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Enterprise Architect vs. Software Architect: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A career in software architecture offers many opportunities for creativity and technical innovation. If you’re interested in this field, you may be wondering what the difference is between a software architect and an enterprise architect. Both positions require a high level of technical expertise, but there are key distinctions between the two. In this article, we compare and contrast these two job titles, and we provide information on the skills and experience you’ll need for each.

What is an Enterprise Architect?

Enterprise Architects design, implement and oversee an organization’s computer systems. They work with senior management to determine the company’s overall goals and objectives, then they create a plan to achieve these goals using information technology. Enterprise Architects also design, develop and oversee the implementation of new software applications. They work with programmers, analysts and other IT professionals to ensure that new applications meet the company’s needs and are compatible with existing systems. Enterprise Architects also create and maintain system documentation, including diagrams, flowcharts and other technical specifications.

What is a Software Architect?

Software Architects are responsible for the design and development of software applications. They work with software engineers to determine the best way to create, test and deploy new software programs. Software Architects also collaborate with other IT professionals to ensure that the software meets the needs of the business. They create detailed plans and models to illustrate how the software will function. Software Architects typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. They may also have experience working as a software engineer or developer.

Enterprise Architect vs. Software Architect

Here are the main differences between an enterprise architect and a software architect.

Job Duties

One of the biggest differences between an enterprise architect and a software architect is the type of duties they have. A software architect focuses primarily on designing architecture for software applications, while an enterprise architect concentrates more on business processes and strategies. This means that a software architect may not work directly with employees or clients, but an enterprise architect often does.

A software architect may also perform other duties related to software development. These can include coordinating teams of developers, evaluating programming languages and tools and ensuring security measures are in place. Conversely, an enterprise architect may perform duties outside of their specific field. For example, they may help IT departments with projects or review documents before sending them out to clients or customers.

Job Requirements

Enterprise architects typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. They might also pursue a master’s degree or earn certifications to help them attract the attention of employers more easily. Enterprise architects can also pursue a certification through The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), which is a globally recognized standard for enterprise architecture.

Software architects have a slightly different education path, as their work often focuses on technological systems. It’s important for them to first pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science or something similar. Some employers also like software architects to have experience in computer programming. Computer programming skills might help software architects develop software that departments can use to be more productive. If a software architect wanted to move into more managerial roles, it’s also helpful for them to gain leadership experience or certifications.

Work Environment

Software architects typically work in an office setting, while enterprise architects may travel to different locations and meet with clients. They also spend time working on projects that can last for months or years. Software architects often work during regular business hours, but they may have to respond to emails at night or on weekends if a client has questions about their project.

Enterprise architects usually work full-time jobs, but they may work overtime when completing large projects. They may also travel frequently to visit clients and attend conferences related to their field.


There are several similarities between enterprise architects and software architects in terms of the skills they use on the job. Both roles require excellent problem-solving skills to identify issues and develop solutions that meet the needs of their organization. They also both need strong technical skills to understand complex systems and design new ones.

However, there are some key differences in the skills required for these two roles. Enterprise architects typically need to have a more holistic view of an organization and be able to see how different departments and systems interact with each other. They also may need to have experience with business process improvement or change management. Software architects, on the other hand, focus more on the design of individual software applications and how they fit into an overall system. They need to have a deep understanding of programming languages and software development processes.


Enterprise architects earn an average salary of $144,955 per year, while software architects earn an average salary of $136,732 per year. Both of these average salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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