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Cracking the IT Architect Interview

Book Description

The ultimate guide to successful interviews for Enterprise, Business, Domain, Solution, and Technical Architect roles as well as IT Advisory Consultant and Software Designer roles

About This Book

  • Learn about Enterprise Architects IT strategy and NFR – this book provides you with methodologies, best practices, and frameworks to ace your interview
  • A holistic view of key architectural skills and competencies with 500+ questions that cover 12 domains
  • 100+ diagrams depicting scenarios, models, and methodologies designed to help you prepare for your interview

Who This Book Is For

This book is for aspiring enterprise, business, domain, solution, and technical architects. It is also ideal for IT advisory consultants and IT designers who wish to interview for such a role. Interviewers will be able leverage this book to make sure they hire candidates with the right competencies to meet the role requirements.

What You Will Learn

  • Learn about IT strategies, NFR, methodologies, best practices, and frameworks to ace your interview
  • Get a holistic view of key concepts, design principles, and patterns related to evangelizing web and Java enterprise applications
  • Discover interview preparation guidelines through case studies
  • Use this as a reference guide for adopting best practices, standards, and design guidelines
  • Get a better understanding with 60+ diagrams depicting various scenarios, models, and methodologies
  • Benefit from coverage of all architecture domains including EA (Business, Data, Infrastructure, and Application), SA, integration, NFRs, security, and SOA, with extended coverage from IT strategies to the NFR domain

In Detail

An architect attends multiple interviews for jobs or projects during the course of his or her career. This book is an interview resource created for designers, consultants, technical, solution, domain, enterprise, and chief architects to help them perform well in interview discussions and launch a successful career.

The book begins by providing descriptions of architecture skills and competencies that cover the 12 key domains, including 350+ questions relating to these domains. The goal of this book is to cover all the core architectural domains. From an architect’s perspective, it is impossible to revise or learn about all these key areas without a good reference guide – this book is the solution. It shares experiences, learning, insights, and proven methodologies that will benefit practitioners, SMEs, and aspirants in the long run.

This book will help you tackle the NFR domain, which is a key aspect pertaining to architecting applications.

It typically takes years to understand the core concepts, fundamentals, patterns, and principles related to architecture and designs. This book is a goldmine for the typical questions asked during an interview and will help prepare you for success!

Style and approach

This book will help you prepare for interviews for architectural profiles by providing likely questions, explanations, and expected answers. It is an insight-rich guide that will help you develop strategic, tactical, and operational thinking for your interview.

Downloading the example code for this book. You can download the example code files for all Packt books you have purchased from your account at http://www.PacktPub.com. If you purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit http://www.PacktPub.com/support and register to have the code file.

