Certified Software Architect Microsoft Platform is an online traning and certification program on agile software architecture. It targets ambitious developers that want to serve their agile teams with architectural knowhow. It's developed by Microsoft Sweden's lon-time architectural partners Sten and Per Sundblad of Sundblad & Sundblad ADB-Arkitektur AB.
The first version, launched in 2004, was a classroom version. The present version is an affordable and always available online program. It was developed because Microsoft Sweden urged Sten and Per to provide such a program. At launch time, Microsoft laglelled it as "Endorsed by Microsoft".
In 2005 Microsoft's head office in Redmond bought an unlimited license for free use of the program's curriculum. They told Sten and Per that the most important reason to select the Sundblad program was its uniquely strong emphasis on Software-to-Business Alignment.
Today that emphasis has been joined by an equaly strong emphasis on agile development of well architected software!
Scrum, the leading agile process and methodology, recognizes three team roles:
There is no architect role! Development teams should be cross-functional. They should contain all the skills needed to create product increments. One of these skills is architecture. The members having these skills won't be accountable for the product's architecture, though. The whole dev team is! Scrum documentations is clear on this. Individual members may have specialized skills. Full accountability still stays with the development team as a whole.
In other words,
The program's approach is highly practical. It's rich in theory, but each theory presented is there for a reason. The main purpose is not to teach you the theories of architecture. It's to give you practical tools and methods that you can immediately use in sharp projects. Almost every lesson will give you that. Tools and methods you can use right after having completed the lesson.
Increasingly, agility is a keyword for this program. In its first version, launched in 2004, it was not. Today, it completely integrates requirement processing and architectural design with agile software development.
There's another aspect of agility, though. There's business agility.
Businesses change more often today than ever before. They need to be agile about it, meaning that they must be able to change fast. Almost every change to business activities requires fast changes to the supporting software. To achieve this, that software must be designed for it. If it's not, the business can't be agile. And a business not agile enough lives in constant danger.
That's why software-to-business alignment is such a big and important part of this program.
The typical lesson is a micture of text, graphics and in some cases videos. Each lesson is designed so that you can complete it in your lunch break, if you wish.
Five program highlights are listed here. Select a highlight to see its details.
The content is divided into seven logical themes. You'll find a list of these themes here. Select a theme to see a list of that theme's lessons.
The "current" version is under constant change. Our goal is to keep up with new trends and technological opportunities. Opportunities that can help make solutions better. It has always been so, ever since the first version's launch in 2004. It's now more so than ever.
The method of introducing new content is soft. You may find new content first being added in the form of an addendum. Later on, it may be incorporated in the ordinary lessons.
Certification is optional. Many subscribers choose not to take the certification exam. They enlist to the program for the skills and knowledge it brings them. Most subscribers do choose certification, though. Among them are consultants who wish to get proof of the skills and knowledge they have acquired.
If you choose certification, you'll get your certificate as a PDF, which you can use in many ways. For example, you can post it on your or your company's web site and include with your offerings or your CV. You'll also be able to upload your picture on the certification site.
The certification process is simple.
The program content is divided into 17 modules called "logical weeks". The word logical is chosen because you yourself decide how long a logical week is. Exactly a week, less than a week, several weeks. It's all up to you
For each completed logical week, you're offered a set of multiple choice questions. If you give correct answers to each question, the program will check you off for that week. If not, you can go back to the week's content, restudy the parts you feel insequre about. Then you can try again with the new set of questions the certification engine gives you. You can do as many attempts as you need for any given week.
When you've successfully done all the 17 week tests, you're certified.