Monday, July 8, 2013

Are You Certifiable?

I am asked this far more than you might imagine. Often it is after I’ve recalled some obtuse nugget of information like, Q is the only letter that does not appear in the name of any U.S. State.

Over the course of my life, as the conditions have changed I have sought various certifications in disciplines related to the needs and trajectory of my career. This would include programming languages, databases, as well as object oriented, web, and project management venues.

Did you know Russia has more land area than Pluto. Pluto is colder.

In most cases, I could say that my job performance did not significantly change after a certification, although in every case I had a better understanding of why we did the things we did, and I could communicate with other certifiees more effectively.

Should you consider a certification in TOGAF, ATAM, or Enterprise Architecture?

A 2007 survey by Forrester Research found that 65% of responding organizations indicated that a certification in Enterprise Architecture was not an important criteria in their hiring of Architects, although almost half believed it would become so in the future. Gartner’s Hype Cycle for 2012 shows that EA Certifications had not yet reached their Peak of Inflated Expectations.

Did you know 43% of all statistics are made up? 72% of all Internet rumors are actually created by Snopes.com as a way to drive traffic. It’s true, look it up.

An EA certification is not likely to elevate your skills, or those of the enterprises’, to new levels of efficiency, effectiveness, or productivity... overnight.

So, it is worth it?

Education is never wasted, but beyond that consider the benefits to aligning with your peers on nomenclature, trends, priorities, and even broad processes. EA is still a nascent discipline. Everything we do as practitioners to formalize our craft can only improve our deliveries, our reputations, and our performance.

There is also the matter of critical mass. Having one out of 100 architects certified will not create a tipping point for language, processes, or perspectives. I’m not sure what the magic percent is, but it’s probably over 30%. An organization with a significant number of certified Architects should outperform non-certified organizations. Simply put, in which company would you rather work?

Unlike the random facts that invade my conversations (and blog entries), certifications require one to understand the depths of a topic; the purpose, the structure, and the industry’s best thinking.

So the question of the day is, are you certifiable?

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