Table of Contents

  1. Cracking the IT Architect Interview
    1. Cracking the IT Architect Interview
    2. Credits
    3. About the Author
    4. About the Reviewer
    5. www.PacktPub.com
      1. Why subscribe?
    6. Preface
      1. What this book covers
      2. Who this book is for
      3. Reader feedback
      4. Customer support
        1. Downloading the color images of this book
        2. Errata
        3. Piracy
        4. Questions
    7. 1. Architect Roles and Growth Paths
      1. An architect's critical competencies
        1. Architects' growth paths
          1. Enterprise architect/chief architect/lead architect
          2. Business architect
          3. Domain architects
          4. Solution architect
          5. Technical architect/designer
        2. Qualities of an architect
        3. An architect's competency framework
          1. Benefits of competency framework
      2. Summary
    8. 2. IT Strategy and Advisory
      1. IT strategy
        1. What is architectural vision and what information does it contain?
        2. Why do enterprises need to undergo transformation or modernization?
        3. What are the enterprise transformation challenges?
        4. What are the guiding principles for enterprise transformation?
        5. What is the overall architecture transformation approach and what are the benefits?
        6. What is the typical road map for engagement (emphasis is on the architectural phases)?
        7. What are the different frameworks/tools that are leveraged during strategy/advisory engagements? How do strategy frameworks help customers?
        8. What are the benefits of IT strategy engagements?
        9. How do you engage with a senior executive in the organization, for example, CxO or IT director?
        10. What is competitive analysis (aka market scan) and what are the benefits?
        11. What is Decision Matrix Analysis or Pugh Matrix Analysis?
        12. How would you engage with CxO to sell SMAC offering?
        13. How are projects prioritized as part of the IT roadmap?
        14. What does the company need to execute a business strategy?
      2. Summary
    9. 3. Enterprise Architecture and Modernization
      1. Enterprise architecture
        1. What is the starting point for building enterprise architecture?
        2. Which stakeholders would participate in the enterprise architecture life cycle?
        3. What are architecture principles?
        4. Why do you need architecture principles?
        5. What are the most important artifacts of an enterprise architecture engagement?
        6. How does enterprise architecture support strategy and business goals?
        7. Explain a complex engagement in which you were the EA and the challenges you faced
        8. How would you mediate opposing views ?
        9. Explain where you applied strategic thinking to impact business results
        10. Can you provide an example where you drove a business initiative by promoting cross-organizational participation?
        11. How did you introduced a new standard and ensured its adoption?
        12. How to managed change in a complex environment for EA?
        13. How is EA ROI calculated? What are critical success factors  for EA?
        14. What are the benefits of EA? What are the benefits of EA for existing IT versus greenfield initiatives?
        15. Why do you need a current state architectural blueprint?
        16. What are the common current state architectural blueprint mistakes?
        17. Describe typical TOC for an end state EA document created for your earlier engagement
        18. How do you evaluate architecture conforms to the enterprise architecture?
        19. What is an architecture vision and what are the stakeholder concerns?
        20. What are business capability maps ?
        21. How to build an enterprise taxonomy
        22. What are the secrets of successful enterprise architecture?
        23. What are the things your CIO can do to ensure enterprise architecture success?
        24. Why enterprise architecture engagements do not succeed
        25. What are the common mistakes made by enterprise architects?
        26. Is enterprise architecture dead?
        27. How do IT support new business initiatives?
      2. Architecture governance
        1. What value does enterprise architecture governance create?
        2. What are the architecture governance-critical success factors
        3. What do you understand by architecture governance?
        4. How can one tell if the enterprise architecture is comprehensive?
        5. What are the objectives for the governance boards architecture compliance reviews ?
        6. How is the architecture compliance review scheduled for the program?
        7. Who are the stakeholders for architecture compliance reviews?
        8. What does the architecture compliance review checklists consist of and what metrics are used to validate compliance?
        9. How can one evaluate if the solution conforms to enterprise architecture?
      3. Application architecture
        1. What is the methodology for developing application architecture ?
        2. What are the typical aspects that you would look for in an application architecture?
        3. How are tiers in an n-tier architecture plumbed together?
        4. How is message delivery guarantee to a source system?
        5. What is an enterprise resource planning application?
        6. What is customer relationship management? What are the benefits of CRM?
        7. Describes the challenges organization faces while incorporating CRM ?
        8. Describe the approach leveraged for the product selection phase of the IT architecture
        9. Describe what you understand by application performance management (APM)
        10. How do you arrive at the costing of a solution while building RFP responses?
        11. How to migrate an application from a traditional environment to the public cloud
        12. How can you overcome organizational silo issues?
      4. Business architecture
        1. Why do organizations need business architecture ?
        2. What does Business architecture cover ?
        3. Describe the Business architecture inputs/outputs ?
        4. What are the benefits of business architecture ?
        5. How does business architecture increase operational efficient and capacity for growth ?
        6. Explain difference between a business analyst and a business architect?
        7. What are the benefits of business-centric architecture versus technology centric architecture?
        8. How are business architecture and BPM-related?
        9. How to identify business processes organization's value chain?
        10. What are the core components of an enterprise?
        11. Which modeling tools or frameworks have you leveraged and what is the value of these tools to the EA discipline?
      5. Data architecture
        1. What are the Data principles ?
