Employers want IT professionals with architecture skills, and having a certification in an architecture framework can give you a leg up in the hiring process.
Software engineers have been using The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) to make the jump into an architecture role, suggested Bill Reynolds, research director at Foote Partners, a Vero Beach, Fla.-based IT benchmark research and advisory firm: “Companies simply consider TOGAF as the gold standard architecture framework.”
Although there’s a selection of vendor-based architecture frameworks in use, TOGAF is a vendor-neutral certification. While job listings often refer to TOGAF as a preferred certification, understanding the framework alone isn’t enough to clinch the interview. “Any framework is like getting a college education,” Reynolds said. “You can get a degree and still not find a job.”
In ideal circumstances, your resume should show how you’ve actively put TOGAF skills to work in an organization. Remember, the architecture-development process requires a combination of technical and non-technical (i.e., soft) skills.
The Popularity of TOGAF
TOGAF is popular with security, data, enterprise, applications, and systems architects. As of October, there were 11,306 people at the “foundation” (or more basic) level of the certification, and 25,507 at the “certified” level. That’s an uptick from the summer of 2013, when there were 7,850 people at the foundation level and 17,159 at the certified level.
The Exam Details
If you decide to take the TOGAF exam, you’ll be sitting for the most recent version of the certification, TOGAF 9.1. There’s a multiple-choice exam for foundation level 1, which shows you know the basic concepts and principles behind TOGAF. In order to complete the certified level 2 exam, which is scenario-based, you’ll need a deeper understanding of TOGAF. You can either complete the foundation exam before doing the certified exam, or you can do a combined level 1 and 2 exam.
Is It Worth It?
Is TOGAF worth the price? In the United States, the exams cost $320 each for level 1 and level 2, while the combined level 1 and level 2 exam costs $495. The Open Group offers four-day instructor-led courses, which can be pretty pricey at about $3,000; e-learning courses are also available for about $1,125, including exam vouchers.
According to Reynolds, TOGAF is regularly at the top of the most in-demand skills in the Foote Partners’ quarterly pay-review reports, with an above-average pay premium for IT professionals with an understanding of the framework: “There’s simply not enough architecture talent, and so pay premiums are an interim solution to get and keep people with the skills.” The certification continues to gain in market value, too.
Where to Look for a Job
If you’re looking for a job, it’s good to know that architecture roles are pretty plentiful. Your search is certainly going to take you to larger organizations—ones that are likely to use an EA framework like TOGAF. A good place to start is to look for openings at companies with a large number of TOGAF-certified architects, since those are firms with a commitment to it. Last year, according to the Open Group, the top 10 companies with TOGAF certified IT professionals were BP, Capgemini, CGI, Cisco, Deloitte, HP, IBM, Oracle, Tata, and Wipro.
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