The good news: Companies have more information about their markets and processes than ever before.
The bad news: Companies have more information about their markets and processes than ever before.
The world creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day (and yes, "quintillion" is a real number—it's a 1 followed by 18 zeros.) That's a wealth of information, buried in which are invaluable business, science, and sociological insights. But how to tease them out of overwhelming data sets?
Enterprise architects help organizations order and structure seas of info to make it manageable and useful. And that's just a part of their responsibilities. They also handle big-picture IT duties, managing the oversight and improvement of software and hardware.
Various job specialties fall under the umbrella of data management, including:
Enterprise architects stand above all of those positions and duties, keeping a hand in each and making sure an organization has the tools it needs. That's why the job requires years of experience and education.
So, what are the steps to become an enterprise architect? This article enumerates them and also discusses:
The enterprise architect role sits near the top of an IT department, and with great IT power comes great IT responsibility. Business News Daily characterizes enterprise architects as "IT visionaries and technology gurus who help to shape and implement mission-critical projects and efforts." They "do nothing less than ensure that technology and business goals align," according Red Hat.
Who hires enterprise architects? Any business or organization that has a substantial IT infrastructure—meaning most large businesses and organizations. Recent job listings for enterprise architects include tech companies (Pinterest), manufacturers (tire maker Bridgestone), pharmaceuticals (AstraZeneca), regional staffing companies, insurance companies (Allstate), financial services (Citizen), and government agencies (Indiana Public Retirement System).
Enterprise architects have a long list of duties that enable them to assume weighty and complex responsibilities. That list may include:
Some enterprise architect positions have additional responsibilities; others will have fewer. But all require a bird's-eye view, as the London School of Economics CIO told ZDnet. "Your enterprise architect should be looking at what the business develops and they should know what the business does really well, and be able to articulate that in systems, processes, and business views," Laura Dawson said.
Compterscience.org lays out a typical day on the job for an enterprise architect. Activities include making a presentation on a new IT architecture project, troubleshooting problems with IT architecture, completing a hardware upgrade, and attending a webinar on a current issue in IT architecture.
At a smaller company, an enterprise architect might handle a wide variety of roles. At larger companies multiple architects might take on more specific roles. Project Management Institute (PMI) breaks those roles down as follows:
The high level of responsibility borne by enterprise architects usually comes with a six-figure salary. Red Hat lists the average annual income at $156,000, while Payscale puts the average salary at $139,676, with a range of $98,000 to $177,000. Indeed lists an even higher range—$53,000 to $267,000 per year—with a $139,857 average.
Long-term career planning is a must in becoming an enterprise architect. You'll most likely need a Bachelor of Science degree, multiple certifications, and years of experience doing high-level IT work. Some positions will require a master's degree and some may even seek PhDs.
The first step on your career path: Earn a bachelor's degree in computer science, IT management, data science, or a related field. A master's degree will also help you land a job as an enterprise architect. More on that below.
Some specialty certifications will serve you well, though requirements vary from employer to employer. Examples of certifications that may be helpful in becoming an enterprise architect include:
Don't expect to become an enterprise architect right out of college. Most jobs require a minimum of five to 10 years of experience with IT systems, according to CIO magazine. Enterprise architects are expected to have a broad range of skills. Here are some sample requirements from a variety of recent job listings:
Other important attributes for enterprise architects include such soft skills as creative problem solving and communication skills. PMI lists several key skills:
Not every enterprise architect job requires a master's degree, but having one may give you a competitive advantage in the workforce. Some jobs also require significantly fewer years of work experience for candidates with a master's degree. Schools like https://onlinesoe.tufts.edu/online-masters-in-data-science/ Tufts University and Stevens Institute of Technology offer master's degrees in data science, and both offer the option to earn a degree entirely online.
You may want to consider more than computer-related grad school options. A Master of Business Administration could also serve you well in pursuing a career as an enterprise architect, according to Business News Daily.
Industry certifications like the ones mentioned above can serve as a substitute for an advanced degree. While certifications may not convey the same advantages as a master's, they can boost your chances of getting hired and increase your earning potential above an undergraduate degree alone.
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