        2. Describe the data modeling process
        3. What are the key capabilities of data architecture?
        4. What do you understand by data quality? What are the various tools for data quality requirements?
        5. What are the different backup and recovery strategies?
        6. What are the KPIs/KRAs data domain ?
        7. What are various data synchronization/integration capabilities? What are the tools that support data integration?
        8. What are the different approaches for securing data?
        9. What is a data warehouse? What are the benefits of data warehouses?
        10. What is the differences between OLTP and OLAP ?
        11. What is the differences between big data and BI
        12. What are Hadoop and MapReduce ?
        13. What tools and techniques have you used to manage enterprise data and data architecture artifacts?
        14. What is ETL?
      6. Infrastructure and security architecture
        1. What are the principles of infrastructure domain?
        2. What does the infrastructure architecture cover?
        3. What is SSO?
        4. What is an authentication, authorization, and identification mechanism? What tools are used to provide such a capability?
        5. What is federated identity management?
        6. What are the various options for implementing security?
        7. Explain the public-key cryptography ?
        8. What is more important to focus on, threats or vulnerabilities?
        9. What do you understand by phishing, SQL Injection, Man-in-the-Middle, and cross-site scripting?
        10. What are the important security factors to consider for web applications?
      7. Summary
    10. 4. SOA and Integration
      1. Service-oriented architecture and Integration
        1. What are the key capabilities of SOA and the benefits of SOA?
        2. What are the key components of the SOA tiers?
        3. How do you calculate the ROI for SOA?
        4. What are the different SOA modernization strategies?
        5. What are SOA entry points? How do you start an SOA initiative? What are the SOA design principles?
        6. How does ESB enterprise service bus relate to SOA? What are the advantages and disadvantages of SOA?
        7. How do ESB fit in this landscape? What are the alternatives to ESB?
        8. What are BPM and BPEL?
        9. How do you handle security in an SOA project?
        10. What are the KPIs for SOA?
        11. Which approach works better for service identification? Top-down or bottom-up?
        12. What is service-oriented modeling and architecture methodology (SOMA)?
        13. How can services supporting long-running processes be scaled effectively?
        14. What is OSIMM?
        15. What is the difference between SOAP and REST?
        16. What are important constraints for a RESTful web service?
        17. How do you transform a business by leveraging SOA?
        18. What is the composition of a service?
        19. What are common pitfalls of SOA?
        20. Do we really need SOA?
        21. Explain the different levels of enterprise integration
        22. What is a web service? Are web services SOA?
        23. Web Services and SOA
        24. What are SOA patterns?
      2. Summary
    11. 5. Solution Architecture and Design
      1. Solution architecture
        1. What are the most important technologies/specifications in Java EE?
        2. What are the improvements in EJB 3 and later versions of EJB?
        3. What do you understand by separation of concerns?
        4. What is session management?
        5. What is session tracking and how is tracking done in servlets for user sessions?
        6. What is the purpose of sessions and cookies, and what are the difference between them?
        7. How is the Java EE application session replication enabled?
        8. How do you version a service inventory?
        9. What is the key reason behind leveraging frameworks and libraries in application development?
        10. What is code refactoring?
        11. What is the difference between Object Oriented and Aspect Oriented programming?
        12. What do you understand by entity model/domain model?
        13. Describe the architecture of a medium-to-large scale system
        14. What are distributed databases?
        15. What is database sharding? Is database sharding the same as master-slave configuration?
        16. What is active and passive and active/active load balancing?
        17. What are the most important performance issues in Java applications?
        18. What are the tools for performance tuning and analysis of bottlenecks?
        19. How do you reduce DB communication and application bottlenecks?
        20. What are the options for making asynchronous calls within a Java EE 6?
        21. What are the various persistence mechanisms in JEE applications?
        22. What is the difference between performance, load, and stress testing?
        23. Explain use case diagrams
        24. Explain the difference between abstraction and encapsulation?
        25. Explain composition and aggregation and in class diagrams?
        26. Explain specialization and generalization?
        27. Explain the difference between compositions and inheritance?
        28. What are the benefits of the Spring framework?
        29. What is database deadlock and how can it be avoided?
        30. Explain the difference between the DOM and SAX parsers?
        31. What is connection pooling?
        32. What are the advantages of Hibernate?
        33. Why is String immutable in Java?
        34. Does garbage collection guarantee that the application will not run out of memory?
        35. Does Java support multiple inheritance and what is the difference between checked and unchecked exceptions?
        36. What is casting?
        37. What is a final variable? What is a final method? What is a final class? What is an immutable class?
        38. Explain thread states?
        39. Explain the advantage of collection classes over arrays?
        40. Why is Java considered a portable language?
        41. What is the difference between threads and processes?
        42. What is the difference between String buffers and String classes?
        43. What is ORM?
        44. What is the difference between a .jar, .war and .ear file?
        45. What is JSP?
        46. What is the ACID property of a system?
        47. What is shared nothing architecture? How does it scale?
        48. How do you update a heavy traffic site that is live with minimum or zero downtime?
        49. What are the important competencies and soft skills of architects?
        50. What are the modern practices an architect should be aware of?
        51. How do you ensure code quality?
        52. How do Agile and architecture go hand in hand?
        53. What are modern programming practices leading to good applications?
        54. What are the things that need to be considered when designing the web tier?
