By Steve Philp, The Open Group
Andrey Zaychikov is CIO and Chief Enterprise Architect Ministry of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy for the Russian Federation
In February 2012, Andrey Zaychikov became the first Russian to go through the Open CA program via the direct route. He flew to London Heathrow from Moscow to attend the certification board at a local hotel near Heathrow airport and successfully achieved Master Open CA status. We asked him why he wanted to get Open CA certified and how he found the process.
Can you tell us something about yourself in terms of your background and career to date?
I started my career as a software developer with a Master’s degree in computer science and more than five years experience in creating applications using C, C++ and .NET. In those days I was eager to understand how to define the solution requirements and design its implementation, how to deal with the risks, how to organize the communication with customers in a most effective manner. I applied different approaches based on Booch-2 (in early days), then UML etc. They were quite effective (of course, if adopted to the needs of the particular projects and being common-sense) especially talking about small or medium silo applications.
In 2007, I was put in charge of a huge project involving more than 300 organizations within the enterprise and affecting 80 percent of its operational activities. The enormous complexity of this project forced me to look for the other ways to handle it. I found out that enterprise architecture was the only solution to deal with that issue. That was the start of my career as an Enterprise Architect.
Why did you decide to go for Open CA certification?
On the one hand, I had some problems with the quality of assessment of my professional skills and assessment of my approach to defining and governing enterprise architectures, and on the other hand it was a real chance to demonstrate the level of my personal skills and acquirement to the customers, employees, colleagues and competitors. Besides, it is a good line in a CV to refer to and it will help to boost my career.
Why is Open CA different from other IT certifications that you have previously been involved with?
I chose Open CA Certification Program because it is:
- Really vendor, country and methods neutral
- Based on best practices
- A great challenge to succeed as an Enterprise Architect
- A unique chance to assess one’s personal skills and acquirement against the world’s best professionals
- It is linked to a certified professional and not to a company
- It helps to determine one’s strengths and weaknesses
- It is instrumental in building one’s personal development and educational plan
- It is one of the most prestigious enterprise architecture certifications.
In fact, as I thought, it could really help me to define my place in the world of enterprise architecture and to look at myself from another point of view. It helps not only to assess one’s methodological, technical or business skills but also to assess one’s common approach to work in the terms of enterprise architecture.
How did you prepare for Open CA certification?
My preparation was organized in a step-by-step manner. First of all, I read the Conformance Requirements and a sample package in order to understand what I should do at the first stage of the certification. I used a self-assessment tool at this stage as well. Then, I completed the experience profiles because it seemed to me to be far easier to write the profiles rather than the questions section first. I wrote the experience profiles in Russian, my native language and then translated them into English. Therefore, it took me approximately twice as much time as estimated by the Certification Board.
Then I answered the questions in the sections. This time I did not translate them – I just wrote the responses straight in English.
After that I did several reviews of my package in order to squeeze it into 50 pages, simplified some responses and diagrams.
While reviewing my package I tried to conform my package with the requirements and made every response clear to the people who are not aware of the current vertical industry and specific project situation. I watched some sitcoms and read a lot of fiction in English for language practice since I did not use English at work.
Having received the review of my package from The Open Group, I made some minor changes in order to clear up some issues.
Then I began preparation for the interview. I read carefully the certification board member handbook to figure out what the Board might be interested in during the interview. I reviewed my package again trying to ask myself as many questions as I could and answered them mentally, in other words, I tried being in interviewers’ shoes.
Then, taking into consideration the time left before the interview, I chose the most important questions and answered only them in English.
Two days before the interview I read thoroughly my package and the questions again. I arrived to London two days before the interview, again in order to practice the language a bit and not to have the linguistic shock.
What benefits do you think having this certification will bring you?
Despite of the fact that the Open CA certification program is not really well known in Russia, it has already brought me some recognition at Russian IT market, especially among vendors as an excellent and unique specialist. Besides, it really helped me to interact with international community. I think it will speed up my career as a CIO and EA in the near future.
What are your plans for future certifications?
I am planning to progress to Open CA Level 3 in a couple of years. I am thinking over PMBOK certification as well, as I often had to fulfill the role of the project manager in some large projects. Plus, I would like to take TOGAF 9 Certification as my TOGAF 8.1.1 has expired and I am going to continue working on my PhD.
Steve 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.