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Enterprise Architect Career Guide

What is an enterprise architect?

An enterprise architect ensures business strategies use the ideal technology systems architecture to achieve its goals. These professionals exist between IT and business operations, translating business needs and possibilities – aligning strategies with the technical landscape of the organization. They also increase organizational effectiveness by enabling the quick and efficient execution of corporate strategy.

The architect provides a holistic vision and conceptualizes an enterprise’s structure and operations. They analyze systems architecture, relationships between systems, and how they can contribute to the execution of the company’s mission. Without this role, a company risks pursuing strategies that can’t be supported by its IT capabilities, leading to inefficiency and the inability to compete effectively in the marketplace.

Duties and responsibilities

Primarily, enterprise architects are responsible for designing and implementing business processes, aligning these with the technology deployed by the business. It includes examining and evaluating current business structures to understand their efficiency and limitations.

They also create, analyze, and manage the model of the enterprise architecture that includes change and transformation programs. It involves developing IT strategies and future applications, understanding emerging technologies, and deciding how to incorporate them into the business’s infrastructure. They ensure the business and IT align, reducing redundancy and promoting effectiveness.

Work environment

Enterprise architects typically work in a corporate setting. Their role involves a significant amount of time spent meeting with various department heads to understand the different operational needs within their organization. They also spend time working on computers designing systems architectures. The work demands high levels of thought and analysis, making it a mentally demanding job.

They might also be required to attend business meetings, workshops, and seminars and may occasionally travel for work, depending on the size and nature of their organization. They usually work closely with other IT professionals, including system architects, software developers, and project managers.

Typical work hours

The work schedule of an enterprise architect will vary depending on the workload, deadlines, and the nature of a current project. As with other roles in IT, they typically work full-time office hours from Monday through Friday. However, they are often required to work beyond the typical 40-hour workweek, especially when it involves critical project timelines or system issues that need immediate attention.

Overtime might become necessary, especially during system upgrades, implementations, or unexpected emergencies. They need to maintain flexibility in their working hours, as technical problems can occur at any time and need prompt attention.

How to become an enterprise architect

This career guide section outlines the steps to becoming an enterprise architect. At its core, the journey revolves around gaining experience in IT, broadening software, hardware, and networking knowledge, and attaining relevant industry certifications.

Step 1: Earn a bachelor’s degree

A bachelor’s degree in a field related to information technology, computer science, or business is the first step. These programs offer foundational knowledge in systems analysis, database management, programming languages, and network theory.

Step 2: Gain professional experience

Comprehending the link between business objectives and technology requires hands-on exposure from working in roles like software development, network administration, or data analysis. Aspiring architects should concentrate on roles that offer experience in system design and technology integration. Most employers require 5+ years of experience.

Step 3: Consider earning a master’s degree

Some professionals choose to further their education by getting a master’s degree in enterprise architecture, IT management, or business administration. Advanced degrees offer deeper insight into business strategy, leadership, and advanced technology concepts, and while not mandatory, could increase job prospects and salary potential.

Step 4: Obtain relevant industry certifications

Consider obtaining certifications such as TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), or AWS Certified Solutions Architect. They show employers you’re serious about professional development and staying up-to-date with industry trends.

Step 5: Develop soft skills

Soft skills are equally important as technical skills. Communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills are critical for success in this job, as you’ll often be required to communicate complex technical information to non-technical audiences and lead diverse teams.

Step 6: Apply for jobs

Once you have the required education, experience, certification, and skills, it’s time to start applying. Tailor your resume to highlight your technology and business expertise, your ability to bridge the gap between IT and business objectives, as well as specific outcomes or projects that you’ve successfully led or contributed to.

How much do enterprise architects make?

Salaries for enterprise architects vary by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. Factors that can uniquely impact compensation include specializations in various technological areas and the magnitude of their tasks, such as overseeing the infrastructure of large companies or designing system frameworks for multiple departments.

Highest paying industries

  • Computer Systems Design – $165,530
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises – $159,690
  • Software Publishers – $158,640
  • Data Processing and Hosting – $156,580
  • Scientific Research and Development Services – $155,750

Highest paying states

  • California – $169,630
  • New Jersey – $165,890
  • New York – $164,150
  • Virginia – $159,890
  • Massachusetts – $157,220

Browse enterprise architect salary data by market

Types of enterprise architects

Below, we explore common career types and areas of specialization for enterprise architects. This section offers a detailed overview of distinct roles in this profession.

