Prepare yourself to become a Certified Technical Architect (CTA)

If you’re currently a ServiceNow Architect, or aim to become one, now may be a good opportunity to prepare yourself to be eligible to the upcoming Certified Technical Architect program!

In this article, I’ll review everything we know about the not yet publicly announced CTA program, its requirements and how you could prepare for it.

Wait! Do I need yet another certification?

Let be honest, certifications are only a shortcut to assess people skills. They are optionals. Some great experts have no certifications, and some certified people are not as good as you would expect.

Do you need a new expensive certification? I can’t answer that for you. But having some helped me in my career, either when looking for a new job, or to achieve faster business credibility with the customers I met as a consultant.

I often use training courses to complete my knowledge of a domain, and certifications to validate its width and dept, at one point in time.

Is that mandatory… Hell no! It’s just a personal strategy that did me good in the past 10 years.

What is a Certified Technical Architect (CTA)?

I wrote two articles on the ServiceNow CMA Program, and mentioned a certification gap between Implementation Specialist and Master Architect. ServiceNow is almost ready to announce the missing certification for certified architects.

It is intended to be the young nephew of the Certified Master Architect program, with an easier entry point and a narrower scope, that sometimes goes deeper on technical aspects.

For years, the highest ServiceNow certification was Certified Implementation Specialist, with its current 17 specialisations. Until now, No trainings or certifications defined the knowledge required to be a ServiceNow Architect. Real life experience is for sure the best way to learn, but as a consequence, some assigned themselves titles like “Architect”. They did so to become more marketable… but some of them did it without having the expected skills that should go with that title. When too many people do that, the reputation of a profession starts to decay, and that’s one of the reason industries create certifications to act as an easy to recognise label of quality.

In 2020 ServiceNow officially introduced the CMA program, but there was a huge gap between Master Architect and Implementation Specialist.

Now, that gap is being filled with the shiny CTA program… and the pyramid is now complete!

CTA was the missing layer in the pyramid of technical roles

ServiceNow is not fan of using a hierarchical pyramid to describe their certifications, but personally I found it an easy visualisation of their difficulty levels, and of the market rarity of such certified specialists.

Comparing ServiceNow Certifications

The scope for Technical Architect is narrower, yet occasionally deeper that Master Architect’s scope. CMA scope is much wider, but shallower, as it targets more senior advisory role.

CTA is not a requirement to become a CMA. It could be used an optional intermediary step, or as a career achievement of its own.

CertificationRequirementsTrainingExam
CSASome ServiceNow experience suggested3 days instructor-led course
— or —
Free on-demand course
60 MCQ over 90 minutes
CADCSA

Existing JavaScript Knowledge

3-6 months of ServiceNow experience is suggested
6 days of instructor-led courses60 MCQ over 90 minutes
CIS per Domain

17 domains available
CSA

At least 2 end‑to‑end implementations with ServiceNow

Proficiency in ServiceNow Scripting
2-4 days of instructor-led courses65 MCQ over 90 minutes
CTACSA +CAD +2x CIS

3y+ of ServiceNow experience
3 Months Duration

1x week-long live event

+6-8h per week
of live virtual sessions
Peers Reviewed Capstone Project
CMACSA +CAD +CIS-ITSM +2x CIS +ITIL Foundation +Bachelor or equivalent

5y+ of consulting & ServiceNow experience

Experience in presenting to large audiences
6 Months Duration

2x week-long live events

+6-8h per week
of live virtual sessions
Experts Reviewed Board Review
(as when defending a university thesis)

You’ll be evaluated over four domains:
• Technical
• Business acumen
• Delivery
• Effective presentation skills
Difficulty escalates quickly

How can you prepare for the next intake?

As I write this in early June 2021, the CTA program has yet to be announced by ServiceNow, but you can already start preparing yourself to become eligible. The page that officially describe the CTA program is already online, and a beta cohort is currently in progress.

Even better… The registration window to apply to the first official cohort is announced as August 2021!

  • Use the Subscribe button in the CTA FAQ page, to receive a mail whenever the article is updated.
  • Have a look at the Registration Form, so you can prepare yourself.
  • Ask yourself if you’re ready to commit for 3 months of after-work virtual classrooms.
  • Ensure that you have the required certifications (CSA +CAD +2x CIS).
  • Plan to pass any missing certifications as soon as possible.
  • Ask your manager if your company is willing to endorse the cost of the CTA program.
  • Submit your registration via the CTA FAQ page once the next intake is open.

Conclusion

Would becoming a Certified Technical Architect be a worthy goal for you? What do you think of this program? For many, this will be the first ServiceNow exam that assess more than pure technical knowledge.

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