For many software developers, the transition from developer to architect is an epiphany. There's a moment when you're sitting at your desk cranking out code and realize that coding has become a mechanical exercise. You're already thinking 3-5 steps ahead of what you're currently building. Coding has become construction work and if you had a thought transmitter and few more people, you'd be able to REALLY get some work done.
On the surface it may seem like a subtle change, but underneath a fundamental shift in your thinking has begun. When you sit down at a keyboard to start what many consider "development" on a project, you've already made hundreds of decisions about WHAT you're going to build, HOW you're going to do it, and most importantly WHY you're going to build it the way you are. And when asked, you can defend each and every decision to everyone's satisfaction. You'll realize that shiny new technologies will come and go every few years and it's a matter of allocating some time to learn how to use them before moving on to the next. You'll begin to see patterns at higher levels and spend more time on the WHY's instead of the HOW's. From here on out, you will quickly exhaust all your local information resources looking for elusive golden nuggets of insight and wisdom.
Why has your approach to software development changed? How did all those design decisions come about before you fired up visual studio? Unless you've got a canned flowchart or wizard to do your thinking for you (or you're on the receiving end of a thought transmitter;), chances are those decisions were drawn from all the lessons you've learned through the years - your successes and failures. My high school calculus teacher called this our "aperceptive mass" - the sum total of all wisdom we've accumulated in our lifetime. And that's where the epiphany comes in. Once you realize that future success is tied to your store of accumulated wisdom, you will begin to see the world and process information differently. Your life-long pursuit of wisdom has begun.
Welcome aboard fellow architect.