How to Become an Enterprise Architect

Enterprise Architect

With the rise of new technologies, globalization and the combination of IT and business processes, organizations are faced with several options to confront the very dynamic business environment. This business environment demands that businesses be very innovative and adaptive in navigating it as well as proactive enough to exploit the situation and create new business opportunities. Enterprise Architecture is what many businesses all over the world are using to deal with the dynamism of the business environment. Enterprise Architecture helps businesses with an overview of their market and strategies to deal with the many challenges that are present in the business environment. Let’s break this further down.

What is Enterprise Architecture?

Enterprise Architecture is the process that translates business vision and strategy into an enterprise change by developing, communicating key requirements, principles, and models that see into an organisation’s future and enable its evolution.

It is the practice of analysing, designing, planning and implementing business goals and executing them by using business strategies. Enterprise Architecture helps businesses design IT projects and policies to achieve desired business goals and to stay up to speed with industry trends and challenges.

Enterprise Architecture started as a result of the increase in business technology, especially in the 1980s when computer systems were just taking hold in the workplace. Businesses realized that they need a plan and long-term strategy to support the rapid growth of technology which is still the case today. Enterprise Architecture is crucial for large businesses going through digital transformation. This is because it helps bring business processes and applications together to create a seamless business environment.

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Who is an Enterprise Architect?

An Enterprise Architect is an expert who creates a business’ Enterprise Architecture. In order words, they are responsible for managing the process of implementing a business’ strategy with the correct technology and systems design to achieve its goals. An Enterprise Architect develops a chart of an organization’s strategy, information, processes and IT assets. Thereafter, they use this knowledge to ensure IT and business strategies align.

Responsibilities of an Enterprise Architect

  • An Enterprise Architect is responsible for evaluating the internal functions of an organization, as well as developing business strategies, IT processes and suggesting ways they can be improved upon.
  • As an Enterprise Architect, you will create business architecture models to reflect your employer’s business strategies and goals, then create processes to implement them.
  • You will evaluate all the models for systems engineering, talent recruiting and accounting, check for discrepancies and vulnerabilities.
  • As an Enterprise Architect, you will equally have the responsibility of suggesting ideas to your employer that will reduce cost in IT and business management.
  • Enterprise Architects are responsible for organizing training workshops designed to improve the knowledge and skill of other employees to aid organizational growth.
  • Your responsibilities include talent management to improve their company’s operations.
  • You will have the responsibility of providing business architecture and systems processing guidance.
  • Enterprise Architects create compliance models for data storage, metadata management, and change control.
  • As an Enterprise Architect, you will implement Build versus Buy strategies and mentor personnel.

Skills and Programs Every Enterprise Architect Must Learn

  1. TOGAF – The Open Group Architecture Framework is a proven methodology that helps Enterprise Architects define and organize business requirements/ strategies and align them with IT goals.
  2. Zachman Framework – The Zachman Framework is a formal and structured overview and definition of a given enterprise. An understanding of the Zachman Framework is important for you as an Enterprise Architect. It is a fundamental part of enterprise architecture.
  3. Enterprise Applications – Enterprise applications will vary depending on your interest areas and the industry you are targeting (eCommerce, blockchain, etc.) or specialization within an application platform like Hadoop, SAP, and Oracle.
  4. DevOps – With the rise of “agile” culture, development has moved its focus from slow and steady to fast and flexible. Understanding the relationship between automation, integration, and analytics within the enterprise architecture is essential as it affects your company’s IT strategy.
  5. Cloud Infrastructure – An increase in the popularity of clouds like AWS, Azure, Google, Alibaba and Huawei as a landscape for enterprise computing has made it necessary that you understand cloud- and service-driven business models and how to integrate them into your company’s infrastructure and business processes.
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Soft Skills for an Enterprise Architect

  1. Problem formulation: As an Enterprise Architect, you must possess the ability to define the real issues that need to be addressed, as well as the additional situations that may affect the resolution of said issues.
  2. Solution shaping and problem-solving: You must think of as many possibilities as you can and come up with solutions that address the issues that you face through analysis, troubleshooting, research, evaluation, and communication.
  3. Consensus building through communication skills: To get agreement on problems and solutions, you need to build a common understanding with all parties involved. This means verbal and written communication skills will be employed to settle conflicts and secure support on activities that require cooperation.
  4. Solution realization: You must turn solution proposals to reality in a way that efficiently addresses old and new issues raised by company stakeholders during the development, testing, and deployment process.
  5. Solution management: You must be able to manage the solutions through its expected lifecycle, including employer and employee updates, budget requirements, and evaluation.
  6. Leadership: You need strong leadership skills to empower IT workers and employees to remain on task and make deliveries on time.

Educational Requirements

In your Secondary/High School, you have to pay particular attention to subjects such as Mathematics, Computer Science, Economics, and other Business-related ones. The next step in your career path is university education. Here, you will need to acquire a degree in Information Technology or other related fields. Thankfully, there are several great schools you can obtain a relevant Bachelor’s Degree from. Below are some:

  1. Ulster University in the United Kingdom offers a BSc (Hons) in Information Technologies. The Information Technologies course aims to deliver graduates that can apply best practice in the application of computing and information systems principles in organisations. The tuition for international students is £14,480. The duration is 4 years with a placement possibility.
  2. Coventry University in the United Kingdom offers a degree in Information Technology for Business BSc (Hons). The tuition for international students is £12,924. The course is designed to deepen your understanding of information technology (IT) and aims to teach you the fundamentals of software development and the application required to drive business strategy and competitiveness in a dynamic market.
  3. The University of Debrecen in Hungary offers a degree in Computer Science Engineering. The tuition is $6000. The degree trains IT engineers who have the IT-related skills needed to plan and develop technical installations that utilize IT-based solutions, especially those concerning technical IT and IT infrastructure systems and services, as well as their data and software systems. It also educates those who have assimilated the practical engineering techniques associated with the installation and commissioning of IT infrastructure.

