BCS / ISEB Certificate in Enterprise and Solution Architecture

This week I attended the BCS (British Computer Society, that refers to itself as ‘The Chartered Institute for IT’) ISEB (Information Systems Exam Board) ‘Certificate in Enterprise and Solution Architecture – Intermediate’ four day course and exam.  I’ll share my thoughts and impressions of the course and exam.

One the first day my hopes of the week being useful were actually low, as with many of these courses the main purpose was clearly about learning by wrote the facts required to pass the exam.  While this did indeed turn out to be true, the course turned out to be a lot more useful than expected.

This was due to a combination of factors;

– the instructor / tutor we had was actually very knowledgeable around the various architecture frameworks / ontologies such as TOGAF and Zachman.

– interaction with peers from a variety of industries and backgrounds.  As with any course / conference this is one of the key benefits as it gives you the opportunity to gain a wider viewpoint and see how developers and business analysts etc from different industries view architectures / business issues and what their concerns are.

– As the exams itself is largely about architect roles, frameworks and how they link together the course provides a good insight and overview of some of the most common frameworks and how there different terminologies used relate to each other.

If you want to know more about the course and topics covered, or just gain a greater insight into enterprise and solution architecture terminology then the web sight maintained by our tutor is is a great starting point;


Which also gives a clue as to his name.  If you do want to do the course and are UK / London based I’d recommend choosing a course with him instructing if you can, as he has many years experience in IT and the course material.  Graham also has some strong ideas and opinions which made for some great classroom debates.

I’d recommend this course to anyone wanting to improve their knowledge of enterprise / solution architecture frameworks, tools and terminology whether this is to aid a career in architecture, or just to better understand the concerns and considerations of the architects you work with.  Don’t get me wrong, the overall material is pretty dry as is the case with many courses around frameworks and terminology etc. but overall this course was well worthwhile.

Onto the exam – there is not a lot to say here, it is a one hour, forty question multiple choice affair.  If you have paid attention in the class and have a reasonable understanding of the reference model (pdf can be freely downloaded from the BCS web site or use the slides coving it from Graham’s site) , you should find the exam pretty easy, he says not having yet received confirmation of passing it!


Ten Technology Trends That Will Change the World in Ten Years





Not one I can claim any credit for, but I thought this was interesting enough to share. Cisco’s chief futurist and chief technologist Dave Evans’ ideas for 10 key tech trends that will change the world over the next 10 years;



As an aside, how cool is that job title?  I’d definitely like like to have that role..

He covers a wide range of ideas from huge data volumes to IPv6 to solar power to 3-D printing.  Definitely interesting and thought provoking reading.




Cloud Security Alliance Security as a Service white paper press release

Can be found here;



I know I have mentioned this work already, but this is the official press release from the Cloud Security Alliance for the Security as a Service Categories of Service 2011 white paper.

Exciting for me as I actually wrote much of the release as well as my roles contributing to the paper and managing the groups work as one of the co-chairs.  Big thanks to Zenobia at Zag Communications for bringing the press release together.



Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware by Andy Hunt

I loved this book, a totally refreshing look at how our brains work and how we learn.  This is totally different from the usual self help fodder and is actually based on sold science about how our brains are wired and how we work.

This book is from the well regarded Pragmatic Bookshelf – Pragmatic Programmers series of books and as such is written in a style that should appeal to technical folk.  While this book is clearly aimed at programmers, I think it can apply to anyone who wants to better understand how their brain works and who wants to improve their ability to learn and remember things.

The author introduces us to how our brains work – their architecture – how they are ‘wired’.  There are then explanations and practical examples of how to take advantage of this knowledge – how to refactor your wetware!

The book is an easy and interesting read, at a minimum you may learn some more about how your brain works and some basic concepts of cognitive science and neuroscience.  Try some of the suggestions and you may benefit a whole lot more.


Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

Well my first review (well impression as I read it some time ago) is for a non IT related book, but one I think worthy of mention.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with a general interest in science, studies using actual scientific method, and especially if you are like me just generally fed up with the lies and half truths fed to us every day by so called experts.

If like me you get particularly annoyed by the preachings of people like Gillian McKieth you will definitely find this book entertaining as well as interesting as Ben Goldacre pulls no punches in highlighting the issues with their supposed research and qualifications!

The book also covers many areas backed by either incorrect or entirely false science including Homoeopathy, ‘issues’ with the MMR vaccine, and Nutritionism – highlighting just how false and at times harmful fake science can be.

The book will also provide you with great ammunition should you ever struggle with winning arguments on any of these topics with ill informed friends!

A minor downside is that I found the tone of the book to be a bit to ‘preachy’ in places, but getting past that this is a book I wholeheartedly recommend.


Book reviews / impressions

I read quite a lot of books relating to technology / architecture / security along with some about learning and motivation, presentation advice and popular science.  So I thought it might be of interest to some readers of this blog to see reviews and thoughts about books I have read, especially if they are in an area you have an interest in!

To aid the organisation of this blog I have added a new category ‘Book Reviews and Impressions’  look out for this if you’re interested in my thoughts on books you may want to read.

The reason I have called this category reviews and impressions is because some will be proper full reviews while others will likely be much shorter brief overviews / impressions of a given book.  I’ll freely admit to having stolen the impressions term from Richard Bejtlich who writes the Tao security blog along with some great books as he uses the review / impression distinction in a similar manner.

I’ll start by posting thoughts on a few books I have read recently, so these may not be 100% thorough as they are not books I am reading currently.  I’ll then continue the process by reviewing books as I read them.


Security as a Service – Defined Categories of Service 2011 white paper published!

The first officially published work from the recently formed Cloud Security Aliance – Security as a Service (SecaaS) working group has been published.  This is a great first step as we have identified the key categories of service that can / will make up security as a service.

This document can be found here;


I’m personally very proud of this work as I am the co-chair for the Security as a Service working group which has meant bringing together input from multiple streams of expersts working from many global locations and different time zones.  I have also had to arbitrate any disagreements around content and ensure all experts who wanted to participate were able to provide their input.

In addition to the coordinating the various inputs and running steering meetings I also provided input into various categories where extra detail was required and also wrote most of one category that wasn’t picked up by the various experts who volunteered to help.

Our next steps are to to be finalised but they are likely to include;

– Finalising the version of the document that will be put forward towards an ISO standard

– Working on getting SecaaS added as the 14th domain of the official Cloud Security Alliance guidance

– Creating implementation guidance and examples for those looking to implement various SecaaS solutions

Watch this space and / or check in on the Cloud Security Alliance web site for progress updates.