Architecture is hot

If you want your business to thrive in the digital economy, you need to hire enterprise architects.

The role of enterprise architects is complex. Whether they are called system architects, chief architects, business solutions architects, ultimately, their job is to manage change.

Enterprise architecture (EA) guides the way an enterprise works, beginning with the business strategy, ending at the IT infrastructure, and including everything in between. It provides a template of how the business is structured and how each and every part relates to the other. Only by having a full understanding of how the disparate parts of a company work together, can the business properly plan for the future.

The enterprise architect’s job is to set the overall context, and establish what needs to be common across the organisation, creating patterns and standards for how it must be applied at the project level. Enterprise architects are a conduit between the enterprise context and any application-specific needs, to ensure the solution satisfies the project requirements and harmonises with the architecture itself.

EA is also about the employees and stakeholders within the business. How individuals interact with technology is as important to the enterprise architect as the technology itself.

It’s unsurprising, then, that enterprise architects are in high demand. Their role is one of the most challenging in ICT today, and they are aptly rewarded – enterprise architects have consistently topped the list of best paid IT professionals in SA, according to ITWeb’s annual IT Salary Survey.

“Salaries in the architecture field are buoyed by a shortage of skills, particularly evident in southern Africa,” says Stuart Macgregor, CEO of Real IRM, a specialist EA consultancy and training provider.

ComputerWorld’s ‘10 hottest tech skills for 2016’ report has a new entrant in the number one spot, and it’s ‘IT architecture’, encompassing a range of architecture specialists, from enterprise architecture to cloud architecture. And a survey by Australian recruitment firm Robert Half positioned enterprise architecture as one of its top five hottest IT jobs in 2016.

Macgregor says the field of EA becomes pivotal as organisations step up digital transformation efforts. To transform the organisation in the digital economy, most large companies need to thoroughly rethink their operations. This, he explains, is only possible with a concerted focus on architecture and experts in the EA sphere being on-hand to guide the transition.

“We’ve seen a significant rise in the number of IT professionals that are looking to upskill themselves with certifications in the EA field,” he notes.

Certifications from the global consortium, The Open Group, are gaining value as EA industry standards continue to mature. InfoWorld named both The Open Group Master Certified IT Specialist, as well as The Open Group Master Architect, in its list of IT certifications that paid off the most in 2015. This is backed up by a recent Foote Partners report, which surveyed over 2 600 employers across 43 industries and revealed the highest paying IT skills were in the areas of data architecture and The Open Group Architecture Framework.


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