Building the Foundation: The Steps to Becoming an Enterprise Architect

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Aug 18, 2018

Aug 18, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

An enterprise architect can earn an average of $125,000 every year for helping businesses design and execute their IT systems.

It's a new field, but one that's growing rapidly and has many people wondering about how to become an enterprise architect. Whether you're getting ready to go to college or already started your career, you can become an enterprise architect if you're willing to put in the work it takes.

As you'll soon see, there are several steps you'll need to take on this journey, but it's worth it in the end to be able to get paid to do something you love and are passionate about.

Keep reading to find out the steps you need to take to become an enterprise architect.

How to Become an Enterprise Architect

1. Bachelor's Degree

The first step to becoming an enterprise architect is to get a bachelor's degree in one of the component disciplines. Although it may seem strange, it's best to get one of these rather than the enterprise architecture degree that's offered at this level.

The best component architecture disciplines to choose from are:

  • Data architecture
  • Application architecture
  • Security architecture
  • Network architecture

Once you have one of these as a base, you can move onto the next step.

2. Master's Degree

There are now colleges that offer a master's degree in enterprise architecture, so that's where you'll want to go next. There are two reasons that you'll want to pursue a master's degree in enterprise architecture.

Make More Money

People with a master's degree earn an average of $12,000 more per year than people who only have a bachelor's degree. However, in the business realm, that gap is even greater.

So, if you want to boost your earnings as an enterprise architect, the best way to do that is to head back to school and get your master's degree.

Get More Knowledge

The main reason enterprise architects with master degrees are paid more is that they have more knowledge. The more you know, the better you'll be able to help the company you work for.

In today's competitive job market, knowledge matters. To get ahead, you need to show that you know what it takes to get the job done.

Where you go to get a master's degree in enterprise architecture is incredibly important. Because it's a fairly new industry, there are many programs that simply aren't up to par yet.

Be sure to do your research when selecting a program. A good program is one that teaches both technology and business management.

Some programs try to teach enterprise architecture as an extention of computer science. However, true enterprice architecture encompasses the managerial aspects within a business, not just the technical ones.

3. Apprenticeship

Once you've got a couple degrees under your belt, it's time to start learning in the trenches. Find an apprenticeship program and begin studying beneath an experienced enterprise architect that can teach you the ropes.

When choosing an apprenticeship program, take your time. You want to make sure you're finding one that will do more than just give you experience.

This is the time when you have the chance to ask questions and explore the practical side of enterprise architecture. It's crucial to have a mentor that is willing to work with you and answer those questions and guide you into a deeper knowledge of this industry.

Something else to consider is whether or not you want to get hired at that firm after your apprenticeship. Some programs will have a higher retention rate than others, so if you're hoping to stay put for a while, you'll want to look for one of these.

Typically, you'll spend between 3 and 4 years working under someone before you can start to call yourself an enterprise architect. Once you have this experience, it's time to head back to school to get certified.

4. Certification

The "school" you'll attend is fast though it might not be easy. To get certified, you'll need to start by going through a TOGAF certification training program. There, you'll learn everything you need for the exam.

These courses are typically just a few days long but are fairly intense as there's a lot of information packed into a short amount of time. However, if you've already gone through a degree program, you should mostly be reviewing things at this point.

After you complete the courses, then you'll take the TOGAF certified exam. There are two parts to the exam, a Foundation level which shows you know the proper terms, and a Certified level in which you demonstrate your abilities as an enterprise architect.

Congratulations! You are now a certified enterprise architect!

5. Doctorate Degree (optional)

This step is completely up to you. Many don't take it and are perfectly happy to be enterprise architects. However, if you do want to go even a step further with enterprise architecture, then this is for you.

Getting your doctorate degree allows you to write a thesis that could contribute to enterprise architecture research. It will also allow you to teach others at a university level so you can pass your knowledge onto the next generation.

If this sounds like something you'd like to do, then you'll have to pick a related field since there aren't currently any universities that are offering doctorates in enterprise architecture.

Some of the other fields you could pursue a degree in include:

  • Systems engineering
  • Technology management
  • Engineering management

However, since the road to become an enterprise architect is so long, there may be degree programs available by the time you get to that point in your career!

Read More

Now you know how to become an enterprise architect. Keep in mind as you go that it's a process, and you'll enjoy it so much more if you see it as a journey rather than just a destination.

If you want to read more career tips, be sure to check out our blog. There, you can find articles on everything job-related and may even be able to find your first job that leads to your success as an enterprise architect.