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IASA to Announce New Board-Certified Architect Program at ITARC Architecture Conference in New York

by Michael Bushe on Oct 09, 2009 |

The International Association of Software Architects (IASA), the world's largest professional association of IT Architects, will bring together thought leaders including Grady Booch, Eric Evans, and Bill Inmon at the IT Architecture Regional Conference (ITARC) in New York next week. The non-profit IASA is launching two new Certified IT Architect (CITA) programs at the conference. CITA-Foundation is a test-based certification for architecture fluency. CITA-Professional is a board reviewed program, where peers personally validate competencies, modeled after similar certifications in engineering, law, and other professions. After 5 years of research into how the industry should define the ephemeral term "architect", the certifications will focus on competencies in Business Technology Strategy, Business Architecture, Design, IT Environment, Quality Attributes, and Human Dynamics in three specializations: software, infrastructure and information architecture.

InfoQ discussed the ITARC conference and CITA certifications with IASA President Paul Preiss.

InfoQ: Some of our readers may not know what the IASA does, can you please explain?

Preiss: The IASA is a non-profit professional association for all types of IT architects. Our mission is to develop, formalize and empower the profession of IT architecture. Our goals include training, certification, internship programs, academic accreditation and other standard professional leadership activities such as the formation of international chapters and a global congress of architects who lead the profession. The IASA and has grown to over 50 chapters in 35 countries since its founding in 2002.

InfoQ: You have quite a collection of architecture thought leaders in New York next week.

Preiss: Yes, we were very happy that all of these individuals chose to join us at this special event. Many of them like Grady Booch and Roger Sessions have been with IASA for some time but we are thrilled to welcome them all. In fact this is the first time that a number of these leaders have ever met! This is astounding to me, that many of these leaders influence thousands of individuals, projects and teams, yet there is no coordination of where they want the profession to go. That is why we are also hosting a private summit with all of our thought leaders to share directions and goals for the coming year. We hope that this Thought Leader Summit each year will allow IASA to facilitate their goals throughout our professional network.

InfoQ: The conference serves many different types of architects, can you talk about the available tracks?

Preiss: The conference is broken up in a unique way in industry. IASA is the only organization that recommends that all architects within all specializations share a common skill set (underlying their specialized one) and we have been very successful in our ITARCs in bringing these different ‘types’ of architects together. So we have a fundamentals track for things all architects share, a software architecture track for the software folks, infrastructure, business and information tracks to bring all of these often disparate groups together. This is very different from anything else available. Most conferences really only speak to a small percentage of the profession.

InfoQ: Certifications are often scoffed at by IT professionals. What makes the CITA Professional certification worthy of notice?

Preiss: You know IT is really not familiar with what professions are really like and the kind of stability they bring. For 50 years it has been the Wild West and what do we have to show for that? 80% of spending on maintenance and 65% failed projects? Being treated like the red-headed stepchild of business? Many other professions - finance, law, accounting, medicine, even electricians and hair stylists - learned that without a real profession and the support that it brings, you cannot grow and you can never really know what you are getting. The IASA model has worked successfully for all of those other professions (all we did was reuse models from medicine, law and engineering). Certifications like the CITA are going to change hiring practices because it clearly distinguishes a good architect from a bad one. In addition it puts the practitioners (the same ones reading this right now) in charge instead of the corporations or vendors or technologies. That means if you want to change our models and certifications they really belong to you no matter where you work.

Registration is still open for the ITARC conference from Monday October 12th to Wednesday October 14th in New York City. See the IASA website for upcoming regional conferences worldwide.

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