So, you want to know what the MCA review board will ask? Instead of giving you the battery of answers, let me instead explain the different cognitive levels that the IT architect has to demonstrate to the board to pass the review. (The taxonomy used is from Benjamin Bloom’s research of Educational objectives)

 

Knowledge

Remember and recall information.

Q: What are the core tenets of object-oriented programming? What are the typical components of modern email solution?

Words used by MCA board: who, what, where, when.

 

Comprehension

Organize and arrange the material mentally with sufficient understanding.

Q: Compare the logical models of client-server and n-tier architectures? Explain how the IPSec tunnelling works.

Words used by MCA board: describe, compare, contrast, rephrase, put in your own words, explain.

 

Application

Apply previously learned information to compose an answer.

Q: How do you apply the Enterprise Architecture Framework to your architectures? According to the definition of SOA, where do authentication services fit?

Words used by MCA board: how did you do it, apply, classify, choose, whiteboard the example.

 

Analysis

Think critically and in depth.

1. Identify the motives, reasons, and/or causes

Q: Why would you use an XML interface when querying a relational database? Explain the motives behind defence-in-depth concepts.

2. Reach a conclusion, inference, or generalization based on available information

Q: When is it inappropriate to loosely couple your components? What systemic qualities would change if you’d add the F5 balancers to the solution?

Words used by MCA board: identify motives/causes, draw conclusions, determine evidence, support, analyze, why.

 

Synthesis

Perform original and creative thinking.

1. Produce original inventive ideas.

Q: How would you design a space-station life support application architecture? If you could build it from the scratch, how would you build a geo-distributed computing operating system?

2. Make predictions.

Q: How will outsourcing to 3rd world countries change the way you develop applications? How will the next wave of technologies impact the staffing of datacentre administrators?

3. Solve problems creatively.

Q: How can you implement a unique identifier for individuals, given typical privacy laws? How could we switch the internet to IPv6 quickly and painlessly?

Words used by MCA board: predict, design, develop, synthesize, construct, how can we improve, what would happen if, can you devise, how can we solve.

 

Evaluation

Judge the merit of (or give an opinion about) an idea, solution or offering

Q: Which object model is better, J2EE or .NET? Compare and rank the currently leading operations management solutions.

This type of question is used to surface candidate's values and test the confidence in own opinion. It can also precede a follow-up analysis or synthesis question like, "Why?"