Individual passion is the primary driving factor that determines the growth path of an architect. For instance, a security architect who is passionate about the domain of IT security and must have developed an immensely valuable body of knowledge over time should ideally not be coerced into making a shift to a solution architect and eventually a governance role. There are at least three layers of architects:
Technologist: These roles have broad and narrow competencies in a specific technology or framework and are at the start of the value chain, for example, network architect, security architect, application architect, process architect, web architect, data architect.
T-shape: These roles have broad and deep competencies and are in the middle of the chain, for example, information architect, infrastructure architect, business architect or solution architect.
Governance: These roles on the top of value chain for, for example, lead architect, chief architect, enterprise architect or CTO
This progression is not for everyone, and importantly does not define the success or growth of an architect. This would be optimal for organizations to get creative about fostering career growth paths for each of these role buckets. At the end of the day, SMEs from across these pools need to work together effectively to define solutions. Well rounded individuals from these pools collaborating effectively are the recipe for success in an architecture focused solutions delivery organization. Instating creative and vertical growth paths within each of these pools would stand to benefit both the individuals and the organization.
Architects should be passionate about the work, whether it is being broad and deep in a specific technology area, or developing cross technology/functional breadth. The key is an architect understands the personal tradeoffs of each choice, for instance, a database architect considering a shift to a broader solutions architect role should be aware of the fact that developing a broader knowledge base of technology will become a higher priority to succeed in the role than continuing to go deep into architecting database solutions. The key consideration is to follow ones heart and passion, opportunities to grow and succeed in the domain will materialize over time.