Said to be one of the best jobs in America, professionals earn high salaries and work from home! Click to learn about this fascinating, in demand position.
The shortage of IT workers is a problem for companies for more than one reason. It makes finding additional workers a challenge. Unfortunately, better than 70 percent of IT workers are at least considering quitting.
That shortage also makes replacing those workers extraordinarily difficult. This challenge for companies is an opportunity for those looking to move into tech careers. One of the best tech careers in America is an enterprise architect career.
Not sure what an enterprise architect does or how you become one? Keep reading for a look into the duties, education, and compensation of a US enterprise architect.
Most tech positions are highly specialised by design. Your networking person handles network hardware, configuration, troubleshooting, and employee training. Your cybersecurity person analyses threats, manages intrusions, and even runs security audits.
The enterprise architect role is no less important, but you don't specialise to quite the same degree. You also don't handle the same day-to-day, hands-on kinds of tasks.
Instead, you take responsibility for the entire IT ecosystem that supports your organization. You oversee all of the hardware, third-party IT services, and software the organization uses.
You develop the strategy for what gets upgraded and when. You must keep track of new developments in hardware, software, and services, as you'll largely decide if those options will prove better than current solutions.
For example, you may decide if a software-as-a-service solution is a better choice than renewing the license for an in-house software suite.
People often move into the enterprise architect role from other roles like database admins or network managers. What you do need is some experience in a broad cross-section of IT skills. For someone looking to land an architect engineer position specifically, here's a sample roadmap.
You'll want at least an undergraduate degree. Ideally, you'll get one in computer science or something very closely related, such as IT management.
Different organizations want different levels of education. Some will accept undergraduate degrees, while others will want a master's degree.
Getting a master's degree can make you more employable, but it also adds around two years to your education.
You can potentially split the difference with a graduate certificate.
You can also boost your cred with certifications. You can look for specific certifications, such as:
You can also look for an enterprise architect certification that covers all of those bases. A certification that covers all of those frameworks makes you a more attractive candidate. It also leaves you better prepared to walk into more organizations.
IT education spends the majority of its time on hard skills, largely out of necessity. You need those hard skills to do the technical elements of your job.
Unfortunately, that focus on career hard skills means a lot of IT professionals start their careers with underdeveloped soft skills. A few common soft skills that you must have for success as an enterprise architect include:
An enterprise architect must regularly communicate with stakeholders both inside and outside of the IT department. If you can't translate the tech-speak into something a CFO can understand, you'll have a hard time getting buy-in to change the software the finance department uses.
You'll also need conflict resolution skills to manage your own subordinates, as well as manage the sometimes conflicting needs of different departments.
There are a blessed few who apparently come into the world equipped with great leadership skills. They are the very rare exception. For most people, you must develop good leadership skills.
There are courses you can take, but experience is often the best teacher. Volunteer to manage small projects and work your way up to large projects.
That experience will help you learn about leading and motivating other people. It also forces you to deal with realities like managing a budget and hitting deadlines for deliverables.
It's also a good chance for you to find your own shortcomings when the stakes are lower. Finding those shortcomings early lets you work on them.
Nobody lands an enterprise architect job right out of the gate. You must accumulate some experience. Don't focus too hard on one area.
If possible, get some experience in different areas of IT. This fleshes out your resume, but it also gives you a ground-level picture of the realities in those areas. That experience and knowledge will let you make more informed decisions later.
While it's not a hard and fast rule, assume you'll need about 5 years to 10 years of IT experience before you can realistically get an enterprise architect position.
As with most career fields, many factors influence what you can expect to make as an enterprise architect. Some of the factors include:
Someone applying for a position at a Chicago-based company can likely expect a higher salary to reflect the higher cost of living. If you're applying for your first enterprise architect position, your lack of experience will typically mean a lower starting salary.
On the whole, though, enterprise architects earn an excellent salary with an average of around $150,000 per year.
While the salary is a big reason why many people consider an enterprise architect career one of the best careers in America, it's not the only reason.
It's a career that lets you dip your toes into multiple areas of IT. It also gives you a great excuse to keep up-to-date on all of the latest tech trends.
It offers leadership opportunities for those who want it, but lets you escape some of the pressures of working in the C-suite.
Advised Skills specialises in business education with a particular eye toward IT. For more information, contact Advised Skills today.
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