Friday, March 02, 2007
Should Enterprise Architects be certified?
I have asked myself whether certification in this space is something worthy of pursuit and have concluded no. The first question I have asked myself was if I go through the work of pursuing this certification, will my own employer care? I then asked will other employers care? and the answer was pretty much the same.
Essentially there are three forms of enterprise architects. The first exist in the federal government who have the responsibility of producing lots of comprehensive documentation that no one will ever consume. They live under the repeat-after-me your call is important to us mantra of frameworks from Zachman, TOGAF, etc and from this perspective appear very mature yet really have no real successes to speak of.
The second group of folks tends to be those employed by consulting firms who offer enterprise architecture services but otherwise aren't really enterprise architects. I suspect that this demographic will be the first to pursue this certification if it takes off.
The third and most important group are enterprise architects who are directly employed by large enterprises who have responsibility for not only making things happen but feel the pain when things don't. I have no evidence that a single individual from this demographic even participated in the creation of this certification. There was probably one, but I suspect that the creation of the certification was dominated by the other two groups.
Anyway, do we really need another code of conduct? If you are employed by a publicly-held corporation you already have to attest to following a pretty rigorous one on an annual basis. Likewise, if there is an action that moves the enterprise forward and it doesn't violate your employers code of conduct but doesn't violate the code of conduct of enterprise architects, would one advocate letting the enterprise fail in order to uphold a principle?
A general trend within most enterprises has been to not pay for pursuit of certifications as the value of them to the enterprise is somewhat questionable. I can say that certifications I have achieved in the past have helped me find a new employer, but not necessarily helped me with the employer that paid for them.
I wonder if folks have any sense as to what a day in the life of an enterprise architect feels like? I can tell you that in terms of time, the vast majority of us aren't spending a lot of time thinking about new architecture principles, but we do spend more time in terms of influencing others which is vital to the sucess of enterprise architecture and difficult for any test administered by outsiders to measure.
For folks who will get it twisted, I am not fearful of tests or certifications. In fact, I have achieved over 27 in my career. For example, in terms of Microsoft, I have achieved MCSE, MCSD, MCT, MCSE+I, etc. For Cisco, I am a CCNP and the list goes on...
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