The Open Group next week will launch the Association for Open Group Enterprise Architects with an aim to define the role of IT architects and to establish a standard code of ethics for the profession.The association will be launched at The Open Group's Architecting to the Edge Conference in Washington D.C., aimed at IT professionals charged with building IT environments that are highly distributed and interact with a large number of services, according to the IT industry consortium.The Open Group expects the association to attract membership from IT professionals who hold the consortium's IT Architect Certification (ITAC) and\/or The Open Group Architecture Framework certification, as well as pros working towards those designations. Graham Bird, vice president of marketing at The Open Group said: "Why shouldn't we think of IT architects as a profession with a body of knowledge and a set of ethics? We want to start to define standards for various disciplines of IT architect."The industry consortium launched its ITAC program last July with a certification that is now named Master Certified IT Architect (I wrote about the program when it was in development). In February, the group introduced a lower-level certification called Certified IT Architect, and there are plans to launch "in the near-future" a high-level Distinguished Certified IT Architect designation, plus a definition of disciplines, beginning with Enterprise Architects.The ITAC program is aimed at practicing IT architects, including network architects, who are responsible for understanding business goals and developing an IT infrastructure that can help the business be successful.Full details about the program, including prerequisites, the certification process and charges can be found here, including why The Open Group thinks the certification is worth having as a validation mechanism.IT vendors can also get their IT architect certification programs accredited by The Open Group, which is what IBM has done. The accreditation authorizes IBM to recommend employees who meet the criteria for certification under ITAC. EDS is also putting some of its IT architects through the certification and last month announced that four individuals had achieved the Master Certified IT Architect status. Including the EDS employees, The Open Group's Bird said 20 individuals have gone through the program.We've discussed before the growing demand for executives who can speak in business languages and translate what corporate wants into an enterprise project. But there is no standard definition for IT architect. The Open Group has come some ways in addressing this issue. If it gets industrywide support for the ITAC program and the enterprise architect association, and both are recognized as gold seals for IT architects, it could be worth pursuing the accreditation.* For more about IT architects check out these two Network World stories: The rise of the IT architect; and On the job with an IT architect.