I want to spend more time in front of a white board than a keyboard. My goal in career path is to be a software architect. The problem with architecture is you must have a proven record of success (or at least incredible failures) to get people to listen to you.
Just like buildings, software needs architecture, design, engineering and development. The developer is the hammer-wielding lumber-packing implementor. The engineer takes the design from the designer and makes it work in a physical environment. Engineers have to know how things work. It helps to have been a developer so you can make estimations of time and resources. Also an engineer who knows what needs to be done can make alterations to the design to decrease cost and improve stability. The designer is all about aesthetics. People have to want to live in this thing (or live with it anyway). If it’s going to sell it needs to be environmentally friendly and cost effective. Designers take an idea and make it beautiful.
Architects are full of themselves. It’s a job requirement. To be a good architect you have to believe that you can dream up something that is better than anyone else’s dream. And when you’re comparing dreams you don’t have anything other than your own ego. You might think that the world doesn’t need architects because designers and engineers could just get together and make pretty things that actually stand up (or start up). You’re wrong. Architects think up things that haven’t been done before. Or a completely new way to do something common. Just like the other positions in the work-to-thought career path the best architect will have started at the bottom and have intimate knowledge of the process. Then the great architect will forget all of that garbage and invent something that no designer, engineer or developer would attempt.
So think big or go home. But don’t work with your hands if you can work with your head.