John Coleshaw | 4 July 2013

A review of qualifications related to EAs

I'm sometimes asked by delegates on my architecture courses, what qualifications there are for IT-related architects, such as Enterprise, Solution and Domain Architects. The answer is precious little, in terms of dedicated courses at establishments such as universities. Which therefore begs the question, "what training is useful for those pursuing, or who are in these disciplines?"

Well first and foremost there is on-the-job training. Call it experience-gathering, possibly even an "apprenticeship". How long might this last? In my experience the average age of those taking on an architecture role is at least 35 years of age. This means that in the intervening years they acquire specialist knowledge, perhaps in the fields of technology/infrastructure, or software engineering, or business analysis. They also need to get maximum exposure to the rigour of system development within an environment of Project Management . This should lead to the acquisition not only of valuable engineering or design experience, but also of the stakeholder pressures relating to system development.

To reach the role of Enterprise Architect takes even longer. Again in my experience the age of EAs is most commonly in their 50s. EAs, certainly in larger organisations, will have often spent many years in domain architecture roles. During this time they become familiar with thinking at a higher conceptual level, as well as dealing directly with many different stakeholders.

So what actual qualifications are there?

To start with there is The Open Group Architecture Framework, and its related Certified Architect syllabus. In many ways this the best place to start. It tackles perhaps the most important aspect of architecture - how to do the right things . At its heart is a process known as the Architecture Development Method. Within the framework is considerable detail on how the process works, techniques and guidelines on how to use it, and guidance on how to establish architecture governance. It approaches architecture from its broadest Enterprise scope, to the narrower solution scope.

Then there is the BCS Certificates in Enterprise and Solution Architecture . The intermediate certificate provides a more detailed grounding in the most important concepts than TOGAF. And the practitioner certificate adds to this real practice on how these concepts are applied - how to do things right .
Finally there is the Certified ArchiMate Practitioner syllabus, which addresses the absolutely critical subject of Architecture Description. A vital part of all architects' job is to effectively assimilate and communicate concepts. Once done they must articulate them in the clearest way. The ArchiMate 2 Specification provides a highly specialised architectural notation which, quite simply, should be used by all architects - how to describe things right .

With these certifications in mind, QA has now put together a programme of courses to help all architects to acquire the certifications above. It consists of the Certified TOGAF Architect; the BCS Practitioner Certificate in Enterprise and Solution Architecture (TOGAF architects are exempt from the Intermediate level); and the Certified ArchiMate Practitioner. Together these three qualifications provide the most comprehensive training for all architects.

John Coleshaw

John Coleshaw

Head of Enterprise Architecture

John Coleshaw looks after the Enterprise and Solution Architecture courses offered by QA. This includes TOGAF, BCS and shortly ArchiMate. He has been active in this line of training since 2002 which puts him very much in the vanguard of trainers in this dynamic, but immature discipline. Over the years he’s met many hundreds of architects, from senior to junior, and provided training to many of the largest organisations in the UK. He is an author on the subject, and contributor to various frameworks and reference models. Before entering the training environment, John spent many years in industry and commerce, during which time he was involved in architecting insurance, credit risk analysis and financial information systems. He is an early adopter of technologies – internet-based systems in the early 90s; expert systems in the late 80s; object-oriented design and development at about the same time.
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