The Art of Enterprise Architecture

Norah Altuwaim took the lessons she learned in the MSIT program and built a foundation to now support a transformative economic initiative in her native Saudi Arabia.

Norah Altuwaim (MSIT '17) spent more than two years working on enterprise architecture in Saudi Arabia at solutions by stc, a subsidiary of one of the largest telecom operators in the Middle East. During that time, she routinely relied on lessons learned in Northwestern Engineering's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program. 

Those lessons continue to be applicable today for Altuwaim, who is strategy director at a government agency supporting her homeland’s Saudi Vision 2030 plan, a government initiative to increase Saudi Arabia's economic, social, and cultural diversification. 

Norah AltuwaimAltuwaim’s work continues to center on enterprise architecture, the term for the blueprint that details how an entity aligns its processes, systems, and people to enable its strategy and achieve its goals. Enterprise architecture is as vital as design architecture is to the structural integrity of a massive building, Altuwaim said.

“A significant challenge I've observed within organizations is their ability to formulate cutting-edge strategies yet struggle when it comes to translating these strategies into actionable outcomes,” she said. “I've witnessed authentic strategy execution success emerge when organizations integrate the active role of enterprise architecture.”

Altuwaim said her educational background and MSIT experience helped prepare her to understand enterprise architecture and use it effectively on large-scale projects.

“The MSIT program emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach, blending technology with business acumen,” Altuwaim said. “This prepares graduates to effectively bridge the gap between technical expertise and business strategy, which is a highly sought-after skill in the modern workforce.”

Most important to her development were courses such as Internet of Things, Financial Management for IT Professionals, Human-Computer Interaction, and Strategic Marketing.

But singling out those courses would be an injustice to the overall program, Altuwaim said.  

“The program was meticulously designed with a flexible structure that empowers students to tailor their courses according to their preferences,” she said. “The program boasts a faculty of experts who often have direct industry experience. Their insights into real-world challenges and trends enrich the curriculum and ensure its relevance.”

Because of how her own MSIT experience prepared her for the massive undertaking with which she currently is involved, Altuwaim strongly recommends the program to those looking to boost their career trajectory.

She also had advice for those who do enroll.

“Immerse yourself in the gorgeous Northwestern campus and a truly global atmosphere that welcomes international students and esteemed faculty from around the world,” she said. “Engage in captivating conversations. Freely express your thoughts and ideas as you interact with a diverse community of colleagues who share your passion for learning and exploration.”

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