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The basics of TOGAF certification and some ways to prepare

TOGAF offers architects a chance to learn the principles behind implementing an enterprise-grade software architecture, including how to align business goals with IT capabilities.

The typical business-level software environment presents architects a complex assortment of applications, automated processes, data, network peripherals, and other essential components to manage and coordinate operations across. Tackling this challenge requires a unique blend of deep technical aptitude and -- particularly in enterprise scenarios -- an ability to discuss key architectural concerns with both technical and nontechnical personnel.

The Open Group offers certification programs for The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF), which help enterprise architects grasp the underlying makeup of today's various architectural frameworks in use and the strategies that go into managing large-scale software systems in a practical manner, including how to ensure that all business stakeholders and team members are speaking the same language when it comes to key architectural decisions.

In this article, we examine the key principles covered in basic TOGAF coursework and review some ways that IT professionals who've yet to complete TOGAF certification can prepare for the necessary exams.

The basics of TOGAF

Through training for TOGAF accreditation, IT professionals can learn to effectively build and manage resilient software infrastructure based on key design principles and high-level framework concepts, particularly when it comes to large-scale application deployment, orchestration and resource provisioning.

The TOGAF exam helps establish accepted enterprise architecture (EA) terminology, with specific courses aimed at different types of industry verticals that demand their own sets of well-defined processes and methodologies. At its core, however, all TOGAF students learn basic architectural skills, such as how to reduce the overextension of IT resources and accurately predict the time required to implement certain software-based initiatives.

One specific area TOGAF focuses on is the Architecture Development Method (ADM), a strategic software methodology that revolves around alignment of EA concerns with core business demands and goals. Through adherence to ADM build processes, accredited IT team members learn to adequately define the scope of infrastructure-based projects, while simultaneously coordinating application development projects and architecture maintenance.

Resources to help prepare for a TOGAF certification

To pass the basic TOGAF certification exams, students must tackle a mix of both multiple-choice questions and graded "complex scenario" questions. Passing typically requires answering 60% or more of those questions correctly. Students can access the exam either through accredited TOGAF training programs or directly through Pearson VUE test centers. Most TOGAF exams have no prerequisite requirements, with the exception of certain TOGAF modules that require students to complete some exams before others.

Students that wish to prepare on their own rather than take a training course can access a number of self-study guides made available by The Open Group. There are also a number of independent publications produced to help IT professionals learn key TOGAF concepts, such as TOGAF 9 Foundation Exam Study Guide: For Busy Architects Who Need to Learn TOGAF Quickly by Kevin Lindley and The Practice of Enterprise Architecture: A Modern Approach to Business and IT Alignment by Svyatoslav Kotusev.

There are also plenty of architect groups and communities that offer resources for interactive learning and collaboration, such as GitHub communities that act as TOGAF-specific forums for members to ask questions, gain new knowledge and learn from experienced IT professionals. Many of these forums provide active, vendor-neutral environments for burgeoning architects to learn about emerging EA standards and alignment with specific business goals across finance, manufacturing, professional services, academia, government and telecommunications verticals.

These communities also offer access to diverse tool sets that help meet a variety of architecture development maturity levels and respond to specific needs across an enterprise. Some of the most prominent tools featured on The Open Group's list of TOGAF-certified tools are the following:

  • Bizzdesign Enterprise Studio.
  • BOC Group: ADOIT.
  • Software AG: Alfabet.
  • Software AG: ARIS 9.0 or later.

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