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Red Hat Certified Architect is the highest level of certification Red Hat offers.  We are making some changes to the program and the way that we position it to help IT organizations and professionals worldwide better understand the program and what it means to be an RHCA.

For years, in order to earn RHCA you first had to earn Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE.)  As the Red Hat product portfolio expanded into middleware, we expanded the program to provide a path to RHCA for developers who have earned either Red Hat Certified Enterprise Microservices Developer (RHCEMD) or Red Hat Certified JBoss Developer (RHCJD.)


In order to provide greater clarity about what RHCA means, we are dividing what has been one certification into two, each of which reflect the path the person holding the certification took to earn it.  People who have earned RHCE as the base certification towards RHCA will now be considered Red Hat Certified Architects in Infrastructure. People who have earned RHCA with either RHCEMD or RHCJD as their base certification towards RHCA will now be considered Red Hat Certified Architects in Enterprise Applications.  Dividing the RHCA world in this way will provide more clarity on what it means to be a Red Hat Certified Architect while retaining RHCA as our highest achievement.

These changes are retroactive.  If you have earned one or the other of these RHCAs you can download a certificate and access a digital badge that reflects the new title from  If you are one of the small, especially elite group who have earned both infrastructure and enterprise application credentials, you are now officially an RHCA in Infrastructure and an RHCA in Enterprise Applications.


We are also changing the RHCA concentrations.  We introduced concentrations several years ago when we expanded the number of credentials that could be applied as a way to provide guidance to prospective RHCAs on paths they might pursue based on their interests.  Concentrations were recommendations, not requirements. As such, people are free to follow or not follow them. There was never a requirement to choose a concentration, nor were people seeking RHCA restricted to earning credentials that led to a concentration.

Unfortunately, it has become evident in discussions inside and outside of Red Hat that some of these points are being lost.  Consequently, we will now be referring to concentrations as recommendations on the web and elsewhere to ensure that everyone understands what we are trying to do.

Why don’t we make these recommendations certifications in their own rights?  One reason is that we want to avoid creating a large, confusing panoply of certification titles and acronyms. Realistically, IT managers, recruiters and others looking for RHCPs will only keep up with so many titles. Creating a lot of different RHCAs with all sorts of official and unofficial acronyms would likely diminish the name recognition and stature of RHCA.  Obviously, with the change described above we are compromising on this point somewhat but are doing so in a way that helps make clearer the fundamental skills an RHCA has.

Another reason for not having made concentrations -- which are now recommendations -- certifications in their own rights is the rapid rate of change in information technology today.  Recommendations are flexible and can be modified as the technology landscape changes. Requirements, on the other hand, are chiseled in stone and much more difficult to adapt and modify.

We will continue building awareness and interest in our two RHCA programs -- Infrastructure and Enterprise Applications -- but we are also looking into ways we can modify our certificate and badging systems to provide more information about the path a person has taken to RHCA.  RHCAs are rightly proud of those paths and their accomplishments. Look for more enhancements to our capstone program in the future.

Have questions about an exam you have already taken or your certification status? Contact the certification team.

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About the author

Randy Russell is the director of Certification and leads the team that develops and delivers Red Hat's certification programs and exams.  A long-time proponent of performance-based testing, he has served on the board and as president and chairman of the Performance Testing Council, as well as having presented on this subject and others at industry conferences such as the Association of Test Publishers, the European Association of Test Publishers, CeDMA and TSIA.  Prior to joining Red Hat, Russell was a system administrator and programmer at an environmental economics consulting firm.

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