Job Outlook for An Enterprise Architect

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect statistics on enterprise architects. However, they estimated a 9% growth for the category of computer occupations from 2016-2026. This growth rate is as fast as the average for all occupations.

The employers of Enterprise Architects cut across industries as the rise in technology and the use of IT processes in businesses has been recorded. This means that Enterprise Architects can work in almost every industry. However, IT companies are still the largest employers of Enterprise Architects.

Successful Enterprise Architects

  1. Onaopemipo Oyadiran: Currently an Enterprise Architect at First Bank Nigeria, Onaopemipo has always loved helping other people solve business problems. He attempted the Rubik’s cube as a child, helps his colleagues, and the strategic business unit to solve business problems. He also assists in creating solutions that reduce turnaround time (TAT). He says the satisfaction he gets from solving problems is his driving force. His specialisations are Analytical Thinking, Design Thinking, Problem Solving, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, Digital Architecture, Systems Integration using Service Oriented Architecture, IT Service Management, Project Management, Solution Analysis, Solution Delivery, Solution Architecture, and Business Intelligence.
  2. John Zachman: John Zachman is an American business and IT consultant. He is an early pioneer of enterprise architecture and the Chief Executive Officer of Zachman International (Zachman.com). He is one of the founding developers of IBM’s Business Systems Planning (BSP) and has worked on their Executive team planning techniques. He originated the Zachman Framework in 1987 as a standard for classifying the descriptive models that comprise enterprise architecture.
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Salary of Enterprise Architects

The enterprise architect salary range starts at $120,723 for those with less than a year of experience, along with an average additional cash compensation of $16,244.

The average salary for an Enterprise Architect is £82,748 per year in the United Kingdom. (indeed.co.uk)

The average salary for an Enterprise Architect is $143,121 per year in the United States. (indeed.com)

The average Enterprise Architect salary in Canada is $103,560 per year or $53.11 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $77,570 per year while most experienced workers make up to $176,052 per year. (nuevoo.ca)

An Enterprise Architect in Nigeria typically earns around 237,000 NGN per month. Salaries range from 114,000 NGN (lowest) to 372,000 NGN (highest).(salaryexplorer.com)

Careers Related to Enterprise Architecture

Data Scientist: Data scientists are analytical professionals who utilize their skills in technology and social science to detect trends and manage data. They use industry knowledge, understanding and existing assumptions – to uncover solutions to business challenges.

Systems Engineering: Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering and engineering management that focuses on how to design, integrate, and manage complex systems over their life cycles.

Data Architecture: Data architects explain how the data will be stored, consumed, integrated and managed by different data entities and IT systems, as well as any applications using or processing that data in some way. It is closely associated with business architecture and is one of the four domains of enterprise architecture.

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Postgraduate options

  1. Arden University in the United Kingdom offers an Enterprise Architecture Management Master’s Degree. The tuition for international students is £9550. The programme will equip you with the strategic skills to align IT and organisational goals. You will also gain the skills and resources to help you stay up-to-date with technological trends and developments and to incorporate these advancements into your role. It is a distance learning program so it is completely online.
  2. The University of West London offers a two-year full-time MSc Information Systems course. This course will help you gain a full understanding of how information systems are designed, constructed and integrated into an organisation. The tuition for international students is £13,000 per year.

Professional Certifications for an Enterprise Architect

  • Systems Engineering Professional certification:  This certification is offered by the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), and it acknowledges the expertise of systems engineers. INCOSE also offers certification programs for the Associate Systems Engineering Professional, Certified Systems Engineering Professional, and Expert Systems Engineering Professional.  
  • Certified Information Security Manager certification (CISM)ISACA offers CISM certification to recognize individuals with knowledge managing and designing information security systems. First, you must register for the CISM exam. Early Registration is $415 for Members and $545 for Non-Members; Final Registration is $465 for Members and $595 for Non-Members. You must then pass the CISM exam and apply for certification.
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor certification: ISACA also offers CISA certification, which is available to applicants with a minimum of five years of experience in information systems auditing, assurance, security or control. To earn a CISA, you must pass a 150-question multiple-choice exam. The price and requirements are the same as the CISM.
  • Certified Information Security Professional certificationThe CISSP certification available from (ISC)² proves an individual’s working knowledge with the design, implementation and management of outstanding cybersecurity programs. To earn a CISSP, you must be a member of (ISC)² and pass an online exam. The price of this certification is $699. The exam is six hours long and includes a mix of multiple-choice and advanced innovative questions.
  • The Open Group Architecture Framework certification: TOGAF is a specific enterprise framework methodology that takes a systematic approach to maintain timelines and budgets while reducing errors and aligning projects with overall business goals. Certification in this methodology is especially valuable for enterprise architects. You can earn a TOGAF certification by completing training courses and passing an exam. The cost of the certification can be as low as $320. That is just for the foundation exam alone. You can sign up to take both exams for $495.

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