Whats the value of TOGAF certification? August 27, 2008Posted by Chris Eaton in EA, mentoring.
Tags: application architecture, Business Architecture, Certification, EA, EA employment opportunities, enterprise architect, enterprise architecture, infrastructure architecture, integration architecture, mentoring, ROI of TOGAF certification, technology, TOGAF, TOGAF certification, what do enterprise architects do all day, who uses EA
A mentee wrote to me with the following questions on whether TOGAF certification is worthwhile and where it might lead, here is my take on what he asked about…
- How do I become TOGAF certified?
- What kind of insight you will be able to give in terms of the Return on investment of TOGAF certification?
- If I take the TOGAF exam right away what kind of opportunities should I look for and who are the potential employers?
- At this stage what would my typical work profile be if I get a EA job?
How do I become TOGAF certified?
There are two routes to TOGAF certification, the first is simply to sit the exam, the second is to attend a TOGAF certified course which takes 4 or 5 days to go through all of the TOGAF material and results in certification and there is no exam. I have TOGAF certification through the course. I have read that the exam is relatively straightforward but like all exams preparation is key and a decent knowledge of TOGAF is needed Take a look at the Open Group website for TOGAF Certification
What kind of insight you will be able to give in terms of the Return on investment of TOGAF certification?
For me TOGAF certification has been a great investment. I achieved certification by taking the certification approved course and I should add that the course was paid for by IBM. My own situation is about to change and I am about to leave IBM to work for another multinational based here in the United Kingdom. My new employer has checked my TOGAF certification credentials and I believe this gives an indication that they considered this very important. I also want to add that holding TOGAF certification alone is not likely to convince a potential employer that you can work as an Enterprise Architect. Some work experience in the Enterprise Architecture area is likely to be very desireable. This leads into the question how do I find my first EA role? That is a great question, one not easily answered and perhaps the subject for a future post :)
If I take the TOGAF exam right away what kind of opportunities should I look for and who are the potential employers?
EA remains a relatively specialised field, it is likely that most work will be with larger organisations. In my mind Enterprise Architecture is very much about the optimisation of available IT spend to ensure that available investment money is directed to strategic IT systems rather than wasting money investing in short term or legacy systems. Larger organisations are more likely to have problems with these aspects of investment since often they have disparate IT offerings and duplicate systems resulting from a lack of coordination across companies and countries or because they are making acquisitions who have made their own IT which may or may not match the IT of the buyer.
In terms of potential employers there is tremendous interest in EA at the moment in all sorts of organisations. You can either look to work directly for organisations like banks, manufacturers, retailer etc, or look for work in an Enterprise Architecture consultancy. If you wanted to move into EA consultancy then most of the large consultancies have EA practices. I know IBM, HP, Cap Gemini all have EA practices and are recruiting at the moment and I am sure there are other smaller or specialised companies in the EA space.
At this stage what would my typical work profile be if I get a EA job?
This is a really good question. EA is very broad in its scope, and the EA means different things to different people and organisations. The major interest area tends to be creating strategic ‘to-be’ architectures which often (always?) includes looking at the as-is architecture and what exists today and making decisions on what the strategic architecture should look like in future. A huge part of EA in general is communicating and selling your ideas and vision. The main area that I work in is the evaluation of IT offerings against the business processes and business requirements and selecting the strategic applications and middleware to meet those requirements. I would call this Enterprise Application Architect. In my mind there are four technology specialties which coincidently match how TOGAF splits EA into Business, Applications, Infrastructure and Data. In no particular order they are:
- Enterprise Applications Architect, as described above this looks mainly at creating strategic architectures focussed on software, both applications and integrations
- Enterprise Infrastructure Architect looking at hardware, networks, operating systems, server locations and capacity etc, and within this further specialization would be Security and Networking.
- Enterprise Business Architects, looking specifically at business processes design and optimization
- Enterprise Data Architects looking at data requirements, placement, maintenance and reporting
Deploying or improving governance processes like architecture review boards, IT spend planning and change management is also likely to be part of the work.
So in summary you could be doing anything in the EA space :)