The Association

Below, you will find information on the association, its objectives, roles and responsibilities and members.

Objectives of the association

The International Software Architecture Qualification Board brings together professional software architecture experts from industry, consulting, training, academia and other organisations.

The iSAQB e.V. is an international board (established as an association according to German law, hence the ‘e.V.’) with the following objectives:

  • Creating and maintaining consistent syllabi and curricula for software architects (Certified Professional for Software Architecture)
  • Defining certification examinations on the basis of CPSA curricula
  • Ensuring the professional quality of teaching and initial and further training for software architects

The iSAQB defines training and examination rules and regulations but does not carry out any training or examinations itself, which it assigns to external (licensed) training and examination organisations. It also determines as well as monitors the relevant processes required.

Within the iSAQB e.V., all activities are carried out on a voluntary basis – its active members do not receive any remuneration or payment of fees for their involvement in the association.

Interviews with active voluntary iSAQB members!!

Since 2008, the members of the International Software Architecture Qualification Board, the iSAQB, have been working to promote standardisation in the training of software architects. They all are software architecture experts from industry, consulting, training, academia and other sectors and work for the iSAQB on a voluntary basis.


Read on to find out what eight of the currently 127 iSAQB members have to say about their work and commitment for the association, the types of certification available and the reasons why certification within software architecture has been long overdue.

Why was the iSAQB founded?

Phillip Ghadir: The iSAQB was founded in order standardise and harmonise the training of software architects. Ideally, this training should be the common denominator between those software architects that develop software and those that take care of planning and communications.

Who can call themselves a software architect?

Matthias Bohlen: Basically, anybody can use this title as it is not protected. But in a typical software development team, there will always be one or two members of that team who have this design energy: they’re the ones to whom it matters what a component is called, they’re the ones to whom it matters what the interface looks like, they’re the ones to whom it matters whether a system can be maintained and extended. And it’s exactly that kind of people that we need, so they really are the ones who should be allowed to call themselves software architects.

Andreas Rausch: The fact that anybody can use that title is a problem indeed. And it’s one of the reasons why we must have a clear occupational profile with a certification programme that is substantiated by specific content.

Why is certification important for software architects, or what is its added value?

Martin Rösch: I’d liken it to a driving licence documenting that the holder is familiar with the basic traffic rules. The iSAQB certification documents that knowledge has been acquired, which makes it a quality feature for potential clients or line managers.

Wolfgang Fahl: Up to now, employers have had to specify their expectations in their job adverts. This has now become obsolete as the iSAQB curriculum defines 46 learning goals that we expect a software architect to attain. At the end of training, the certificate will help to make clear what exactly I as a software architect am capable of doing.

What is the difference between the certification levels?

Mahbouba Gharbi: The Foundation Level forms a common basis for the topic of software architecture. It’s a basic course for software architects as well as software developers, testers, analysts and technical project managers. The Advanced Level is aimed at experienced software architects and software developers who have already familiarised themselves with the topic of software architecture.

Stefan Tilkov: The Foundation Level‘s final examination is a multiple-choice text with 42 questions. In order to pass, participants must answer at least 60% of all questions correctly. The Advanced Level is fundamentally different and composed of a variety of modules and areas.

Wolfgang Fahl: At Advanced Level, participants have to collect 70 credit points from seven modules of the three skills areas methodology, technology and communications in order to register for the examination. They are then given an examination task, for which they will have approx. 40 hours to complete it. Upon completion of the task, they will have to defend it in front of a board of examiners and respond to their questions. Those who pass the examination can call themselves “Certified Professional for Software Architecture”.

What impact does certification have on your career?

Matthias Bohlen: I think that within a company it would be good to have as many employees as possible taking part in Foundation Level training. This would provide more flexibility regarding their involvement in projects and help them settle faster. And it would harmonise the common language used as everybody would use the same terminology. Being qualified according to Advanced Level brings more benefits than just improving operations within a company: as a line manager, having an architect with the quality feature of an iSAQB-certified Advanced Level gives me the peace of mind that I can delegate larger project to a responsible and reliable employee. And that can be a career advantage of course.

Does iSAQB recognise certificates gained from other previous training?

Carola Lilienthal: Third-party certificates can be part of Advanced Level training as credit points may be awarded for certain certificates. We’re always happy to provide fast und straightforward information on how this could work out in individual cases. We encourage anybody interested to contact the association via e-mail. Currently recognised certificates can also be found on the iSAQB Advanced Level page.


Active board members

Sponsoring board members

Supporting board members

Internal area for members

For members of all categories, there are internal information areas, which can only be used by those with appropriate access rights. These areas can be accessed via the iSAQB’s internal information area.