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I'm talking about SEI Software Architecture Professional Certificate.

I've been web developing for 3 years and I'd like to move into Software Architecture. My work will probably pay the fees for this program if I ask nicely enough. But does the SEI have the reputation to make this "certificate" worth having? More importantly, is the training any good? Has anyone done this?

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marked as duplicate by gnat, GlenH7, MichaelT, BЈовић, Dan Pichelman Jul 26 '13 at 16:26

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

It might be useful for non-software positions, such as: marketing communications, product design and strategy, technical sales, and various non-software project management positions. It boosts your credentials among non-programmers (i.e. in front of more than 90% of the population and 95% of decision-makers). – rwong Jul 26 '11 at 11:39
I moved into a Solution Architect role from a developer role, and I have also worked alongside a lot of other SAs that have done the same. Without training or studying Solution Architecture, lots of SAs struggle as they don't have the skills or knowledge to be able to perform effectively in their roles. In terms of training, I have found the SEI architecture books and publications to be excellent. There are also a lot of other non SEI books on architecture that are worth getting: Amazon list – SHC Jun 2 '14 at 15:01

5 Answers 5

My answer to this question on the IEEE CSDP is probably relevant, especially these portions:

Like any certificate, it's only proof that you know certain topics, by the book form. They don't really say much about how you'll perform on-the-job. Your past work history will do that far more effectively.


How employers view certificates varies widely, between industries and organizations. Some industries favor certain certifications over others. Organizations also place their own weight toward perspective employees and the certificates they hold.

As far as reputability and quality, I've found only good things about the Software Engineering Institute. If they offer training that's relevant to you, your company, and your job, I'd say that they are a good bet.

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Interesting that it's offered by CMU, but I'll stick with my blanket answer for certifications like this: It's close to worthless. The training may or may not be good, but almost no one recognizes certificates like this.

For you personally, it might not be a terrible idea, just to get you started with architecture. Just view it as a learning experience, don't expect anything more from it. I wish I knew what it was like so I could give more solid advice on it.

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I disagree. Although it probably depends on industry, certificates from the IEEE, PMI, SEI, and ISC2 are widely recognized in the defense industry, where I work. Depending on your job, holding a certificate might be required (for example, when I was interning with the Air Force in a security research division, there was a huge push for engineers to obtain CISSP certifications to be eligible for promotion). If you are going to get a certification, I would highly recommend that it comes from one of these world-recognized, highly reputable organizations. – Thomas Owens Jul 26 '11 at 12:06
@Matthew - I know that this was posted more than a year ago, but I'll post my disagreement. You say almost no one? Try one of the defense/DoE contractors working with very large projects. For them, having qualified software AND systems architects is crucial. Or barring that, consider very large commercial firms (like Emerson Power), they certainly pay attention to things like TOGAF certification. The run-of-the-mill code shop will not, but that's not the type of development environment such certifications are aimed for. – luis.espinal Jul 6 '12 at 21:56
Sounds niche to me. The OP mentioned he's a web dev interested in software architecture, which is a far cry from trying to land a job with a defense contractor. – Matthew Read Jul 6 '12 at 23:23

I'm inclined to agree with the previous poster in that the certificate itself is likely to be of little value (even though the lack of an expatriation date is a plus); however, in the long run it might be of use to you in your career if you are seeking to make a move in the direction and are looking for a résumé builder. Likewise, if your employer is willing to pay for it, by attending the courses you could make a case at a later date for a promotion within the company.

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In other words it comes down to acceptance by specific employers. – rwong Jan 11 '11 at 2:11
@rwong - Right, it might be useful for some and might give you a bonus to screeners in HR, but beyond that it doesn't hold much value. – rjzii Jan 11 '11 at 2:12

If you like this field (architecture) I'd say do it... It's being paid for by you employer so why not? You'll attend a course on a theme you like and you'll get a certificate for it.

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SEI/CMU has a good reputation amongst more experienced Software Engineers (those that can name the KPI's from CMM, for instance). But software engineering is not a discipline typically associated with web programming; you're more likely to find software engineers in e.g. the medical field.

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"But software engineering is not a discipline typically associated with web programming..." - What? I know several software engineers (by education as well as title at work) who work in the field of web application development. Software engineering is not domain specific. – Thomas Owens Jul 26 '11 at 12:08

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