Information systems architect

A professional in this area primarily focuses on developing digital systems and information management databases. These architects design and implement computer systems to address specific business needs properly.

Infrastructure architect

Focusing on telecommunications and hardware, these professionals ensure that a company’s computer infrastructure meets performance requirements and accommodates future growth. Their tasks include researching, recommending, and planning network and storage hardware infrastructure.

Solutions architect

Solutions architects manage complex initiatives that encompass numerous IT projects. They design, implement, and maintain enterprise systems and software, ensuring seamless integration and alignment with the overall business strategy and needs.

Data architect

Archtects in this niche design, create, deploy, and manage a company’s data architecture. Their tasks include defining how data is stored, consumed, integrated, and managed by different entities and IT systems within the organization.

Cloud architect

These experts specialize in cloud computing technologies, creating solutions for businesses migrating to cloud-based systems. Their responsibilities are extensive, from analyzing system requirements to managing cloud architecture design and deployment.

Business architect

This specialty aligns the business’s operations with its technology. By mapping out key business processes and functions, they make sure that the information systems support the business objectives effectively and efficiently.

Top skills for enterprise architects

This career guide section outlines the skills and abilities that will help you find success as an enterprise architect.

Strategic thinking

Understanding the big picture is essential – it requires you to foresee future business needs and plan the IT infrastructure accordingly. You’ll need to be able to understand and apply knowledge of business processes, industries, and technology trends.

Communication skills

Being capable of clearly explaining complex technical concepts to non-experts is vital in this job. You need to articulate the business’s technical needs and strategies to stakeholders at all levels, listen effectively, and understand the needs of various departments within the company.

Ability to balance short-term and long-term goals

These professionals need to have a vision for the future, but they also need to address immediate business needs. You need to be adept at managing current issues while never losing sight of the overarching long-term strategy.

Technology knowledge

You must remain aware of the latest technology trends and understand how to implement them with the organization’s business strategy. This means being familiar with current technology, anticipating upcoming trends, and knowing how they might impact the company.


Often, the success of an enterprise’s IT strategy hinges on their ability to lead the team effectively – this involves guiding, influencing, and motivating team members, fostering collaboration, and facilitating successful project completion.

Enterprise architect career path options

The route to leadership and more senior roles is attainable with experience, talent, dedication, and a willingness to upskill consistently.

With a few years of experience and demonstrated ability, you can expect to move into roles like senior enterprise architect, where your leadership skills will be tested as you oversee multiple projects, manage teams, and influence the strategic technical path of the organization. It is a dynamic role with a lot of responsibility and ample opportunity to make a significant impact.

Eventually, with a deep understanding of the organization, you may move into a chief architect or chief technology officer (CTO) role. These positions demand even greater use of your technical and leadership abilities while offering a greater opportunity to display your technical strengths.

Many architects also find a lateral shift into roles like IT project management, IT management, strategic planning, or even consulting to be a fulfilling next step in their career. This diversity in potential paths suits professionals who appreciate variety and thrive on learning new things.

Enterprise architects are witnessing a significant evolution in their roles with the progression of modern technology. This profession, rooted within the IT industry, has expanded to play an integral part in business strategy and transformation. There’s a noticeable shift toward the use of cloud-based systems; hence, proficiency in the latest cloud technologies is an essential skill for individuals pursuing this career. Additionally, understanding the nuances of business processes and strategy is becoming increasingly vital.

The advent of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) has also highlighted the need for architects to stay current with evolving trends. They are required to develop strategies for integrating these advancements into the existing frameworks. Another consideration is the impact of regulatory requirements and data privacy norms on architectural designs. They must stay updated with changes in regulations to maintain compliance.

Additionally, soft skill requirements are becoming equally important as technical expertise. Abilities such as leadership, communication, problem-solving, and negotiation are vital for performing the job effectively. In this rapidly changing landscape, these professionals are expected to take on the role of influencer and decision-maker, making these skills indispensable.

Enterprise architect career tips

Understand the bigger picture

You will be expected to understand the organization’s business model, strategies, and processes to create an architectural vision aligning the business with IT. You need to be able to see the bigger picture, not just the technological aspects.

Master communication

The role involves liaising between stakeholders, from top-level executives to technical staff. Thus, having excellent communication skills is crucial. Not only should you be able to explain complex ideas in a simple, understandable way, but you should also be a good listener, understanding the needs and concerns of others. By mastering communication, you can ensure that all stakeholders understand and align with the architectural plan.

