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Do IT Architects Need Better Certification?

The Industry Association of Software Architects conference is set to take place later this month in New York.

As I reported last month, this month's IASA IT Architect Regional Conference is being billed as the largest gathering of IT architects because such luminaries as Grady Booch, Len Bass, John Zachman, Eric Evans, Rob High and Angela Yochem are slated to speak.

According to IASA CEO Paul Preiss, many of these architects have never met each other. But also at the conference, IASA is kicking off a new certification program for IT and software architects.

The new professional CITA program involves intensive training, according to Preiss. "It is a full board examination by a set of peers that actually tests an architect on their ability to deliver against the IASA skills taxonomy," he said. "So it basically says that IASA claims that this person is not only an architect but a good architect."

The report begged the question by Peter Kent, a program manager at G&B Solutions in Reston, VA. "How will the IASA certification be different from FEAC enterprise architecture certification?" he asked.

I ran the question by Preiss, and here's his answer.

  • CITA is a multi-level, multi-specialization certification. We have entry level and full professional levels.
  • CITA is not related to a particular framework such as TOGAF, FEAF, or DODAF.
  • CITA is skill based and therefore focused on delivery underlying all frameworks and implementations.
  • CITA is run and delivered by the profession. For a distinction think about the difference (make believe) between the current board certifications for doctors and one run by Pfizer.
  • Last but not least, CITA is based on a common distinguishing value proposition for all architects. With both FEAC and ITAC it is difficult to determine what they suggest architecture is, much less why employers should hire them.

It will be interesting to see how many take advantage of  the newCITA program, especially in these tight economic times. Many who are either independent or work for organizations that have slashed their training budgets may have to flip the bill themselves, presuming they feel it will enhance their career prospects.

What's your take? Drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on October 1, 2009