iSAQB - International Software Architecture Qualification Board
Due to the continuously increasing importance of software architects’ roles and responsibilities, thorough training is now essential for them. For this purpose, the iSAQB® Certified Professional for Software Architecture program (CPSA) provides software architects with a standardized scheme for certification and training that is globally recognized.
The scheme consists of two levels:
- The Foundation Level provides the basics: once you are certified at this level, you will be able to demonstrate that you are capable of creating and documenting a system’s architecture independently as well as of assuring and assessing its quality and that you are familiar with the tools required for this.
- Certification at Advanced Level with a modular structure, is aimed at software architects with advanced knowledge and will allow you to demonstrate that your skills are not only of a technological but also a methodical and communicative nature.
Certified Professional for Software Architecture certification has enjoyed international success. There are now more than 14,000 CPSA certified software architects.
Prove your qualifications and become one of CPSA certified professionals with GASQ!
The CPSA Foundation Level exam (CPSA F) is based on a pool of challenging examination questions developed by iSAQB in accordance with the curriculum and not available to the public, from which a certain number of questions will be selected for each examination. While it is recommended that candidates take part in a course by a licensed training provider, there is no obligation to do so in order to register for CPSA F certification.
Candidates interested in taking the ‘Certified Professional for Software Architecture – Foundation Level’ exam must demonstrate knowledge and comprehension in these areas:
- the concept and significance of software architecture
- tasks and responsibilities of software architects
- the role of software architects within projects
- state-of-the-art methods and techniques for developing software architectures.
The candidates have to be able to demonstrate the following skills:
- consulting representatives from requirements management, project management, testing and development involved in a shared project in order to make essential decisions on software architecture together
- documenting and communicating software architectures on the basis of views, architecture patterns and technical concepts
- understanding the main steps necessary for developing software architectures as well as implementing these independently in small and medium-sized systems
CPSA Foundation Level Syllabus can be downloaded here.
As a follow-on to the Foundation Level, which has been available for some time now, iSAQB’s Advanced Level (CPAS A) is the next logical step in qualifying software architecture professionals. Developed according to iSAQB’s specification, this scheme follows a modular structure and requires successful candidates to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and skills.
Holders of the CPSA A certificate will be able to:
- Design medium-sized to large IT systems independently and in a methodologically sound manner
- Assume technical and content-related responsibility within IT systems of medium to high criticality
- Plan, design and document appropriate measures to meet non-functional requirements
- Accompany development teams in the process of implementing these measures
- Manage and direct architecture-related communication processes within medium-sized to large development teams
For the purpose of CPSA Advanced Level certification, iSAQB has defined the three following skills areas:
- Methodical skills: a systematic approach to architectural tasks, regardless of the technologies used
- Technological skills: knowledge and implementation of technology solutions used in design tasks
- Communicative skills: communication, presentation, argumentation and moderation skills as well as the ability to cooperate productively with different stakeholders
The overview of CPSA Advanced Level Syllabus modules is available here.
The examination comprises of multiple choice questions. They need to be answered within a 75 minutes time frame (earlier submission possible). Their value ranges from 1 to 3 points, depending on the level of difficulty; the total points possible for each question are shown in the question header. The general principle is: correct answers result in additional points, incorrect answers in subtracted points.
To successfully pass the exam, the participant must achieve a minimum of 60% of the total score.
No aids, tools or resources (like training materials, books, telephones etc.) are allowed during the exam. In case the participant uses notepads or additional sheets of paper besides the official exam paper, they must leave them in the room at the end of the examination.
The participant is not allowed to leave the room during the examination.
The participants will be notified of the outcome of the examination by the certifying body in written form.
The examination can be retaken twice without a waiting period. In case of a third failure, the examination can be retaken after a waiting period of one year.
In order to be CPSA A certified, every candidate must provide written evidence to the certifying body demonstrating that they meet the following requirements:
- Certified Professional for Software Architecture Foundation Level certificate
- A minimum of three years’ full-time professional experience in the IT industry, including involvement in the design and development of at least two different IT systems
- Participation in CPSA A licensed training (or equivalent recognized training or certificates) with a total score of at least 70 credit points gained in all three different skills areas and at least 10 credit points in each skill area
- Non-disclosure agreement relating to the examination task
The examination consists of two parts.
Part 1: Assignment. The assignment requires the examination participant to develop predefined topics and issues. They must work out this development independently.
Part 2: Oral examination. The second step involves a conference call of at least 30 minutes and no more than 60 minutes, during which both examiners will discuss the solution with the candidate. The candidate will be challenged by the examiners and will have to defend his design or design decisions.