I recently posted this question on the CDMP LinkedIn discussion forum, and some interesting responses have been rolling in. The following was posted by Patrick McMullen, Data Architect at the Walt Disney Company (included here with permission):
Wizard of Oz: "Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the Earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain. Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning, where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts and with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven't got: a diploma."
From one company to the next, the degree of commitment to sound architectural principles and IT program management differs. The responsibilities / roles / job descriptions and job titles of data modelers, data architects, data analysts, etc. varies. Passing a series of standardized exams covering a wide range of data management best practices, and meeting the ongoing requirements for continuing professional development, offers potential employers assurance that a candidate possesses broad knowledge and experience in data management. Someone who patches together a few badly designed, poorly documented database tables lacking in referential integrity might claim to have performed "data architecture" on his resume. CDMP certification offers hiring managers the assurance that a candidate possesses real knowledge of Data Management best practices, and a level of commitment to professional development.
Given two individuals with similiar educational achievements - an individual with a diploma, and one who fell 3 credits short of earning a diploma - the individual with the diploma isn't noticeably smarter than his diploma-less counterpart, but that piece of paper will open doors that would otherwise be shut. If, at some point, you may wish to be hired, promoted or simply retained, it would be best to make it easy on management to justify your qualifications. All things being equal, I would rather be the candidate with professional certification.
Dorothy: "How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?"
Scarecrow: "I don't know... But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking... don't they?"