- By Sara Michael
- Sep 06, 2004
As agency officials strive to improve their enterprise architectures and as the task of creating that framework gains visibility in the government, more managers and chief architects are supplementing on-the-job experience with classroom training.
Many managers charged with developing an agency's enterprise architecture were unexpectedly thrown into the role, experts said, and they evolved with the job. Now, top-level managers and practitioners are filling classrooms and conferences to perfect their skills and tackle the intricacies of architectures.
"People had to start doing enterprise architecture, and there wasn't any training available," said Felix Rausch, executive director of the Federal Enterprise Architecture Certification Institute. "People are clamoring now to do the things right the first time."
With this increased interest, seminars and conferences have sprouted, which allow practitioners to share best practices and receive updates. However, formal classroom training has been slower to catch on, some experts said, and only a handful of universities offer classes that touch on the topic and even fewer offer courses dedicated to it.
Leon Kappelman, Farrington Professor of Information Systems at the University of North Texas College of Business Administration, said there are slim pickings for enterprise architecture courses in higher education.
"The reality of it is that you are lucky to have the topic introduced in the typical [management information systems] or computer science program," said Kappelman, who teaches a capstone course for the master's program and uses enterprise architecture as the common thread among course topics. Students should be introduced to the topic much sooner, he said.
But enterprise architecture may soon be included not only in technology concentrations but also in business and administration studies, said Mike Tiemann, a principal in AT&T Government Solutions' enterprise architecture practice.
"I think it's a general trend that more and more universities are beginning to realize that enterprise architecture is a core curriculum for computer science and information management theory," Tiemann said. "I am also not sure it will solely be in the schools where they teach computer science. I think the management schools are beginning to integrate it into general management degrees."
The most comprehensive classroom training for government employees may be offered at the National Defense University Information Resources Management (IRM) College, which has courses centered on enterprise architecture. One course, developed seven years ago as part of the chief information officer's certificate program, is specifically designed for federal managers. Versions of the course also are offered as part of the e-government leadership certification program.
Officials at the college recently added a course for more hands-on architecture training, in which students use the tools for planning and managing an architecture program, said Carolyn Strano, professor of systems management at IRM College.
"The initial course, which was intended to be a Management 101 course, was more or less whetting their appetite," Strano said. "They are now saying, 'I get this, and where do I go from here?' Now we definitely see there is a need and a demand."
The Federal Enterprise Architecture Certification Institute, in partnership with California State University at Hayward, is the only institution that provides training for certification in the federal enterprise architecture and DOD architecture frameworks, Rausch said. The program focuses on applying the concepts while learning, and students develop parts of an architecture in the program. The 10-week program