Tag Archives: ITSC

What’s in a name? A change of name for our ITAC and ITSC professional certifications

By Steve Philp, The Open Group

With the launch of the new Open Group website this week, we have taken the opportunity to rebrand our two skills- and experience-based certification programs. The IT Architect Certification (ITAC) program has now become The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) program. The IT Specialist Certification (ITSC) program has now become The Open Group Certified IT Specialist (Open CITS) program.

The new website (and our new logo for that matter) places much more emphasis on the word “Open”.  This is one of the reasons for us changing the names away from something that is not readily associated with The Open Group (i.e. ITAC) to something that is more recognizable as an Open Group certification, i.e. Open CA.  However, besides the name change, there hasn’t been any changes made to the way in which either program operates. For example, the Open CA program still requires candidates to submit a comprehensive certification package detailing their skills and experience gained on working on architecture-related projects, followed by a rigorous peer review process.

The Open CA program still currently focuses on IT-related work. However, the architecture profession is constantly evolving and to reflect this, The Open Group will incorporate dedicated Business Architecture and Enterprise Architecture streams into the Open CA program at some point in the near future. Our members are working on defining the core skills that an architect needs to have and the specific competencies one needs for each of these three specialist areas. Therefore, going forward, applicants will be able to become an Open CA in:

  • IT Architecture
  • Business Architecture
  • Enterprise Architecture

There are approximately 3,200 individuals who are certified in our Open CA program, and by broadening the scope of the program we hope to certify many more architects. There are more than 2,300 certified IT Specialists in the Open CITS program, and many organizations around the world have identified this type of skills- and experienced-based program as a necessary part of the process to develop their own internal IT profession frameworks.

Open CA and Open CITs can be used in the recruitment process and help to guarantee a consistent and quality assured service on project proposals, procurements and on service level agreements. They can also help in the assessment of individuals in specific IT domains and provide a roadmap for their future career development.  You can find out more about our programs by visiting the professional certification area of our website.

Steve PhilpSteve Philp is the Marketing Director for the Open CA and Open CITS certification programs at The Open Group. Over the past 20 years, Steve has worked predominantly in sales, marketing and general management roles within the IT training industry. Based in Reading, UK, he joined the Open Group in 2008 to promote and develop the organization’s skills and experience-based IT certifications.

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What’s the use of getting certified?

By Mieke Mahakena, Capgemini

After a day discussing business architecture methods and certification at The Open Group Conference in San Diego last week, I had to step back and consider if what I have been doing was still adding value. It seems to me that there is still much resistance against certification. “I don’t need to be certified; I have my college degree.” Or, “I have so much experience. Why should I need to prove anything?”

But let me ask you a question. Suppose you need to have surgery. The surgeon tells you that he hasn’t got a medical license, but you shouldn’t worry because he is so experienced. Would you let him perform surgery on you? I wouldn’t! So, if we expect others to be able to prove their skills before we hire them to work for us, shouldn’t the same apply to business architects? In our profession, mistakes can have severe consequences. As such, it is only reasonable for customers to demand some kind of impartial proof of our professional skills.

To become a good surgeon you not only need good education, you need a lot of practical experience as well. The same goes for the IT and architecture profession: Your skills develop with every new practical experience. This brings us to the importance of the ITAC or ITSC certifications. Both programs define the skills necessary for a certain profession and use a well-defined certification process to ensure that the candidate has the experience needed to develop those skills.

During The Open Group India Conference in March, you will be able to learn more about these certification programs and find out if they can bring value to you and your organization.

Certification will be a topic of discussion at The Open Group India Conference in Chennai (March 7), Hyderabad (March 9) and Pune (March 11). Join us for best practices and case studies in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, Security, Cloud and Certification, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Find out more about the ITSC program by joining our webinar on Thursday, March 3.

Mieke Mahakena is an architect and architecture trainer at Capgemini Academy and label lead for the architecture training portfolio. She is the chair of the Business Forum at The Open Group, working on business architecture methods and certification. She is based in the Netherlands.

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T-Shaped people

By Steve Philp, The Open Group

We recently had an exhibition stand at the HR Directors Business Summit, which took place in Birmingham, UK. One of the main reasons for us attending this event was to find out the role HR plays in developing an internal IT profession, particularly for their IT Specialists.

On the second day of the conference there was a keynote presentation from Jill McDonald, the CEO and President of McDonald’s UK, who was talking about the CEO’s viewpoint of what is required from the strategic HR Director. Part of this presentation discussed the need to find t-shaped people within the organization. This is something that we often hear from both vendors and corporate organizations when they talk about what they are looking for from their IT staff.

T-shaped people are individuals who are experts or specialists in a core skill but also have a broad range of skills in other areas. A t-shaped person combines the broad level of skills and knowledge (the top horizontal part of the T) with specialist skills in a specific functional area (the bottom, vertical part of the T). They are not generalists because they have a specific core area of expertise but are often also referred to as generalizing specialists as well as T-shaped people.

