IBM launches SOA training program

IBM has launched a service-oriented architecture certification and training program for federal information technology professionals.

Sponsored by the IBM Federal SOA Institute, the 12-week program will provide agency IT employees and federal contractors with the knowledge and skill sets to successfully implement SOA projects, company officials said.

The program will begin Sept. 12 and run through Dec. 4. A second series is scheduled for spring 2008.

SOA is a way of organizing and utilizing an organization's information technology to more closely align with its business goals. SOA initiatives have taken on greater urgency at the federal level as agencies face budget constraints, security concerns and aging IT systems.

'SOA is much more focused than previous [technology initiatives] on the meeting of the minds of the business and IT folks,' said Frank Stein, program director of the IBM Federal SOA Institute.

IT architects can no longer go off by themselves and implement systems without the input of the business folks, Stein added. Plus, the federal IT community and procurement officers must be able to convey their SOA requirements to contractors, he said. A broader set of knowledge and skills are needed by both IT and contractors for SOA projects to be successfully implemented.

Two course tracks will be available via the Internet, Stein said. An entry-level curriculum will be offered for those who are new to SOA concepts and would like to increase their overall understanding. Professionals who successfully complete this course will be certified as SOA associates.

An advanced curriculum will be offered for those who need enhanced knowledge to deploy SOA capabilities in their organizations. Those who complete this curriculum earn SOA solution designer certification.

Certification modules cover issues such as the value of SOA, determining return on investment, bridging the gap between technical and business teams, basic architecture, establishing solutions using existing assets and new components, identifying barriers to adoption, preparing for governance issues, and effective deployment and management in an organization, IBM said.

IBM will augment the program with training and mentoring conducted in person or by remote conferencing. The company will also provide a distinguished lecture series focusing on introductory SOA issues, standards and collaboration. These sessions will give participants access to valuable information from IT professionals proficient in the latest federal-sector SOA practices.

The online courses, lectures and mentoring are free, Stein said. IBM is working with Prometric, a provider of testing and assessment services, which will administer the certification test for a fee at locations nationwide.

The IBM Federal SOA Institute was established in April and is focused on innovation, solution development and testing, and education. For more information about the certification program or to register, contact [email protected].

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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