by Sarah K. White

What is an enterprise architect? A vital role for IT operations

Apr 28, 2020
CareersEnterprise ArchitectureIT Leadership

Enterprise architects are key in establishing an organization's IT infrastructure and maintaining and updating IT hardware, software and services to ensure it supports established enterprise goals.

The enterprise architect role

An enterprise architect is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of an organization’s IT networks and services. As an enterprise architect, you will be responsible for overseeing, improving and upgrading enterprise services, software and hardware. You will also need to stay on top of the latest trends and technologies and keep an eye out for any software, services or hardware that might improve business processes.

The enterprise architect role requires complex thinking and strategizing to ascertain which legacy systems can be updated, what software or hardware can be replaced and which services or products will support business operations across each department. Enterprise architects work across the organization, determining the needs of a range of business units and processes. It’s a role that requires strong communication and analytical skills to ensure that business units have the right tools to be successful.

Enterprise architect job description and requirements

Enterprise architect jobs typically require an undergraduate degree in computer science or a related field and five to 10 years of IT experience before you can step into the role. Depending on the company, you may also need a master’s degree. To succeed in the role, an enterprise architect must have communication, analytical, leadership, teamwork and problem-solving skills. In a typical enterprise architect job description, you’ll find most companies are looking for someone who has experience with SQL, data sourcing, enterprise data management, modeling, business strategy, auditing and compliance. Other skills and expertise include cloud computing, system architecture, strategy development and enterprise solutions.   

The enterprise architecture framework

As an enterprise architect, you’ll need to understand how to use and implement the Enterprise Architecture (EA) framework. It’s not a formal framework that comes with step-by-step instructions on how to develop an enterprise architecture strategy, instead the framework serves as a guide on how to build a holistic view of all the technology in your enterprise.

The EA framework will help you develop an enterprise architecture plan (EAP) to get a full view of your business technology, analyze where processes can be integrated or eliminated in the organization and help you improve the efficiency and reliability of business information. 

There are several methodologies designed to help you develop an EAP that will help you meet your business goals:

Enterprise architect salary

Enterprise architecture jobs can be lucrative. According to PayScale, the average enterprise architect salary is $131,824 per year, with a reported salary range of $93,000 to $168,000 annually. Pay increases with experience — entry-level EAs with less than a year of experience in the role report an average salary of $82,000 per year.

As EAs gain more experience, they report higher earnings: those with one to four years’ experience report an average annual salary of $101,000; EAs with five to nine years’ experience report an average salary of $121,000; those with 10 to 19 years’ experience, $135,000; and $141,000 for EAs with more than 20 years’ experience.

The highest paid enterprise architects live in Seattle, where the average annual salary is 17 percent higher than the national median. New York is the second highest paid city for EAs, where the average salary is 11 percent higher than the median, followed by Atlanta, where EAs earn 7 percent more than the median.

Enterprise architecture software

Enterprise architecture tools are designed to help businesses collaborate, build reports, run tests and create simulations too manage current enterprise architecture and any future technology that IT might bring into the business. EA software can help create visualizations, organize data, catalogue IT assets and help with inter-departmental communication.

There are plenty of EA tools to choose from, but a few popular options include:

  • BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio
  • Software AG Alfabet
  • Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect
  • Erwin
  • Planview
  • Unicom systems architect
  • CrossCode Panoptics

Enterprise architect certification

There are several ways you can get certified as an enterprise architect — you can opt to get certified in specific skills, frameworks or tools. For example, The Open Group, offers TOGAF certifications, which is a popular EA framework used in business. Or, you might choose to get certified in specific tools like Salesforce or Google Professional Cloud. Either way, there are several certifications you can earn and training courses and workshops you can attend to brush up on your EA skills and knowledge.

Some popular certifications for enterprise architects include:

  • Dell EMC Proven Processional Cloud architect training and certification
  • Google Professional Cloud Architect
  • Red Hat Certified Architect
  • The Open Group TOGAF 9 Certification
  • AWS Certified Solution Architect
  • CISSP Information Systems Security Architecture Professional

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