        55. What are the typical things you would need to consider while designing the business layer of a Java EE web application?
        56. What are the things that you would need to consider when designing the access layer (data layer) of the web application?
        57. How do traditional web applications work?
        58. Explain a web application implemented using Spring?
        59. What is a design pattern?
        60. What is a MVC design pattern?
        61. Can you list the advantages of the Spring MVC framework?
        62. What is JPA? How is Hibernate related to JPA?
        63. Which are the three main categories of design patterns?
        64. How do you maintain your skills and stay current with IT trends?
      2. Solution architecture - scenario Q and A
    12. 6. Emerging Technologies
      1. Big data
        1. How huge is big data?
        2. Where is big data heading?
        3. What is Hadoop? How does it work?
        4. What is MapReduce? How does Hadoop and MapReduce work?
        5. Is Hadoop mostly batch?
        6. What is PIG? Why do we need MapReduce during PIG programming?
        7. Why is it important to harness big data?
        8. Why big data analysis is crucial?
      2. Cloud
        1. What are the advantages of leveraging cloud computing?
        2. What are the deployment models in cloud? What are the key considerations for the cloud platform?
        3. Explaining the differences between clouds and traditional data centres
        4. Explaining the different modes of Software as a Service
        5. Describe the characteristics of cloud computing. What are the characteristics that separates it from traditional ones?
        6. What do I need to do to prepare for cloud?
        7. How does the cloud architecture overcome the difficulties faced by traditional architecture?
        8. What are the business benefits of the cloud architecture?
        9. What are the cloud service models in the cloud architecture?
        10. Describe virtualization and its benefits
        11. How enterprises benefit from private clouds
      3. Amazon Web Services
        1. What are the key components of AWS?
        2. Why is the isolation feature needed in Amazon Web Services?
        3. What is the function of the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud?
        4. What are the different types of instances used in Amazon EC2?
        5. What are the provisions provided by the Amazon virtual private cloud?
        6. What is Amazon EC2 service? What are the features of EC2?
        7. What is an Amazon Machine Image and what is the relation between an instance and AMI?
        8. How the cloud users utilize services from a public cloud in an economical way
        9. Explain the key concepts of SaaS
        10. Explain the difference between grid and cloud computing
      4. Analytics
        1. Can you outline various steps in an analytics project?
        2. What do you do in data preparation?
        3. What is streaming?
      5. Social media
        1. How do you use social media as a tool for customer service?
        2. How do you measure social return on investment?
        3. What are the benefits of a LinkedIn group against a LinkedIn page?
        4. How could you leverage YouTube in order to promote our brand and increase engagement?
        5. What are the two most important social marketing metrics a dealer should monitor regularly?
        6. Which social media channels do you recommend for the business?
        7. How can social media help create value for SEO?
        8. Explain the difference between SEO and SEM
        9. What is Facebook EdgeRank? Why is it so important to understand?
        10. What is your definition of social media marketing and digital marketing? How does that relate to our company?
        11. What is the first thing that you would do for the company in this position if we hire you?
      6. Enterprise mobility
        1. What is enterprise mobility? Why enterprise mobility?
      7. Summary
    13. 7. Methodologies, Frameworks, and NFRs
      1. Methodologies and frameworks
        1. What is the TOGAF framework?
        2. What do you understand by the TOGAF Architecture Development Method?
        3. What are the four TOGAF architecture domains?
        4. What is the TOGAF enterprise continuum?
        5. What are the different TOGAF certified tools?
        6. What is the Zachman framework?
        7. What is the difference between traditional methodology and Agile?
        8. How did you prioritize the requirements for a large program?
        9. What is a project charter? What essential elements should be captured in a project charter?
        10. What is reference architecture?
        11. What is benchmarking?
        12. What is the business value assessment technique?
        13. What is Continuous Integration? Why is Continuous Integration important?
        14. What is dependency injection?
        15. What is ITIL?
      2. Non-functional requirements
        1. What are the best practices to ensure good performance in an application?
        2. What are the best practices to ensure scalability?
        3. What are the best practices to ensure high availability?
        4. What are the best practices to ensure reliability in your application?
        5. What are the best practices to ensure maintainability?
        6. What are the best practices to ensure extensibility?
        7. What are the best practices to ensure high security?
        8. How is a session failover handled?
        9. How does your design handle transactions?
        10. How does the design handle authentication and authorization?
        11. What is application instrumentation (or profiling)?
        12. What are legal and regulatory considerations?
        13. What are Business Continuity and Recovery Considerations?
        14. How do we define and finalize NFRs for the projects or KPIs for the project?
        15. What is clustering and what are the benefits of clustering?
        16. What do you understand by distributed caching?
        17. What do you understand by the capacity planning?
        18. What are the different performance troubleshooting tools for Java application?
        19. What is load balancing? What are the different tools available for load balancing?
        20. What is the IP affinity technique for load balancing?
      3. Summary
    14. 8. Interview Preparation
      1. Dos and dont's for interviews
      2. Architect job descriptions
        1. Enterprise architect - consulting
        2. Enterprise architect - domain
        3. Enterprise architect - SI
        4. Solution architect - domain
        5. Solution architect - SI
      3. Case studies
        1. Enterprise architecture
          1. Case study one
          2. Case study two
          3. Case study three
          4. Case study four
        2. Solution architecture
      4. Summary