chris zielinski

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Recent posts by chris zielinski

Originally posted by James Clark:
Many of the most important skills required of a valuable software architect have little to do with API, frameworks and what is considered "hot" in the market or latest Google search.

Amen to that..

In the last few years of being an architect I get to use Power point and E-mail more than any other technology tool. In the end being a architect is all about convincing people that the approach you are suggesting is the correct one, convincing everyone from the big guys who hold the money to the developers and the end users.

Ask your self how good your soft skills are and if you can live for a few weeks without coding? Can you get others to follow your ideas without you coding everything? Do you understand the big picture of a business problem and not just the technical aspect? These questions should give you an answer to where you want to go long term.
I tried NetBeans 6.1 during my assignment but it could not handle larger UML files. Try Star UML.. free and real easy to use

Originally posted by Vijayagopalan Raveendran:
Try this link :

Saw some IBM 667 questions in the yahoo groups.. not sure how helpful they are..

Some folks have put their answers to the sample questions too..

Originally posted by James Clark:

I disagree. The old version of SCEA tested you on enterprise architecture design. The new SCEA questions do not access the knowledge required to design enterprise architecture. Deciding whether to use Swing or JSF is not an architectural decision. Choosing between using a Singleton or Abstract Factory design pattern is not an architectural decision.

James, I disagree with your view point.. What you say makes it sound like the focus of SCEA is Part 1 (with the objective questions)

The real crux of SCEA is the part 2 with the high level design tasks. Part 1 just gives a broad technology base to the architecture tasks..
I have been doing architecture work now for a few years and in my line of work I seldom code anymore. I would say close to 80% of my work is full time hands on architecture. The rest 20% typically gets sucked into mentoring and process improvements.

I however am architecting solutions concurrently for upto 5 projects at once.

Much like the focus of the SCEA part 2, the nature of my work is typically requirements gathering/analysis and high level design. My end deliverables are a slew of UML artifacts and a detailed requirements document including use cases.

I really do miss coding, but there is lot to be said for setting product direction before anyone gets to even write 1 line of code and to look at all the non-functional aspects.
look at the IBMSOACERT yahoo group, there are some sample questions posted in the files section. Not sure if they are for 664 or for 667..
[ May 09, 2008: Message edited by: chris zielinski ]
Has anyone tried the sample 667 test on the IBM site?

I took the test.. I was hoping that at the end of the test I will be given the the correct answers, but it looks like the answers are not given out .

Now I am left wondering if the $10 I paid for the test is worth it or not. Has anyone else checked out the test?

IF anyone who has taken the 667 exam can comment on how similar the sample questions are to the real ones that will be very helpful

Since the issue is to compare a rich client with a browser client, think of what are the issues with a Rich client like Swing for example:

- You first have to distribute the code to the client's machine. That could be a maintenance problem if you have to make bug fixes.
- You typically have to keep a constant connection with the server or come up with your own exception handling scenarios if you loose server connection
- If the client is truly distributed as in an internet application, you may not be able to use EJB connection with the server so you have to have some sort of HTTP wrapper classes to help you connect to the server.
- For a client like swing, you are more susceptible to client machine java version issues.
I was looking at this e-book from IBM

The book seems to have the basic info needed for 667 and helps one come up with reasoning on why a certain solution should be selected.

I too took the mock test and failed. It seems that all questions in the mock were scenario based and more often then not there are multiple possible answers for every question.
I got 144/160. Hopefully we'll get a breakdown soon to see where we lost the points
[ March 02, 2008: Message edited by: chris zielinski ]
Sun says that it typically takes 6-8 weeks for the result.
I'll share my 2c worth on the SCEA certification.

Unlike many other certifications, the SCEA exam is really more about holistic approach to business problem decomposition. If you look very closely at the SCEA exam and its syllabus much of the exam is really about UML, patterns and the ability to understand a business problem and propose a solution path.

