Originally posted by Beno�t de CHATEAUVIEUX: I think that, in Sun's idea, an architect doesn't need to code or even know how to code. He designs.
Sun partitions their certifications on role - the role of an architect to them doesn't require knowing how to program, but is solely a designer.
That said... I think the reasons that most of the SCEA's you see have a lower-level Java cert as well are because a) Most folks become an architect after being a programmer, and b) Exactly as has been said, it helps to actually know more of the underlying technology (perhaps to better appreciate where to use the various pieces) to successfully design software solutions.
Theodore Jonathan Casser
SCJP/SCSNI/SCBCD/SCWCD/SCDJWS/SCMAD/SCEA/MCTS/MCPD... and so many more letters than you can shake a stick at!
I actually think the SCJA exam is a great primer for SCEA. Many of the requisites on the Java Associate exam are reflected in the SCEA JEE5 architect exam. I really think having the SCJA can only help you in this regard.