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IT industry is one that continues to grow and evolve as new innovations are developed. The pinnacle of expertise, The Red Hat® Certified Architect program is continuously improving to accommodate these demands to make sure that our certified professionals exceed the standards of today’s market.

This article is the second part of a two part series around Red Hat Certified Architects
Part One: RHCA: What does it mean to be a RHCA? 
Part Two: RHCA: RHCA + Renewals 

A Short History of RHCA

Two years ago in 2014, we made some changes to the program in order to accommodate the numerous additions to our product and certification portfolios. We moved from a prescriptive approach -- earn these specific credentials to earn RHCA -- to a more flexible one in which individuals could choose the specializations that could provide the most benefit to their organizations and their own careers. Additionally, we introduced RHCA Level II, which we discussed in the first post of this series.

Last year in 2015, we expanded the reach of RHCA further to include enterprise application developers skilled in the technologies of our expanding middleware portfolio. We made some other changes as well, including our renewal policies, which will be covered in fourth and final post of this series.

This year, we introduced a new concentration: DevOps. To earn this concentration, you must have skills in container and configuration management and automation, covering OpenShift by Red Hat, Ansible, and Puppet.

Overview of certification renewals

All Red Hat certifications are considered current for three years from the date they are earned. Earning certifications beyond Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA), Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE®), and Red Hat Certified JBoss Developer (RHCJD) extends the period those certifications are considered current.

Changes to RHCA renewals

When we made changes to the RHCA program in 2015, we altered what it takes to renew a RHCA certification. Now, we require an RHCA to maintain at least five current credentials beyond RHCE or RHCJD, and they do not need to be the same credentials you used when you first earned RHCA.

As this was a major change in the certification program, we extended the period for which all certifications earned prior to October 1, 2014 would be considered current. We made them current until October 1, 2017 -- even if they had been earned in 2005.

What that means

To maintain the RHCA status, you must have at least five eligible credentials beyond RHCE or RHCJD that are current. If you have earned more than five eligible credentials beyond RHCE or RHCJD, you are considered a higher-level RHCA. For example, someone who has earned six beyond RHCE or RHCJD is an RHCA Level II.

To remain an RHCA, you do not need to renew your RHCE or RHCJD certifications. In fact, the period for which these are considered current gets extended with each additional eligible credential you earn.

Example Scenario

Perhaps you are an RHCA Level II and the oldest of the six credentials you had earned past RHCE or RHCJD becomes non-current. You would then be an RHCA Level I. If another credential became non-current, you would not longer have RHCA status. You do not need to start completely over to regain your RHCA status, however. Earning a new eligible credential or renewing one that became non-current in our example would restore your RHCA status until the next oldest credential was up for renewal.

I hope I have shed some light on the renewal policies for RHCA and what you need to do to maintain RHCA status. Earning RHCA is a steep hill to climb. Keeping an RHCA means continuing to climb and committing to the climb in a world that can sometimes seem like a race to the bottom.

Becoming an RHCA is a significant investment of time and effort, as is maintaining one's RHCA. If you are pursuing a RHCA certification, Red Hat Learning Subscription is a convenient, cost-effective way to get the training you need. If you have already earned RHCA, you are eligible for a 50 percent discount.


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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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