior pay scale. So, if you are dead set on using the term "Junior Architect" understand this is in no way a "Junior Role".

I even asked the question on twitter in case I was just insane and anal, and here are the responses I got:

@mrackley: Here's an interesting question. Is it possible to be a "Junior Architect" in SharePoint? I think by its nature it's a senior position.

@cmcnulty2000: I once met a junior surgeon. Didnt use him though. (my favorite response)

@sharepointbits: RT @mrackley: Is it possible to be a "Junior Architect" in SharePoint? I think by its nature it's a senior position. > +1

@cyberslate: @mrackley No. There's architects that are more senior than others of course but I agree by definition it is senior position.

@iwkid: @mrackley my thoughts on "Junior Architect" in SharePoint:

@BinaryJam: @mrackley did u see that on overflow? Nearly spat out my coffee #imSoMean

@arkaytee: @mrackley Nope! Just based on the stack you have to know underneath SP, I think junior anything is out.

@ncjks: Ones that knows how to configure BCS and Kerberos? @mrackley We are looking for a Junior Architect" is the response I got from headhunter

It's pretty clear that anyone who understands SharePoint realizes "Junior" and "Architect" make about as much sense as Google creating a successful social app.

Stop your whining, what's the big deal?

I agree. I'm whining, but this is a big deal. SharePoint is a phenomenal platform. It truly is. It's dynamic, powerful, and in the end it makes life so much easier for your business and users if it's used correctly! But, when you architect it incorrectly you help propagate the frustration and confusion that is fairly rampant out there.

"Why does it always take longer to do anything in SharePoint?"

"I can't find what I'm looking for!"

"This doesn't make sense to me!"

"I thought SharePoint was supposed to make our lives easier?"

"Why is SharePoint so slow?!"

"Search never returns what I'm looking for."

"It's so much easier to just email my attachment."

"SharePoint's down again!"

ALL statements made by people who are dealing with the effects of a Junior SharePoint Architect.

Clients and customers

We may reach market saturation at some point which will drive down rates, but at this time you get what you pay for. If you don't pay for it now, you will pay even more later when you have to clean up the mess…or you'll stop using SharePoint all together.

Yes… I have an opinion about this, and yes, I have a platform so I'll use it. Will it make a difference? It already has to the company who stumbles upon this blog and changes their way of thinking about this…



I completely agree to what you say!!!

I agree 100% to all the words that you had used here in this big note. I want to second your sentence "SharePoint is a phenomenal platform. It truly is. It's dynamic, powerful, and in the end it makes life so much easier for your business and users if it's used correctly!"

Thanks for making me feel too proud to be working with SharePoint all these years.. I highly appreciate it!
 on 3/28/2012 3:56 AM

No Kidding

You are so right.  Inexperienced "architects" build solutions that perpetuate frustration with SharePoint. Appointing the title of "architect" to a person without the experience or wherewithall to pull in other skills when needed is a terrible idea.  Hope is not the same thing as Truth and that's what the term "junior" means in this situation. We hope that one day this person will be an architect. 

I believe that the only way to gain architect level insight is by being involved in many environments with many systems in many situations.  An architect has to have both deep and broad experience and understand risk & cause and effect.  A true architect has to understand frameworks and concepts as well as technical details. 

There is no such thing as a "junior" architect. 
 on 3/29/2012 9:27 AM

Definitely...Totally agree

I was wondering about this as well. I know I am quite new to SharePoint, about 6 months of hands on experience..literally given the migration documents and that's I have not actually seen a clear cut description for each type of position under SharePoint...right now I made a position called SharePoint Archideveministrator...(that's Architect/Developer/ made it up. I am the SharePoint Guy in my office and want to make sure I am not giving the wrong title nor am I underbidding what I can and door the actual platform. Any help would be awesome? SharePoint is a powerful platform and looking forward to developing solutions I encounter
 on 4/8/2012 1:54 PM

Loved it!

Loved your blog... May I share this via my FB page?
 on 3/20/2013 4:38 AM

SharePoint Architect, Developer, Blogger, Speaker, Author, and general pain in the butt.
Thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own.
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