The Open Group's IT Architect Certification (ITAC) is now available in South Africa, bringing globally recognised standards and certification to the architecture profession.
Real IRM, South Africa's leading enterprise architecture practitioner, is facilitating the certification on behalf of The Open Group. Real IRM is the exclusive representative of The Open Group in South Africa.
ITAC provides a baseline of excellence to allow organisations and individuals to compare like with like when reviewing architecture skills and experience.
"ITAC provides a vital underpinning for any IT architect," says Paul van der Merwe, consulting manager at Real IRM. "It is the only certification of its sort which is entirely vendor-neutral, global in its application and standards, and totally portable, as it will be recognised by all employers. Through this highly credible certification, The Open Group is helping to grow the discipline of enterprise architecture in South Africa."
Real IRM has been hugely successful with TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework) training and certification, training and certifying more than 300 enterprise architects locally and abroad. Real IRM is the only company in South Africa that is able to help IT and enterprise architects plan and build a life-long career, from entrants to professionals, through its training and certification offerings.
"IT architects have gained in importance in recent years as more organisations come to depend on the impact and integrity of their decisions," says Van der Merwe. "But until recently there was no vendor-independent, industry-wide certification for IT architects. ITAC addresses this."
ITAC offers value for multiple constituencies:
* For end-user organisations: a mark of assurance when contracting architecture services, and a professional-level qualification when hiring staff.
* For vendor organisations: assurance to customers of the skills of their IT architects, and reduced time and cost in training new IT architects.
* For IT architects: global recognition, an industry credential, and elevation of their practice and quality control of IT architecture.
ITAC certifications are conferred on three levels: Certified IT architect, Master IT architect, and Distinguished IT architect. The highest level certifies that an IT architect has significant breadth and depth of impact on the business through the application of IT architecture.
The process begins with a package of base requirements; if the IT architect meets muster, he is submitted to The Open Group for initial review; this is followed by a board interview; and board approval or resubmission for further work. The process is repeated every three years to ensure IT architects' skills remain current and valid.
Some of the world's leading organisations have endorsed ITAC. Doug Tracy, global CTO of Rolls-Royce, says: "We endorse this initiative and are rapidly moving towards making this a requirement for every enterprise architect doing work for our company."
Tony Redmond, VP and CTO, HP Services, comments: "Certification of IT architects is long overdue and HP is proud to support The Open Group in their initiative to introduce and develop this important programme."
Tony Burke, chief architect of The Washington Post, notes: "Certification at an architectural level should be based on open standards and be vendor- and technology-neutral. That is why The Washington Post chose The Open Group as its certification authority for IT architects."
"IT architects are a unique breed," adds Van der Merwe. "To be certified, they need to have skills and experience producing architectures, along with technical depth and breadth in knowledge and experience; disciplined, method-driven execution; full lifecycle experience; leadership; and strong personal and professional skills."
There are 2100 certified IT architects worldwide. Given the success of TOGAF, where South Africa has around 10% of the world's TOGAF-certified enterprise architects, Van der Merwe expects hundreds of IT professionals to submit themselves for certification.