As previously announced here, we at the SEI are planning a track on architecture certification at SATURN 2010, including a panel discussion with representatives from Siemens, the International Association of Software Architects (IASA), the SEI, and other organizations.
An example of the increasing demand for credentialed architecture expertise comes from the U.S. Army. In a memo signed by Lieutenant General N. Ross Thompson, principal military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (Mil Dept of ASA [ALT]), on May 26, 2009, the U.S. Army mandated that all program executive offices (PEOs) appoint a chief software architect (CSWA) to be responsible for oversight and management of software development within each PEO. The memo also specified that the CSWA must earn a Software Architecture Professional Certificate from the SEI (or equivalent).
An article by R. Rivera, “Am I Doing Architecture or Design Work?” (IT Professional, Volume 9, Issue 6, Nov.-Dec. 2007 Page(s):46 – 48) discusses architecture certification at Hewlett-Packard Services and speculates that “Certification might become mandatory over time in the same way that Project Management Institute certification is expected for all HP Services program and project managers.”
CIOs are paying less for IT certifications than they did three years ago, but there are a few exceptions to this rule. One of them is IT architecture, which has seen a 10% rise in the value of certifications during the past year, the Foote report says.
Foote says companies are looking to hire enterprise architects as well as system, network, application, data, information and security architects. Among the certifications rising in value are EMC Proven Professional Technology Architect, Security Certified Network Architects, Microsoft Certified Architects, SNIA Certified Architects, and the Open Group’s IT Certified Architect.
Architecture certifications fall into two categories: internal, company-specific certifications and external, general certifications.
Examples of internal, company-specific certifications include
- Boeing Software Architect Certification. For a description, see this SEI technical note.
- Raytheon Certified Architect Program (RCAP)
- Siemens internal qualification and certification program
- Capgemini System Architect Certification
Anyone can earn external, general certifications if they go through the prescribed steps. Examples include
- The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF)
- Federated Enterprise Architecture Certification (FEAC) Institute
- Sun-Certified Enterprise Architect
- SAP Enterprise Architect Certification
- IASA IT Architect Certification
- SEI ATAM certification and certificate programs. The SEI offers a certification for leaders of Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method® (ATAM®) architecture evaluations. We also offer two certificate programs in software architecture, the Software Architecture Professional certificate and the ATAM Evaluator certificate. Both require a score of 75% or higher on an examination based on information found in the SEI Software Architecture: Principles and Practices course materials and in the course textbook, Software Architecture in Practice (2nd edition), by Len Bass, Paul Clements, and Rick Kazman.
We are interested to hear from you about architecture certifications. What certification programs, internal or external, are you familiar with? How important are they in your organization? How do you tell which programs best measure an architect’s capabilities, or which ones are right for you and your organization? We welcome your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.
– Bill Pollak, SEI