Tag Archives: AWS

Architecture Qualifications

I was recently asked about Software Architecture qualifications by a reader to the blog, and I’m keen to share my advice a bit more widely.

They are an experienced developer, looking to take a step away from being an individual contributor, to become a design and system implementation influencer. They wanted to know my thoughts about TOGAF, and how useful the qualification had been in my own progression.

My advice assumes that you’ve already decided that a certification or formal course of study is the right way for you to go on your next learning step. If you are a proponent of the 70/20/10 model, then this is very much covering what you should do with your 10% time. So, without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the possible options.

TOGAF was an interesting course of study, but I really feel it’s got a very narrow range of applications. I believe it’s only relevant for a very small number of extremely large organisations. It’s main focus was around the creation and maintenance of a large architecture practice in an enterprise, which is well away from the day to day of designing and developing systems.

If you are looking at a progression path from individual contributor to technical leader, then I’d strongly advise your favourite flavour of cloud certifications. I use AWS at the moment, and there’s a Solutions Architect track that’s really good. There are similar Microsoft paths for Azure, or Google ones for their cloud.

ITIL is possibly a useful direction, but that does tend more to hardware and processes, so might be less useful if you are aiming to design and create new systems, as opposed to running existing systems stably and efficiently.

If you are thinking modern companies, strong agile approaches and staying close to the day-to-day implementation of your designs, then the Cloud route is my number 1 suggestion, and there’s a lot of great supporting courses out there to aid your studies!

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AWS Cloud Practitioner

In a brief break from focusing on Leadership books, I’ve been brushing up my technical skills and reviewing some training material from AWS.

Amazon’s cloud offerings are many and varied, and they can be daunting for anyone unfamiliar with the basic concepts. The AWS Cloud Practitioner certification provides a grounding in these core concepts, and is suitable for anyone who has to interact with AWS in a professional capacity.

The AWS provided training consists of around 7 hours of content, covering the basic principles of the cloud, outlining some core AWS services and then covers security, design and pricing. It’s broken down into short videos with knowledge checks following each section. It’s easy to consume and easy to understand.

The certification is a single multiple choice exam, consisting of 60 questions with 90 minutes to complete. I also took the practice exam, which was 25 questions long, but I’d advise doing this a few days before your scheduled exam as the the results are not always ready immediately.

Once you’ve passed the exam, you get access to a digital badge┬áthat you can share to display your credentials.

As is often the case with these kinds of certifications, the value is in the initial training, which I would recommend for anyone who wants to learn the difference between EC2 and S3, and why either matters. The exam and certification are an additional extra, nice for hte validation but not fundamentally required.

This is a stepping stone for other more involved certifications, but I’d say it’s not required. An experienced developer could skip this and move straight to the associate level exams without missing much, whereas a product owner, scrum master or other non-technical person may really find benefit at the practitioner level.