On April 17 I was elected Chair of the Certification Standing Committee of the Architecture Forum of The Open Group. I'm going to share some of my thoughts about how I think the TOGAF certification should evolve in the next year or so. First of all, I think there should be a more sweeping Level 1 Foundation Certification tied to a 4-day course or elearning. A lot of knowledge transfer is necessary to be able to be ready for the intense study necessary to pass Level 1 (approximately 4 hours of study using a battery of practice questions). Without practicing, it would be very difficult to pass the Level 1 exam.
Then I envision several Level 2 Practitioner certifications (currently, TOGAF's Level 2 is called Certified, and I want us to move away from that since Level 1 is also a TOGAF certification, even now). Here are some examples of separate but related topical bodies of knowledge that would be tested with scenarios at Level 2: TOGAF Agile Practitioner, TOGAF Digital and Big Data Practitioner, TOGAF Cloud Practitioner, TOGAF Emerging Technologies Practitioner, TOGAF Design Thinking Practitioner, TOGAF Solution Architecture Practitioner, TOGAF Modeling Practitioner, and TOGAF Mobility Practitioner. In short, the number of Level 2 type certifications would evolve over time as new, concentrated TOGAF Standard volumes would be produced and upgraded every 3 years.
Moving beyond the topical TOGAF Standards library, I would like to see TOGAF Level 2 certifications for different verticals and types of organizations. Here are some examples of the different verticals: TOGAF Final Services Practitioner, TOGAF Telecom Practitioner, TOGAF Healthcare Practitioner, TOGAF Manufacturing and Supply Chain Practitioner, TOGAF Retail Practitioner, and TOGAF IT Practitioner.
The following are examples of Level 2 certifications around TOGAF Standards for types of organizations: TOGAF Government Practitioner, TOGAF Education Services Practitioner, TOGAF Small and Medium Sized Business Practitioner, TOGAF Non-Profit Practitioner, and TOGAF Conglomerate Practitioner.
Instead of a Level 3 Certification, I imagine a Master TOGAF Certified designation for individuals certified in at least 10 TOGAF Standards.
I would like to see just one Level 1 certification, but about 20 Level 2 ones. In addition, I would like both levels of exams to include artifacts/visuals along with the text -- no more just text-centric exams. I imagine using a variety of artifacts/visuals that would be taught at the Foundation level and which, while simple and clear, would add a realistic architectural experience to the exam preparation and experience.
All that I have just shared with you is revolutionary thinking and would require massive changes in how The Open Group's Architecture Forum works, which would include moving away from diluting the TOGAF Standard with a collection of guides and papers and instead concentrate on developing a library of meaningful, relevant, and exciting TOGAF Standards that, once developed, would be updated every 3 years.
Yes, this would be a lot of work, but all I have just described is aligned with what I understand the architecture discipline is looking for rather than myriad papers that probably few people even read. Of course, The Open Group has many other standards related to architecture and perhaps credit could also be given for certifications in some of these other standards, just as IT4IT and ArchiMate, among several others. That noted, much of the work being done now in disparate work streams might be better placed under the TOGAF Practitioner umbrella with all courses taking no more than 4 days to teach in face-to-face/online courses and also supported by an elearning option.
To conclude, these are just ideas I have based on 15 years of teaching TOGAF and having recently participated in several Scaled Agile classes, seeing how that body of knowledge is shared through a large series of certification courses, not just the current TOGAF model of 4 intense days to cover both Level 1 and Level 2 learning objectives -- too much for most students to fully appreciate and fully benefit from, as well as often leaving them wanting more practical, actionable guidance. I cannot alone have much influence on how the Architecture Forum actually evolves TOGAF, but I'm sharing my ideas and am seeking input from others, so please share your feedback by writing to email@example.com.
Important Note: The brainstorming ideas shared in this article (indicated as such in the message) are personal views only,and do not reflect The Open Group views, nor the views of the Certification Standing Committee. As Chair of the Committee, I serve at the pleasure of the forum in a purely facilitation capacity, working with any Architecture Forum members interested in engaging in the important topic of TOGAF Certification in the future. My own "stirring of the pot" in the below article in no way reflect any personal agenda; they are merely ideas.
I hope additional organizations beyond the hundreds already having this status will join the Architecture Forum activities even more enthusiastically than at present to become a larger part of the important work of evolving the TOGAF Standard. As a current or future corporate member of the Forum, your participation in the Certification Standing Committee will help ensure a wide range of thinking about TOGAF and related architecture certifications. It is my honor to facilitate and record outputs from such discussions, not having a personal agenda myself.