How to become an enterprise architect ?

For past few years, quite a few employees, contractors, consultants, right sourcing consultants in the organization asked me this question, what they should do to work for me? In other words, how they could become an enterprise architect. Generally, when someone has this question in the organization, I asked them to schedule a mentoring meeting and try to understand what they want to do and how their aspiration and ambition fits into an enterprise architect’s requirement and coach them accordingly. When this questions became a frequently asked question to me, I decided to document the state transition diagram for an enterprise architect and started providing it to whom ever wants to become an enterprise architect.

I believe this has a value to anyone who wants to become an enterprise architect. This state transition is an ideal road map to become an enterprise architect. When I attended a Gartner conference recently, I informally bounced this idea with fellow enterprise architecture managers, chief architects, chief strategist and most of them agreed that this is the ideal road map for developing enterprise architect talent in an organization.

9 thoughts on “How to become an enterprise architect ?

  1. Pingback: architect » Blog Archive » How to become an enterprise architect ?

  2. Pingback: How to become an enterprise architect ?

  3. Dear Alan,

    The EA talent development road map (state diagram) illustrates to acquire the business and data (information) knowledge, competency; skills during the business analyst and infrastructure technical service/support roles.

    • I agree that the entry point should be available for other professionals to become an enterprise architect. However, I want to emphasis that system/application development experience and skills attained during that role significantly used during the enterprise architecture role. It brings the practicality to the enterprise architecture role. Personally I have seen enterprise architects who have never done system/application development in their life lacked practical approach in their EA recommendation.
    • Another important aspect that the road map does not illustrate the financial exposure an enterprise architect must have. . Enterprise architects must understand IT financial management and its alignment to the landscape, over all budget, etc to perform any enterprise planning.

    Thank you,
    -Praba Siva

  4. I think it’s great to have something like this to act as a guideline. I also agree with Alan that a lot more intimate knowledge of the business is vital to become a successful EA. I would just challenge that it is a guideline, not everyone needs the time and experience you’ve listed, just as some people will need longer at certain stages.

    I’ve been thinking about this, what do you think are the types of questions that an architect should be able to ask themselves and honestly answer before deciding that they are/should be at the level of a true EA? As a hiring manager of someone at this level, what are you looking for?


  5. Dear Eott,

    Hiring an enterprise architect who would add value to the organization is very challenging. For so long in the industry (in my observation), there is a perception that EA concept and EA does NOT have any ROI (I believe Gartner consultants and their research papers played a major role seeding this notion in the industry and it is a misnomer about EA).

    In business, if there is no ROI for any role then that role is useless. I strongly do believe that EA does have ROI and particularly in the difficult economical times (like we are in right now). EA provides a foundation for any cost reduction, optimization opportunities to the organization.

    How to hire an en enterprise architect?
    Please see my blog to answer this questions..

  6. Pingback: How to become an architect (Enterprise, Application etc) - IHateSpaghetti {code}

  7. Pingback: Enterprise Architecture - Team Size Analysis « Enterprise Architecture & IT Strategy

  8. Pingback: My blog review in 2010 « Enterprise Architecture, IT Strategy & Others

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