A generalizing specialist is someone who: 1) Has one or more technical specialties […]. 2) Has at least a general knowledge of software development. 3) Has at least a general knowledge of the business domain in which they work. 4) Actively seeks to gain new skills in both their existing specialties as well as in other areas, including both technical and domain areas. – Scott Ambler, “Generalizing Specialist: A Definition

T-shaped people work well in teams because they can see a situation from a different perspective, can reduce bottlenecks, fill skills gaps and take on new skill sets quickly. This then leads to higher team productivity and greater flexibility.

The Open Group IT Specialist (ITSC) program measures an individual’s core competence in a specific stream or domain. However, it also covers a broader range of skills and competencies related to people, business, project management and architecture. In addition, the program looks at an individual’s work experience, professional development and community contribution. The conformance requirements of the program are mapped against your skills and experience rather than a body of knowledge and we assess people skills as well as technical abilities. Therefore, if it’s t-shaped people that you are looking for, then hiring somebody with ITSC status is a good place to start.

Find out more about the ITSC program by joining our webinar on Thursday, March 3.

Steve PhilpSteve Philp is the Marketing Director for the IT Architect and IT Specialist certification programs at The Open Group. Over the past 20 years, Steve has worked predominantly in sales, marketing and general management roles within the IT training industry. Based in Reading, UK, he joined the Open Group in 2008 to promote and develop the organization’s skills and experience-based IT certifications.

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New year, new certification

By Steve Philp, The Open Group

At the beginning of every new calendar year, many organizations discuss with employees specific job-related objectives and career development plans for the next 12 months and beyond. For many individuals, certification is highlighted as something that they should be working towards during the course of the year.

Until recently, virtually all IT certifications have been based on an individual’s recollection of a body of knowledge and his/her ability to pass a computer-based test. Unfortunately, these certifications do not prove that you can apply this knowledge successfully in practice. To achieve certified status you usually have to attend the relevant training course or read the appropriate self-study material before taking the examination. However, knowledge in itself is not an accurate measure of competence and, while question-based tests are practical and objective, they are also more susceptible to fraud.http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1152

Perhaps a better method of evaluating competence to carry out a specific role is to examine the skills and experience that an individual has demonstrated in his/her work. This type of certification usually requires you to prepare some form of written application followed by either an individual or panel interview which may or may not involve a formal presentation as part of the process.

In recent years, The Open Group has developed the IT Architect Certification (ITAC) and IT Specialist (ITSC) programs that are based entirely on skills and experience, and that assess an individual’s “people skills” as well as their technical abilities. There is no test-based examination but instead, applicants must complete a comprehensive application package and then be interviewed by three existing certified board members. Each of the interviews last for one hour and gives the candidate the opportunity to explain to the interviewer how they have met the conformance requirements of the program.

Many organizations around the world have identified this type of skills- and experienced-based program as a necessary part of the process to develop their own internal IT profession. These certifications can also be used in the recruitment process and help to guarantee a consistent and quality-assured service on project proposals, procurements and on service level agreements. As a result, the benefit of achieving this type of IT certification often proves to be much more rewarding for both individuals and organizations.

Steve PhilpSteve Philp is the Marketing Director for the IT Architect and IT Specialist certification programs at The Open Group. Over the past 20 years, Steve has worked predominantly in sales, marketing and general management roles within the IT training industry. Based in Reading, UK, he joined The Open Group in 2008 to promote and develop the organization’s skills and experience-based IT certifications.

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IT: The professionals

By Steve Philp, The Open Group

The European Commission (EC) recently warned of a potential 350,000-plus shortfall in IT practitioners in the region by 2015 and criticised the UK for failing to adequately promote professionalism in the industry.  According to EC principal administrator André Richier, although Europe has approximately four million IT practitioners, 50 per cent are not IT degree-qualified.certification

While the EC raises some interesting points about the education of those entering the field of IT, it’s important not to lose sight of what’s really important – ensuring IT executives are continually improving and developing their skills and capabilities.

Developments in technology are moving faster than ever and bringing about major changes to the lives of IT professionals.  Today, for instance, it’s crucial IT professionals are not just technical experts but able to speak the language of business and ensure the work of the IT function is closely aligned to business objectives.  This is particularly so when it comes to cloud computing where pressure is mounting for IT teams to clearly articulate the benefits the technology can offer the business.

Business decision makers aren’t interested in the details of cloud computing implementation but do want to know that IT teams understand their situation and are well placed to solve the challenges they face.  In short, they want to know important IT decisions being made in their business are in the hands of true professionals.

ITSCCertification can act as an important mark of professional standards and inspire confidence by verifying the qualities and skills IT executives have with regards to the effective deployment, implementation and operation of IT solutions. It’s these factors that led to the launch of the Open Group’s IT Specialist Certification (ITSC) Programme.  The programme is peer reviewed, vendor-neutral and global, ensuring IT executives can use it to distinguish their skills regardless of the organisation they work for.  As such, it guarantees a professional standard, assuring business leaders that the IT professionals they have in place can help address the challenges they face.  Given the current pressures to do more with less and the rising importance of IT to business, expect to see certification rise in importance in the months ahead.

Steve PhilpSteve Philp is the Marketing Director for the IT Architect and IT Specialist certification programs at The Open Group. Over the past 20 years, Steve has worked predominantly in sales, marketing and general management roles within the IT training industry. Based in Reading, UK, he joined the Open Group in 2008 to promote and develop the organization’s skills and experience-based IT certifications.

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