By Tim Green
The technology issues that organizations must deal with just keep coming. Cloud computing, cybersecurity threats, big data, generative artificial intelligence, and others generate opportunities and headaches. Organizations can leverage these technologies — the opportunity, but to do so they have to incorporate them into existing frameworks — the headache.
Enterprise architects and software architects are used to designing and building systems in rapidly changing IT environments. They can do it even better if their organizations view the roles as essentially the same role.
“We are not seeing enterprise architecture and software architecture viewed separately. Instead they are being viewed holistically under the umbrella of IT infrastructure,” Paul Preiss, the founder of IASA Global. “This will benefit practitioners and the organizations they work for.”
The softening of the line between enterprise architects and software architects can be seen in higher education where programs in software architecture have joined enterprise architecture programs.
“What we are seeing in higher education is a reflection of where the industry is going,” Preiss said.
Enterprise architecture is about the big picture, making sure a company’s technology infrastructure matches its business needs now and in the future. The demands change as the business shifts and as new technologies come to the fore and others recede.
Software architecture is similar. It strives to match the software a company uses to a company’s business needs. It, however, does not always have the bird’s eye view that an enterprise architect might have, concentrating on narrower technology needs than an enterprise architect might.
Enterprise and software architects overlap to varying degrees in areas like technology and strategic focus and planning, according to Ardoq, a maker of enterprise architecture software.
But the concerns of enterprise architects and software architects are similar, if not very much the same. So are the tools they use to address the concerns.
Cooperation and collaboration between enterprise architects and software architects benefits their organizations by setting common, well-understood goals for what the organization’s technology needs are and how to achieve them.
Enterprise architects and software architects get to their positions in much the same way. According to MEGA, a developer of enterprise architecture software, it starts with undergraduate degrees in computer science or information technology or a similar area of study and then on to about a decade of IT experience. That experience should include working with computer systems or mainframes. Also required are skills in communications, problem solving, and teamwork.
Institutions of higher learning in the United States, Mexico and Canada are gearing students for real world collaboration with programs in enterprise architecture and software architecture at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as continuing education opportunities.
“These college and university programs play an invaluable role in furthering the profession by training the next generation of technologists as well as supporting existing ones,” Preiss said. “They complement what is being done in the industry with regard to continuing education.”
For that reason, we took a snapshot at what is being offered, listing below dozens of institutions in alphabetical order that one should know about.
Autonomous University of Mexico City
The Autonomous University of Mexico City provides study in software architecture in its software engineering program. The course of study helps students understand the basics of software architecture, its method and processes, and how to build a system. The program includes theoretical instruction as well as practical application of the information. Click here to learn more.
The Massachusetts university’s Metropolitan College offers an enterprise architecture course as part of its Computer Science program. It’s designed to build upon the strong technical foundation of BU’s MSCIS and MSCS curricula by providing students with the CIO-level management perspective and skills. The course covers both the migration of legacy enterprise systems and new enterprise architecture development, vendor selection and management, cybersecurity in the enterprise, and complex system integration. Click here for more information.
Carnegie Mellon University
The Institute for Software Research, Executive and Professional Education, offers training courses in the concepts of EA, including major frameworks, program establishment, implementation methods, documentation products, and maturity measurement. The courses review the history and major approaches to EA. The series includes hands-on assignments designed to produce a Web-based EA repository and to populate it with common documentation products and artifacts. Also, students explore ways to link EA repository information for analysis and decision-making. The objective is to integrate strategic, business, and technology planning to achieve the organization’s goals. Click here for more information.
Drexel offers a Software Architecture Graduate Certificate program in its College of Computing & Informatics. The program provides tools for working with software architectures from design through implementation. Consisting of five courses, the program can be taken on Drexel’s Philadelphia campus or online. The year-long program includes required courses in software design and software architecture, two core electives, and two electives chosen by the student. Topics the elective courses cover include databases, distributed software, security software, and open source software. Click here for more information.
The virtual university, which is headquartered in Colorado, provides self-paced online courses as part of an enterprise architecture certification program. The program is designed to give students exposure to the Enterprise Ontology and a range of framework and methodology choices with specialization in the Department of Defense Architecture Framework and the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework. Click here for more information.
The Feld Group Institute
The Dallas-based institute provides an Operationalizing Enterprise Architecture course for enterprise architects, leaders of enterprise architecture, portfolio/domain architects and business architects. The program focuses on enterprise architecture required for business agility. It begins with a discussion on why architecture matters, including the history of architecture and the evolution of patterns. Participants will learn about the importance of all three transformation outcomes: business, architecture, and productivity. Real-world case studies are used to highlight key principles. The course wraps up with the importance of leadership to drive change within the organization. Click here for more information.
The Florida university provides a graduate certificate to students who complete the four-course sequence. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, physical sciences, computing or mathematics from an ABET-accredited university. Applicants with degrees in other fields will be considered on a case-by-case basis and be able to move into the Florida Tech master’s degree program in systems engineering, if desired. Click here for more information.
The New York university’s Gabelli School of Business provides an Enterprise Architecture track as part of its information systems program. The EA track is designed to prepare students to design and build systems — and to implement them, manage them and leverage them. Students who complete the program will understand how to create new business processes. Coursework will equip them to handle enterprise-wide integration, enable information sharing, devise novel services and create innovative business models. This track also includes course options about information technology applications within a specific industry, such as health care. Click here for more information.
Kent State University
Ohio-based Kent State offers an EA graduate certificate as part of its School of Digital Sciences. The EA program focuses on the business processes and technology infrastructure needed by an organization and the design of software systems that are aligned with the processes and infrastructure to support the goals of the business. It’s designed to prepare students for careers such as solution architect and application or technology architect. Click here for more information.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The university’s Sloan Executive Education division offers an online course that covers enterprise architecture without using the name. The title of the six-week program says it all: Organizational Design for Digital Transformation. It takes a deep dive into the foundational dimensions of digital transformation. The key dimensions enable organizations to leverage technology. The program also explores how business leaders can influence organizational mindset to change deeply held, traditional practices. Click here for more information.
Green is a seasoned business journalist with more than 30 years of experience.
Part 2 will be Published on Wednesday.