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New Certifications Ask Architects To Show Their Credentials

Calling yourself a technology architect soon may not be good enough. New professional certification programs from Microsoft and Open Group aim to set industry standards for distinguishing the skills and experience levels of professional technology architects.

This move toward professional certification is welcome at Hewlett-Packard, says Tony Redmond, chief technology officer of HP Services. In fact, HP, a member of the vendor-neutral consortium Open Group, plans to encourage its team of 1,000 architects in its services organizations to get certified over the next few years.

Already, nine HP architects have earned their Microsoft Certified Architect status as Microsoft in the last month began bringing its new certification program out of the pilot phase. HP is also working with Open Group to bring that organization's certification program to its architects as well.

"We are saying to our people: Show us, prove to us, show personal development," says Redmond, who expects the architect certification status to become a competitive advantage in coming years as HP competes against other vendors also offering IT services. "We ask our other professionals to get appropriate certification, and up to now this wasn't an option for architects," he says.

Until now, the skills and experience required of the estimated 100,000 U.S. professionals who call themselves IT architects, enterprise architects, infrastructure architects, solutions architects, operations architects, and others haven't been clear. These new certifications, which require an individual to undergo testing and/or review by a board, help define an individual's skills, experience, and other attributes, Redmond says.

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