Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Enterprise Architecture interview tips

Who wrote the interview questions?

Face it - you are being hired as one of the top technical employees at the prospects company. Who is going to ask you questions? Chances are the interviewer didn't create them and had somebody else to do this for them. If this is a brand-new position, this will be especially true. If perchance you are replacing someone, this is less true but you can watch for opportunities to describe how you will counteract previous deficiencies in a prior experience they might have had.

2. Don't intimidate anyone.

A person in your position may be very intimidating to someone who fears not being at your knowledge level. Make sure that any questions you ask come off as purely inquisitive and not as condescending.

3. Collect great examples before the interview.

You should have a good example of something that you have done in every technical domain. Have a great story about something you did in the area of changing technical architecture. Collect similar quality examples in the area of data or information architecture, application or solution architecture, as well as work you have done with the business architecture.

4. Speak the language of business.

Your position as an EA requires that you are able to connect with strategic and business people in the organization. Make sure that your answers aren't full of techno-babble. Often a business person is the one doing the interview, especially a new position.

5. Be prepared to talk about how you will communicate the program.

Whatever program you create or contribute towards, they're handing you huge responsibility. They'll want to know what you plan to do with their investment dollar. You'll need to show them what types of activities and priorities that you have.

6. Practice sharing your vision.

If they are to trust you with their organization and technical leadership, you will need to share some of the things that you envision as important in an enterprise architecture ]program. You'll need to come up with a prioritized list and share some of your very biggest concerns with them.

7. You are the change master.

Enterprise architects are entrusted with leading change for an organization through technology. How will you help people deal with change both internally within IT departments as well as within the business community? Come up with some of the examples from the past and some of the most challenging experiences you've been through.

8. Talk proof of concept projects and prototyping.

This will show that you are not loose cannon and they can trust you with their architecture. If you talk about the times where you've tried something before making mass change in organization, you will breed a sense of comfort and trust in your interviewers.

9. Be able to articulate the architecture processes you've followed or used in the past.

This will be one of the questions they have been handed if questions came from somebody else. They will watch for words such as TOGAF, and Zachman. Be sure that you are able to articulate your knowledge in business terms if you have not used them, or talk about how you applied these in a previous organization (if possible). If you haven't, talk about that which you have studied or followed.

10. Carefully prepare your questions before the interview.

This is common advice for any person going into interview but your questions will be very scrutinized by the non-technical interviewer. You determine whether or not you want this job in the first place. Interview them! How ready is the organisation for architecture? They believe they want somebody in your position. If they are culturally change-averse, chances are they are not ready. Think of the questions that you might ask to test this. Be sure to know what it is you want out of this position. Where do you want to go and what does your future look like?


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