If you consider Part 1 of the SCEA as the technology portion and parts 2 and 3 as the real meat of the exam you will see where I am going with my argument. The Part 1 is replaceable. If there comes JEE6 instead of JEE5, retake part 1 and you will have your new SCEA certification. Similarly if there is a JEE7 instead of JEE6, retake part 1 for the new exam.

Parts 2/3 on the other hand are really technology agnostic for much of work. Creating business domain models, creating logical architectures are a step above base technology issues like EJB/Struts/JSF etc. I am not trying to say that you don't need to know the underlying technology to create the architecture, but definitely there is more to architecture than just the underlying technology.

I see a lot of questions such as "Can I use spring for Part 2, or can I use EJB2 for Part 2" etc. That really shows that many people are missing the crux of what Part 2 really is. If your part 2 solution involved detailed struts components or JSF components then in my opinion you have missed the crux of the Part 2 exam completely.

Having had the luxury of doing "pure" architecture for a few years I am slowly beginning to comprehend the difference in the architect and developer roles. Many people in the software industry don't know the difference between an architect and a senior developer either and therefore an architect ends up doing much more core development work that they should be.

To round up, I'd say take a look at a more mature industry like civil engineering. Think of what a Structural architect does, take a look at what a civil engineer does, take a look at what the construction supervisor does. Each has their roles well defined. Never ever does a structural architect pick up a brick in his hand and start laying the wall. Of course, if the structural architect does not know how much load a wall can hold, then the wall is going to come crashing down when built..

Similarly a software architect needs to know the pitfalls of his suggested architecture. In order to do that, the software architect needs to have experienced building systems, but the software architect does not need to be knee deep in the code to understand the pitfalls.

The SCEA (parts 2/3) exam makes one look at the non-functional requirements. The solution must meet the functional requirements, yes, but always always keeping in mind the non-functional aspects. This is the very crux of the assignment and this is what you will be graded on, not whether you used EJB3 or EJB2.

There is no other such certification in the industry, and therefore just for Parts 2/3 the SCEA exam is worth its money. Does it have the industry value, probably not, but it does give the student an exposure into the architecture side of the equation and thereby proves its value to the maturity of software engineering.
[ March 01, 2008: Message edited by: chris zielinski ]
I was looking at the IT Architect certification program from the Open Group too, but $1250 seems a little too steep for my liking.. Plus the damm thing is valid for only 3 years.

Since I am fully in the Java platform, I was looking at a SOA/web service or a Spring certification. IBM seems to have a good SOA certification and so does BEA. My guess is that SOA is the next big thing buzz and in my consulting gigs I can see a lot of demand for SOA certification.

But really the 1 thing that I would like to do is to get to put into practice all the JEE5 stuff that I have learned. Now if I can only convince my company to look beyond J2EE - EJB 2.x and Struts!
The certification package that I got today for the SCEA5 included:
- the certificate of passing
- a cover letter
- and a link to get the logos

No scores or scores breakdown as yet. I was expecting that as part of the certification package but not to be.
[ February 23, 2008: Message edited by: chris zielinski ]
One of the unfortunate aspects of software industry is that it is still hard to answer what exactly a software architect does. How much of the role is based on technology how much is based on business skills.

Many companies simply cannot afford to have a full time architect so the skills an architect possesses in reality is a lot different than the skills an architect "should" possess.

IMHO any course/certification that provides structure to help answer these questions is very much worth it. The SCEA exam forces one to think beyond the developer role into solving problems in a conceptual fashion.

Name any other architect certification available in the industry for java technologies? I feel SCEA has real value because of Part 2,3. If the exam were limited to Part 1 then it has no value at all.

A Microsoft architect exam actually has multiple rounds of face to face interview to judge not just technical skills but also presentation and communication skills!. Now that is a true test of skill !!
[ February 22, 2008: Message edited by: chris zielinski ]
15 years ago