David Foote on EA careers #ogtoronto

Foote presented some interesting – but for this primarily Canadian audience, not completely relevant – statistics on US unemployment; he added the comment “I assume it’s the same in Canada”. Would have been good if he had actually taken 5 minutes to research our job market before presenting here, because there are some significant differences, although many similarities. He followed this with the rather obvious observation that there is always a shortage of talented people with specific skills, and that in an economic downturn, companies are looking to hire quality rather than quantity.

He brought forward recent Gartner research that showed that more than half of EA programs will be stopped in 2009, and that the remaining ones will embrace cloud computing but will struggle with framework and information management problems. Foote pooh-poohed this, and said that there were only a handful of good analysts out there, and that this was not based in fact. The implication is, of course, that he’s one of those good analysts. 🙂

There’s some pretty interesting numbers about pay scales for architects in his research, which was gathered from cities across the US and Canada: although there are a lot of people out of work and salaries are going down, architects with certain certifications are holding steady or even increasing their worth. Whereas the value (presumably measured by pay) of web developers has dropped by over 28% in the past 12 months, architects and project managers – which were, inexplicably, combined – increased by over 4%. Topping the list are Check Point Certified Master Architects and Microsoft Certified Architects, each of which increased in value by 20% in the past 12 months. There are some non-certified skills gaining in value, too: I’m not at all surprised to see process leading the pack at 8.3% increase, since an economic downturn favors process improvement projects.

He showed us some detailed stats on pay scales for architects across a range of US and Canadian cities, and summarized for each country: enterprise architects, data architects, information architects, senior applications architects, applications architects, security architect and director of architecture. He presents these (and therefore architecture in general) as purely IT roles: this is all in the context of IT pay scales, and contains nothing on business architects.

The presentation finished with some of the barriers to enterprise architecture:

  • Many EAs live in a siloed world, funded by business silo, and are expected to bridge silos with “nickel and dime” funding
  • There is a disconnect between IT leadership and EA governance, with many CIOs focused on short-term operational demands versus long-term optimization
  • EAs will have to go through various stages of maturity before their job potential is fulfilled
  • The EA role is not defined well enough to model and operate a successful EA organization

This last bit was interesting, but didn’t really flow from the remainder of the presentation, which presented the IT architect job and pay survey results.

3 thoughts on “David Foote on EA careers #ogtoronto”

  1. According to his Linked-In entry, Mr Footle “publishes world’s most comprehensive IT skills pay survey”.


    Sounds as if he has the data but can’t be bothered to do the analysis or change his slides.

    While his comments on the barriers to EA are probably correct, they don’t sound very original to me. Did he have anything new or analytical to say about these barriers, or was he just spouting received wisdom?

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