Recently, I became certified with the BCS as an Enterprise and Solutions Architecture Practitioner, this post details my experiences and what insights I gleaned from taking this exam.
I booked my course through QA, I have never used them previously as a training provider so was unsure what to expect. My previous experience of training courses was satisfactory. I was never truly overwhelmed by the course content and tutors. I never truly felt engaged by other providers/courses.
Facilities and Delegates
I arrived on the day to an extremely nice training facility which was nice, modern and professional. I have to admit seeing views such as this is probably the best I’ve seen within any training room.
For anyone not from Leeds, this is Trinity Shopping Centre.
Prior to attending the course, I wasn’t sure on the course numbers and found that the course was actually full (15) with a large spread of IT professionals from a number of different sectors, both public and private. I found people had varying experience, with some people having never touched on Architecture and some people using MODAF currently. This was a positive experience, and if anyone is hesitant about your own experience as an architecture; you need not worry.
I found the tutor (John Coleshaw) to be very knowledgable and an excellent tutor. I’d actually say he’s a credit to QA. John has an input into the BCS Reference Model, so he was well versed in the content and handle the large amount of questions I threw his way. There was plenty of time for group QA sessions which I enjoyed.
I found the course to be extremely interesting particularly with regards to the architecture domains I don’t deal with on a day to day basis such as the Business and parts of the Data and Application Architectures. I actually found the architecture concepts (Technology, Solutions, Software and Infrastructure Architecture) that I use on a day to day basis to be the most dry. The course format was slide based with group exercises regularly in groups of 5. This was a positive experience and the group exercises worked towards studying for the Practitioner exam. Its also important to highlight that the majority of the course is based on the BCS Reference Model and not concentrating on any particular Architecture Framework.
The course reference materials were of an high quality, pretty much everything was covered including:
- Content from the slides
- Example architecture (with Deliverables and Artifacts) from start to finish in Archimate notation
- Practice exams
- Revision questions
- BCS Reference Model
I’ve actually found myself referring back to this content on a day to day basis since I’ve returned to my workplace.
BCS Reference Model
I’d say some aspects of the reference model are out of date and require refinement particularly from the Technology and Infrastructure architecture domains. I believe this is already being considered and I would say that was probably one of the main critiques of the course.
I decided to take the TOGAF exam prior to this exam to be exempt from the Intermediate exam. The practitioner exam is case study based which is given to you in advance. The exam is 40 multiple questions and is pencil and paper based. I’d say this needs updating, but understand that the BCS are very strict on exams. The pass mark for the exam is quite high (65%), so I wasn’t overly confident of passing.
Once I’d taken the exam I had to wait a week for the result to come through. My result came through as 30/40 and 75%. To acquire your result, you’ll need to login to a dedicated e-portal provided by the BCS.
I’d recommend this course and the training provider and would definitely see it as a worthwhile investment in your architecture skills. I’d say definitely study TOGAF and pass the exam prior to taking this course, it provided a solid foundation for the course and my own understanding.