Stay updated with technological trends

Technology is a continuously evolving field. Staying updated with the latest trends, understanding how they can benefit the organization, and identifying the risks associated with new technologies are essential. This knowledge will allow you to design robust, contemporary, and forward-looking architectures that cater to the organization’s evolving needs.

Continuous learning

Continuous learning is key to staying ahead in this role. Some specific areas to focus on include:

  • Advanced architecture frameworks such as TOGAF or Zachman
  • Innovative enterprise solutions such as cloud services and IoT
  • Getting certified in other complementary areas such as Project Management or ITIL

Strive for strategic alignment

You often have to balance business needs and technology options. Therefore, all your decisions and plans should align IT with strategic business goals, requiring not only a deep understanding of the business and technological landscape but also leadership qualities to drive this alignment.

Build a professional network

Networking within the profession is an effective way to improve your knowledge, skills, and career opportunities. Participate actively in industry-specific forums and groups, attend architecture-related events, and connect with other professionals in similar roles. Some of the well-known professional associations and networks for enterprise architects include:

  • The Open Group (TOGAF)
  • Association for Information Systems (AIS)
  • Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)

Where the enterprise architect jobs are

Top employers

  • VMware, Inc.
  • Dell Inc.
  • IBM Corp.
  • HP, Inc.
  • Accenture

Top states

  • California
  • Texas
  • New York
  • Florida
  • Illinois

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • CareerBuilder
  • Monster


What does an enterprise architect do on a daily basis?

An enterprise architect will often spend their day diving into various parts of the organization, understanding the systems in place, the business objectives, and the technology infrastructure. They’ll align these areas into a coherent whole. This could involve reviewing current practices, researching new technologies, and developing blueprints for future system implementations. Collaboration with stakeholders across the organization is also a key part of their role.

What qualifications do I need to become an enterprise architect?

Most enterprise architects have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as information technology, computer science, or business management. Many earn a master’s degree in business administration or a related field. Relevant work experience in IT or a related field is also crucial, and certifications (such as TOGAF or ArchiMate) can enhance credibility.

What skills are required for an enterprise architect?

Enterprise architects need a broad skill set, including deep knowledge of IT infrastructure, software development, and system architecture. They need strong leadership abilities, analytical skills, and good problem-solving capabilities. Understanding business structures, operations, and strategies is key. Because they work closely with various stakeholders, excellent communication abilities are imperative.

What are the main responsibilities for an enterprise architect?

Main responsibilities include designing and implementing business and IT standards and procedures. They develop plans to integrate business processes with technology, guide the organization in IT investment decisions, and align IT strategies with the business goals. Participating in system and technology evaluations, capacity planning, and disaster recovery procedures are also part of the role.

How can I gain experience to become an enterprise architect?

Most enterprise architects start by gaining experience in lower-level IT roles, such as system analyst or software developer. Earning relevant certifications and staying up-to-date with industry trends and emerging technologies can also aid in advancing your career.

What are the challenges of being an enterprise architect?

Challenges include dealing with complex business structures and rapidly changing technology landscapes. Identifying the right technology solutions that align well with business needs while having long-term benefits can be challenging. They must also balance various stakeholder views and deal with resistance to change while implementing new processes or technologies.

What are the typical working hours for an enterprise architect?

Like many professional roles, enterprise architects typically work a standard 40-hour work week from Monday to Friday. However, depending on deadlines or ongoing projects, longer hours may occasionally be required. Due to the strategic nature of their role, they might also need to attend meetings outside of standard working hours.

Which industries employ enterprise architects?

Enterprise architect professionals are needed in virtually all industries as technology continues to play a vital role in companies’ operational efficiency and strategic direction.

What tools do enterprise architects use?

An enterprise architect requires several software tools to manage their work effectively – architectural modeling tools like Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect or Software AG’s Alfabet for planning IT landscapes. They also use project management tools, databases for managing data, and business intelligence tools for analyzing it. Documentation and presentation software are also commonly used.

How does the role of an enterprise architect differ from a solutions architect?

An enterprise architect has a broader scope, focusing on the entire business ecosystem: the interconnection of business processes, information systems, and technologies. They establish a holistic view of the organization’s strategy, processes, information, and IT assets. A solution architect, on the other hand, focuses on a specific domain or technology and designs the technology solutions for that area, considering the enterprise architecture guidelines.