What does it take to be an enterprise architect, and what does an enterprise architect career path look like? Find out more.
Rapid transformation is underway across industry sectors.
Spending on tech stacks is the rising and adoption name of the game. We’re talking about game-changing technologies, such as cloud computing, IoT, and big data.
Enterprise architecture (EA) is right at the epicenter of these developments. It’s a concept that allows organizations to cope with disruption and maximize available resources.
Enterprise architects come into play as planers and overseers of the IT parameter. To be more precise, they assess and optimize various solutions and systems.
Achieving these outcomes, however, in practice is no cakewalk. This brings us to the crux of the matter — examining how an architect career path looks like.
This guide is your roadmap for becoming and succeeding as an enterprise architect.
Enterprise Architects in a Nutshell
Enterprise architects are in hot demand and earn a hefty income.
This is no surprise considering we operate in the data-fueled digital economy. But, to make it in such a competitive landscape, you need to have a clear idea of how to become an enterprise architect.
Essentially, architects are information system professionals in charge of the entire EA. They exert leadership, spearhead adoption, and adjust operations to shifting requirements.
At the same time, architects need to solve technical issues and integrate tools. One of the chief missions is to smoothly deploy tech solutions and minimizing expenses. This process adds value to the organization on multiple levels and strengthens it from within.
Technical expertise is a must-have ingredient for an illustrious career. The aforementioned duties also call for problem-solving aptitude and analytical mind.
On top of all that, one also has to possess a deep understanding of the business side of things.
All Systems Go
Yes, architects are expected to contribute to business growth and expansion.
This is to say they’re supposed to align EA with business processes and tactics. This comes through the practices of sound management and good governance.
Likewise, it’s necessary to foster standards and policies that guide IT asset use. These crucial business functions support overarching company strategies and objectives.
So, it’s clear already that architects aren’t ordinary employees who just keep their nose to the grindstone. They tend to populate executive layers of the organization.
What is more, architects closely collaborate with the management and stakeholders. They ensure the shared architecture stands readily at everyone’s disposal. The information should flow freely and silos nonexistent.
Architects who are natural leaders and have good soft skills perform better in this department.
A Set of Different Roles
Enterprise architects don’t act alone and in the organizational vacuum.
There is usually a whole, office-based EA team consisting of various roles. The three main ones are solution, security, and lead enterprise architect.
Security architects focus on cyber risk management and mitigation strategies. They detect threats that lurk in the cyber realm and come up with measures to address them. Sometimes, the need for incident response plans and activities arise.
Furthermore, Chief Architect’s top concern is how to centralize IT functions. He/she facilitates collaboration across teams and departments, keeping everyone on the same page.
A technology officer is another executive-level position. But, the difference is this role entails predominantly scientific and technological details. Technology officers rarely bother with strategic planning and execution.
Finally, we come across chief executive officers as the highest-ranking EA executives. They keep close tabs on IT resources and manage operations of the entire organization. Their decisions profoundly affect the trajectory the company is on.
A Matter of Getting There
To land any of the aforementioned positions, you have a lot of ground to cover.
First off, you should obtain the right university degree. Architects aim for the Bachelors in one of the IT core fields. Even better, you can opt for the following architecture disciplines:
These are all key components of enterprise architecture. Specializing in one of them is usually much more prudent than trying to cast the widest net possible.
Bear in mind pursuing a Master’s degree is optional (for now). You can always go back to studying after completing the next two steps.
Entering the following career stage revolves around learning a particular EA framework. The goal is to become able to work with other architecture disciplines outside your core competencies.
Reputable certifications in the league of TOGAF are a safe bet here.
Some other options to consider are:
- Systems Engineering Professional
- Certified Information Security Manager
- Certified Information System Auditor
- Certified Information Security Professional
- Federal Enterprise Architecture Certification
Once you have the right background, you can proceed to the next step.
Namely, all that is left to do is to gain hands-on experience working under a seasoned architect. This process can take a few years and there’s no rushing it. That being said, finding the right mentor who can show you the ropes makes things easier.
And once you get the job you want, the journey is actually only beginning.
Simply put, you must never stop learning and growing. Stay abreast of industry trends and research emerging solutions. Make sure your practical mastery of EA is always up-to-date.
Feel free to attend seminars and conferences too. They can broaden or deepen your know-how of EA, as well as bring networking opportunities.
Finally, notice there’s no shortage of excellent courses you can take to hone your skills. In some instances, they can make up for the lack of experience or formal education.