Today there is a focus on specific architecture or EA certifications. Year after year I am finding that Enterprise Architecture certifications are becoming more important to architects. Back in 2007, I remember reading an article from Gene Leganza called, “Is EA Certification Important?”. In that article he stated that 65% of the people he had surveyed stated that EA certification is not important but he also noted that a significant minority stated they were including EA certification criteria in their hiring processes.
I believe this has changed quite a bit.
We continue to see the very positive trends in terms of investment in EA skills throughout the industry and the world. Below is a snapshot of some of the trends in a presentation I gave on certifications internally at Microsoft.
But there is one small wrinkle in this. The hypothetical question I ask is, “Does the business value your EA certification? Does that EA certification alone instill confidence in the business leaders?” To some degree. I would assert that alone it doesn’t because it doesn’t cover all the concerns of the business but does cover all the concerns of an EA.
Why do I say this? The reason for this is that the business expects you to have those certifications because you are an EA. That part is a given. However, if you want to be a true partner, they expect you to operate like the business and truly empathize with the business. Use their methods, models and tools. If that is the case, complement your EA certification with a MBA or equivalent is in order.
Enterprise Architecture Certification Reference Guide
The Enterprise Architect Certification Reference Guide serves as an atlas to navigate the specific certifications for a Enterprise Architecture (EA). Other areas of architecture such as domain or solution architecture are within the corresponding Certification Reference Guides. The reference guide decomposes certifications into a framework that allows the EA to identify the certifications that are right for them. Starting with certifications that validate an EA’s competencies (experience and skills), then to certifications that derive from a specific business or industry set of concerns to the foundational certifications that enhance the skills of EA’s and will aid in the acquisition of competencies.
As shown above, the Enterprise Architect Certification Guide provides a framework to how to think about EA certifications.
Below is a description of each aspect:
Competency Based Certifications – These certifications are focused at evaluating your experience to validate that you are indeed an architect. Much like many other certifications in the industry (e.g., PMP). These are much different to others that determine what you know instead of how you applied the knowledge.
Industry / Specialized Certifications – Driven from a predetermined set of concerns such as the federal government or a specific industry is where these derive from. While these certifications are critical in that vertical, often times they do not transfer well across verticals given the difference in drivers and motivations of these very specific bodies of knowledge.
Foundational Certifications – Provides the essential skills for EA’s. These certifications are different from the other two in the respect that they validate that you’re an architect while foundational certifications validate that you know a specific methods, models and/or tools. These certifications are essential to EA’s as they populate the EA’s toolbox. For example, without an overall enterprise architecture framework how would we be truly effective as EA’s?
Applied – Divided into two primary areas, Academic and Vendor Tailored they either support a certification or provide a certification highly tailored. These are in a supporting function to Competency Based Certifications.
Supporting Certifications and Learning’s – These certifications make a well rounded enterprise architect. These are often referred to or leveraged in the day in the life of an EA.