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TOGAF or SOA schools certification?

 
sundari ganapathy
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I am currently reading Thomas Erl's books for preparing SOACP certifications. While these books are excellent, they seem to have their own SOA principles although it is vendor neutral. I am wondering does OpenGroup ToGAF has its own architecture (possibly SOA?) standards as well.

So does reading both will cause confusion? Are they completely two different approaches? Sorry I did not do enough research on ToGAF as I did for SOACP.

While SOACP completely concentrates on SOA concepts, how much does TOGAF contribute towards SOA? I cannot find any comparison on SOACP Vs Togaf, which led me to think maybe doing both does not make sense.

Any suggestions will help.

Thanks in Advance.
 
Jayesh A Lalwani
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In short, if you are interested in learning SOA, don't do TOGAF

I answered a very similar question at length on Quora here . I'm repeating it here


A lot of people mistake TOGAF certification as "Architect" certification from organizations like Oracle or Microsoft. However, TOGAF methodology is at a much higher level that the architectures taught by technology certification companies. TOGAF won't tell you how to build a SOA platform, or a SaaS platform, or a mobile platform, or anything like that. In fact, it is completely technology agnostic.

From a TOGAF POV, the term Architecture means design. It doesn't just mean design of software, or the hardware network. It has an abstract view of design. Architecture is basically the design of a thing. It could be anything, from a rocket ship, to Walmart to your mop that you use to clean your floor with. The term Enterprise means any system made up of multiple actors who collaborate towards the same goal. Again it's a very abstract way of looking at things. Your family is an enterprise. A 10 person bookshop is an enterprise. A 200 person software company is an enterprise. A multinational company like Walmart with tens of thousands of employees is also an enterprise. Walmart in conjunction with all it's third party suppliers and contractors is also an enterprise. Note that enterprises can contain other enterprises within them.

TOGAF is an Enterprise Architecture framework.If you translate it from TOGAFese into English, it basically provides you way of "designing" any business, from small to large. It's technology focused, because it considers technology to be a big part of any enterprise, but it's not just about technology. It's about designing your company, including the people, places, processes, assets, liabilities, and yes.. software. Put it another way, this is how Computer geeks think companies should be run. It borrows a lot from best practices in technology and expands it to Enterprise wide activities. For example, it borrows it's highly iterative nature from Agile, It borrows best practices around IT Governance. It borrows best practices around requirements definition. It borrows maturity models that are used to evaluate third party contractors. IT itself has borrowed a lot of these things from non-IT management practices. TOGAF attempts to meld it all together

From a TOGAF persepctive, the people who are worries about building SOA platforms aren't Enterprise Architects. They are Application or Solution Architects. TOGAF isn't targeted towards Application/Solution Architects, although a Application/Solution Architect can benefit from learning it. TOGAF is targeted towards CTO/CEOs. It considers the CTO/CEO to be the Enterprise Architect. It doesn't tell you how to build technology. It tells you how to build companies that rely on technology.

 
sundari ganapathy
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Thanks Jayesh, again that's me who posted the same question in both forums and thanks once again for the very useful reply. SOA certification is also technology neutral in the SOA space (unlike IBM or Oracle SOA certification). That's why I selected this.

However I would like to see more views / thoughts on this topic because interestingly a lot of people and Employers think TOGAF certification is desirable for Application architect / Integration / Solution Architect roles! Also many developers trying to become Architects learn TOGAF (by default!). This is misleading if it has nothing much in common.

Regards
 
Jayesh A Lalwani
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I addressed this in the Quora post to after you edited it

The reason employers ask for TOGAF certification for Solution/Application architects because it makes it easier for the Enterprise Architect to communicate to them. To draw an analogy, this is the exact same reason we ask Junior-mid level software developers to learn about design principles and design patterns. These software developers won't do design as part of their regular job. However, knowing the principles helps the lead/architect to communicate with the junior developer. Also, the hope is that the junior developer will grow into a lead/architect role. Having the background makes that transition easier. Similarily, knowing TOGAF makes it easier for the EA to communicate to the Architects. TOGAF has a lot of it's own language, which TOGAFians affectionately called TOGAFese. The TOGAF certification is basically testing you on your knowledge of TOGAFese. Also, knowing TOGAF will help you grow into a EA role if you join a TOGAF organization. Some places, espescially government organizations have mandated that everyone above a certain level know TOGAF. Many times, they are just trying to tick a box

Also, it seems like some organizations use TOGAF certification as a filter. Generally, TOGAF certification becomes easier if you are already in a role that is involved in technical design and planning. If you are already a good Solutions/Application Architect, you will get some parts *like that* and some parts will be new to you. If you are already a succesful CTO, you will look at it and go *meh same thing new words*. If you are a PM, you might get parts around governance easily, but struggle with the parts that usually the technologists do. If you are someone who is trying to break into technology, it will all go over your head. When I took the exam, I went for a course, and there was a very junior BA there, and she totally zoned out. So, some companies put TOGAF certification as a preferred requirement. Having the rubber stamp gives them some assurance that you have been really playing some sort of architect role.
 
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