One of the most important functions of a profession is to ensure that companies can hire the people they need to lead their organizations. In addition, a profession must help fulfill the requirements of future generations and prepare them for the jobs that will be available. This function is essential to the long term health of the profession and the capabilities of the organizations which need their services. It has long been lacking in the enterprise and technology leadership space. However, Iasa is standing up to fill that gap.
It is absolutely essential to the health of our field in digital transformation, business technology strategy and innovation to create the next generation of professionals and link them to opportunities to grow when they enter the workforce. In many ways it is the challenge of our century to create a innovators and leaders of digital strategy as technology becomes the driving force behind competitive advantage and the central driver of humans ability to function in society. To do this we must connect 3 major sets of organizations and people in a system of education, experience, hiring and professional growth. I would argue that this is one of the most important outcomes Iasa has ever attempted.
Iasa recently held the SITAC (Student IT Architect Competition) in Seattle. It was an amazing event with industry thought leaders, students, universities, professionals and employers in attendance. The event was put together by the Puget Sound Chapter under the leadership of Shrikant Palkar. To say it was impactful and well executed would be cutting it short on praise. The winner of the competition was Aastha Sachdeva who walked away with a $10,000 grant to continue her studies in the architect profession. I had a chance to speak with Aastha and was deeply impressed with her commitment and capability in the space. Most of the students who even compete in the program, much less win, go on to interviews and employment with the sponsors and attending organizations of the competition. As high as 80% of participants receive interviews and the hiring rate is extremely high.
The week prior to the competition, I was in Ireland, visiting ITT Tallaght, who offers an Applied Masters in IT Architecture based on the Iasa skills taxonomy. This program was the brain child of Cormac Keogh and Mick Callan, two professional leaders in the Dublin Iasa chapter. They worked together with the university to build the program out to match with the ITABoK capability and skills model. There are currently 14 masters students involved in the program who will be entering their second year soon and a new batch of students coming into the program this year. It is an extremely well executed masters program and the university is not seeking full accreditation of the masters through Iasa. The accreditation process is similar to all other university accreditations related to professions such as medicine, law, accounting, building architecture, etc.
These two programs represent only the beginning of my vision for the profession and educational institutions. A healthy profession results in universities, employers and students becoming connected in multiple ways. Some elements of my direction for the profession include:
- Directed research in architecture – while there is much research in business and much in technology, there is surprisingly little in business technology strategy and execution. Ultimately Iasa and our new charitable foundation will drive grants and scholarships as well as directed research delivery in partnership with universities around the world in architecture, digital transformation and innovation in business model impact from technology investment.
- University accreditation at the state and federal levels – our profession is maturing along with our need for sustained availability of talent which satisfies the difficult needs of the hiring bodies. The intensity of study, the rigor of the curriculum and the deep capabilities of the practicing architect are difficult to achieve in ad hoc degree programs offered by current universities such as the Penn State program and others around the world. Instead a centralized accreditation offers sustainable outcomes in undergraduate, masters and phd level outcomes from students and assurance to hiring bodies that they are getting the best possible employees. In addition this model does not limit the universities abilities to innovate or provide specific education which differentiates them in the eyes of employers. Even more importantly it provides for the connection of local community and professionals as mentors and visiting educators to the university programs.
- Architect hiring to become a accredited residency/internship – in this model, employers provide guaranteed types of experience to the incoming architect and receives a significant increase in the number of architects they can employ. The residency model is successful in all other professions and will be the defacto standard for hiring architects in the future. This provides the maximum value to employers, architects and universities by providing a direct link from graduation to employment while guaranteeing the student will receive the rounded and holistic experience necessary to become a truly capable professional architect.
We are only getting started on our institutional education programs. If your organization has issues hiring architects, supports the next generation through universities or is interested in supporting these programs please contactus at iasaglobal.org