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Professional Development Series


Last fall the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA) — originally founded by the Open Group back in 2007, but now a separate not-for-profit organization — announced that its membership exceeded 20,000. Enterprise architects from 72 countries count themselves among its members. Upon reaching this milestone, Association CEO Steve Nunn had this to say:

“Industry demand for developing Enterprise Architecture as a profession has been the impetus behind the surge in membership and displays the commitment that practitioners, as well as their employers, are making when building their Enterprise Architecture strategy.”


But just as membership in the AEA reflects the growing demand by enterprises to embrace the discipline of architecture and profit from the standardization and integration it brings to the business, it also reflects an understanding by architects that it’s to their own benefit to join. Professional associations and organizations provide a forum to engage in discussions (online or live) about critical issues with like-minded individuals and contribute to industry efforts. They can be a pathway to educational and career opportunities; members may hear about possible jobs through their association networks long before they’re posted on And these associations promote and advocate for the profession in which you are invested. 


With all of this in mind, Smart Architect is kicking off what will be a regular series of blogs on professional development with a look at some of the associations you may want to investigate to further your profession’s interests as well as your own. Here are few to get you started:

Name: Association of Enterprise Architects

Membership: The primary professional membership level is its Member grade, which is open to a TOGAF® or Open CA certified Enterprise Architect. Fellow-grade membership is open to applicants who have five years’ AEA membership under their belts, and who hold a senior enterprise architect position. Other membership options also are available for those working toward TOGAF or Open CA certification and students.

Mission: AEA’s goals are to increase job opportunities for members and increase their market value by advancing professional excellence, and to raise the status of the profession as a whole. Only Member- and Fellow-grade members may join task- or issue-oriented work groups aimed at helping to advance the profession.


Name: Center for the Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession (CAEAP)

Membership: Interested individuals must read and sign the Enterprise Architect's Professional Oath, which CAEAP describes as a social contract for moral behavior, commitment toward the community, and mutual obligation among members and the enterprise architecture profession itself. The oath is a guideline for shaping the behavior of EA professionals and for stating the consequences of misbehavior.

Mission: CAEAP says it promotes the professional status of enterprise architects, including clarifying the contributions of professional enterprise architects and creating brand recognition for the profession. It is also interested in advocacy about determining ethical behaviors and levels of regulatory self-governance, and educational and experiential standards for professional competency.    


Name: The International Association of Software Architects (IASA)

Membership: Individuals can enroll as full, student or contributing members, at varying fee levels.

Mission: The International Association of Software Architects (IASA) makes its match with architects committed to the advancement and sharing of issues related to software architecture in the enterprise, product, education and government sectors. It wants to advance best practices and education while delivering programs and services to IT architects of all levels.  



Membership: Membership levels include professional and student at varying fee levels, and complimentary membership for academics in certain functional disciplines.

Mission: While not exclusively directed to enterprise architects, the independent, nonprofit, global association has a focus on practical guidance, benchmarks and other tools for the IT-enabled enterprise in areas that intersect with EA interests, including governance and security. Some of its brands include the Risk IT governance framework and the Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) certification for helping the enterprise understand business risk.


Name: Association of Business Process Management Professionals International (ABPMP)

Membership: Professional, academic and student memberships are available at different fee levels. Corporations also may join. Only professional and corporate members have voting privileges.

Mission: A practitioner-oriented and practitioner-led nonprofit, ABPMP hopes to guide the development of business process management as a mainstream discipline and serve as the authority for certifying BPM practitioners. While it, like ISACA, is not specifically geared to enterprise architects, it does count them among its members, including its Metro New York Chapter president. It makes sense, given the value that can come from combining EA and BPM in the service of architecturally enabled enterprise change that draws on improved, aligned and even automated processes.

This is just a starter list, and one focused on memberships that individuals themselves can join. If your organization wants to be part of an association whose interests align with enterprise architecture, corporate membership is available to organizations such as The Open Group, whose standards and certification programs for enterprise architects have been adopted worldwide, and Penn State’s Center for Enterprise Architecture, where partnering organizations can have early access to research and reports, exposure to undergraduate students interested in the discipline and the chance to sponsor their EA capstone projects, and the ability to influence the future of enterprise architecture education at multiple levels (undergraduate, graduate and professional education).

We’re sure there are many other professional groups that you’ve found invaluable in your own career, and we invite you to share your thoughts on what those are and how they’ve contributed to your own success. We also welcome your comments on any of the associations mentioned in this blog – what has been your experience as a member? Let us know below.

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