I have received several inquiries from my customers about the Microsoft Certified Architect Program. Some of them are interested to know if there is any training program available to help them prepare for their applications. I am not aware of any training program for that purpose. The reason is probably obvious. Unlike other Microsoft certification programs which often require passing certain required and elective exams, the MCA program involves a thorough and lengthy review, mentoring and voting process. While it is possible and useful to get some help for completing your application, no training program can substitute or shorten your many years of practice and experience in the field of software, application, infrastructure, and database architecture.

The MCA is the most prestigious program that I am aware of in the IT industry. Therefore, I highly recommend that you consider becoming an MCA as you plan for your career. Best of luck.

Below is a description of the MCA program. You can find more information at http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/architect/default.mspx

To achieve the Microsoft Certified Architect: Infrastructure Certification and the Microsoft Certified Architect: Solutions Certification, complete the following five steps:

1.

Apply for the program by completing the program application and by paying the application fee.

2.

Your application will be assessed as compared with the established criteria, such as years and type of experience, architectural knowledge, and complexity of technical solutions to determine whether you will advance in the application process. If you advance, the next step is a telephone screening with an MCA who will determine whether you are accepted into the program.

3.

Upon acceptance into the program, you will work with mentors to prepare for your Review Board interview. Additionally, you will continue to work on your documentation. The documentation consists of a dossier that includes a work history, an architectural solution case study, and a document specifying instances in which you have displayed the program competencies.

4.

As soon as a mentor determines that you are ready, you must submit your final documentation and schedule the Review Board interview. For more information about the Review Board interview, see the next section about the Review Board Interview.

5.

At the conclusion of the interview and a positive vote from the Review Board, you will be awarded the MCA credential. For information about the composition of the Review Board, see Review Board Composition.