Tag Archives: professional skills

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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Filed under Certifications, Enterprise Architecture