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Architecture Training

Earlier this month, I spent a week on a BCS training course.  This combined two three-day courses on the topic of Enterprise and Solution Architecture – the first course being Intermediate level and the second Practitioner level. Both courses had an exam on the Friday afternoon.  This is the first time that I’ve taken an exam in almost 30 years!  I was quite tense.  The outcome is not actually that important (hardly comparable to my son's Advanced Highers which determine University entry), but I still wanted to do well.

The intermediate course covered the range of enterprise architecture: business, applications, data and infrastructure, as well as solutions architecture.  With such a breadth, it didn’t have time for much depth, but did present some useful ideas and concepts.  The terminology and structure was given in the BCS “reference model” (really more of a glossary than a full model), which is different in detail to more widely-used frameworks such as TOGAF.

By contrast, the practitioner course focussed almost entirely on solutions architecture.  It was based on a small case study, which we had to analyse in terms of architecture.  This worked well, at least in terms of assessing our understanding.  It had little to say about policy and governance, which are key aspects of enterprise architecture.

What really added value to the course, for me, was an extra case study provided by the training agency (QA), based on the transformation of their own learning management system.  They showed how to apply various techniques for describing architecture, moving the course from theory to practice. I don’t know whether other agencies do a similar job; I certainly appreciated the work that QA had put in to preparing this material.

So, would I recommend this course to others?  Well, for the people we want to train as solution architects, probably not.  There is a three-day course on Archimate that looks more suited to this task.  The BCS course is more suited to budding enterprise architects like me.  More experienced enterprise architects would not benefit as much, but even when I knew sections of the material, I found that attending the course boosted my self-confidence.  Especially when I passed the exams.

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