6 years, 7 months ago

Hitchhikers guide to TOGAF exam preparation

If you’re reading this post then it’s highly likely you are in the field of enterprise architecture looking to gain certification for The Open Group Architecture Framework, known by the acronym TOGAF and currently in version 9.1. It is also likely that you have chosen to certify in TOGAF as it is the most widely used of enterprise architecture frameworks, presently implemented in eighty percent of Fortune 500 corporations. You will also know that TOGAF certified architects earn an average salary of £67,500. If you didn’t know this and you are here for TOGAF then you have some good news, if you’re not here for TOGAF, then “Toto, you are a long way from Kansas”.

But let’s assume you are here to prepare for the TOGAF exam, both Part 1 getting you TOGAF Foundation and Part 2 so you might attain TOGAF 9 certification.

The TOGAF Framework

First things first, get to grips with the framework itself, I suggest heading to the site for a full read through of TOGAF 9.1 through all 55 sections, put on some coffee, this may take a while. I would also suggest heading to the down loads section of the Open Group where you can download a copy of TOGAF in multiple formats. The guide is free to download, however if you are using it for commercial purposes, make sure you take a look at attaining a commercial license.

The Books

Let us start with the course material, there are lots of TOGAF related publications out there. A quick search of Amazon returns 144 results offering multiple reiterations of exam preparation introductory guides. I like to play it safe, so in this situation I recommend purchasing the official study guides. Make sure you read these guides from cover to cover.

  • TOGAF® 9 Foundation Study Guide – the official accompaniment to Part one of the examination, the guide contains an overview to every learning objective of the TOGAF 9 foundation syllabus plus a plethora of information for preparing and taking the exam. The guide can be purchased in several formats at $29.95 for the PDF and EUR 39.95 in hardback.
  • TOGAF® 9 Certified Study Guide – this is the companion document to the Foundation study guide and gives an overview of all learning objectives and in-depth information for preparation and tips to help you pass Part 2 and become TOGAF certified. Again available in two formats, $29.95 for the PDF and EUR 39.95 for the hardback.

Alternatively;

  • TOGAF® 9 Certification Self Study Pack – why not purchase both guides combined, which come with a series of bonus materials including slide decks and whitepapers. This item is currently available in PDF format at $59.90 which is exactly the same price if you purchase the two guides separately. No discounts here then.

Practice Exams

A great way of benchmarking exam readiness is to take a practice test to assess your level of knowledge. Attached below are several sites that offer a series of exam questions, all free I might add:

  • The Open Group Official Demo – an official series of 10 example TOGAF questions straight from the Open Group which should take 8 minutes to complete.
  • The Open Arch – contains a series of 5 exam simulations for both parts of the certification.
  • Best Practice Help – although this site centres around a knowledgebase for ITIL, there is also a handy TOGAF quiz and Overview Presentation.
  • ArtITecture – this is more of a PDF of 30 practice questions which can be found on Chris Eaton’s WordPress Blog, Chris has been an enterprise architect for 15 years and is currently at BP havin previously spent 15 years at IBM championing Enterprise Architecture.

Book some TOGAF Training

There are multiple ways of preparing for your TOGAF examinations, those experiencing a greater level of success tend to invest in some form of training, of which there are several options:

  • Self Study – aka what you are doing now by following this guide, often the cheapest alternative form of training. However, you rely on your own self-discipline to set aside time for training and there is often no support if you struggle with a particular topic.
  • Online Learning – this is a middle of the road cost in terms of training, there are a wide variety of platforms available and it can be a case of hit and miss. Great platforms have a wealth of material, whitepapers and practice exams with online video tutorials and live support if you are struggling. Poor platforms give you pretty much the same material you can get for free with a bit of time and clever research.

 

  • Classroom based learning – often the most expensive and often most successful form of training. Put yourself in an environment conducive to learning with likeminded peers and a qualified instructor to take you through the material and answer questions if you’re struggling.

YouTube

After spending some time searching YouTube it turns out there isn’t a wealth of TOGAF related material here. There is however a 10 part series from Knotion on TOGAF training which is approximately 85 minutes and covers all the basics.

The Basics

Often, many forget the basics when it comes to exam preparation.

  • Have a plan – when setting about training, have a plan of attack with scheduled time slots for training and set goals along the way to mark achievements. Otherwise, you have no way to measure success and life tends to get in the way of training.
  • Environment – when learning, place yourself in a distraction free environment conducive to learning, otherwise before you know it you on Facebook or playing Xbox.
  • Test – we covered this with a series of practice papers included within the guide, but make sure you test regularly to assess your knowledge.
  • Learn your way – we all have different learning styles, some like text, some prefer videos and others like taking hours of notes or simply highlighting large block of text. Learn and digest knowledge in a way that suits you.
  • Sleep – this is pretty simple, once you get to the stage of taking the exam make sure you get a decent night’s sleep before the exam.

Go forth and certify

There you have it, make a plan, get the material, read some books, take a course and take the exam, simple. I hope that by reading this guide you will be well on your way to preparing and passing the TOGAF exams. This is of course a work in progress so feel free to add to this guide and point out other information sources that we may have missed.

Author Bio: Edward Jones works for Firebrand Training who offer TOGAF 9.1 training combined as part of a 3 day course. Edward has been in the IT Training industry for 2 years and writes on a range of topics including certification trends, study guides and industry news.