Today i received a mail from one of my Blog readers. I think it is a general question about becoming a SOA architect and therefore i post his question to my blog, so that anyone can help him.
I will also do my share.

Hello Roger, 

I came across your blog and it is pretty helpful for individuals who are pursuing on a career path in SOA and integration area. 

I myself have been in the same path since the past 5 years associated with the iWay ESB. I am looking into strengthen my skills and grow into a role of an SOA consultant/Architect after having dealt with a variety of SOA based scenarios in the organizations where i have worked. But i have always found it challenging when we go into the job market as with many ESB tools in the market, its tough to market one self for that particular position as people will be looking for individuals having experience in the their own esb  tools. 

Even though the underlying functionality and concept is the same for every tool, still its tough to convince the companies to hire.

So how do i go about it and what sorts of skills should i pursue if i am looking to grow into as an SOA and Integration Consultant. I am looking to pursue the SOA Architect based certification from SOA School. More Knowledge regarding SOA i can gain from these certifications definitely, but how do i gain experience in the same if the industry keeps asking for experience on other tools.  

I was introduced to iWay from my first company and initially worked as a part of the support team and slowly grew into a developer's role and from then on i have been building my experience working on various integration scenarios using the iWay Service bus. I do indeed want to branch out and get to know how other industry based esb and etl tools handle these scenarios. 

I would be grateful to you if you could guide me with the same. 


My first reaction is: a tool is just a tool. Anyone with good skills can learn a tool. Another oneline: a fool with a tool is still a fool. And what i mean here, is that you have to know the concepts of doing SOA and integration, before you can use the tool correctly ! I would rather hire a consultant with good conceptual knowledge and some practical knowledge with a tool.
The challenge is to map that conceptual knowledge to the implementation of the tool !
* Use of a Common Data Model
* Use of eai patterns (i.e. store-and-forward, data-mapping)
* What to implement on the ESB and what to implement into a BPM tool
* How to expose the services (REST/XML/JSON/WebService)
* How to make the ESB artifacts testable
* How to divide the ESB implementation into manageable packages
* How to deal with technical and functional errors
* How to monitor
* What security is needed

With these skills you will become a far more valuable consultant, than just knowing the gritty nitty details of the tool....

Hope this helps !

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