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Community Work at the iSAQB

Interview with iSAQB member Alexander Simon at the OOP conference 2020 in Munich

Christoph Witte: Hello, my name is Christoph Witte, I’m a freelance journalist, and we are here in front of the booth of the Inter­na­tional Software Architecture Quali­fi­cation Board at the OOP conference in Munich. Today I’d like to talk with Alexander Simon. He’s an IT consultant and owner of the company emax-it. And he’s an active member of the iSAQB. Alexander, why are you with the iSAQB?

Alexander Simon: Years ago, when I was in software devel­opment, I faced a few problems concerning the quality of software products. What happens with the software if the connection to the database is lost? How do we ensure the perfor­mance and stability of software? I faced these problems not only in a few projects – all of these projects had the same problems. And I was thinking that I couldn’t be the only one who solved this. In the iSAQB I found other members and sympa­thizers with the same problems. So, we came together, and it’s a great community to work with.

Christoph Witte: Okay, so the community aspect is the aspect you like most about the iSAQB?

Alexander Simon: Yes, there are a lot of experts, and we exchange our knowledge, and our experience, and that’s great.

Christoph Witte: And what tasks do you do for the iSAQB?

Alexander Simon: As an active member I work in the community working group, and in that community working group we try to build up a community of active experts and bring exchange to a broad field. That means a lot of people out there have the same problems, and we bring people together in a casual way after work to exchange their knowledge and experience, and to answer their questions in a community environment. And that’s the main idea.

Christoph Witte: Okay, and do you do courses as well, or is it mainly the community work?

Alexander Simon: You mean, in the community in particular? Well, we prepare topics, so it’s not like we are sitting together without a topic. We give people a structure and suggest topics to be discussed. For example: How do you feel about microser­vices? What is your experience? What are the problems or solutions for this topic? It is a struc­tured get-together.

Christoph Witte: So, the discus­sions have a purpose. And they are struc­tured as well. Okay. And what do you consider the most challenging? What are the biggest challenges for companies in the architecture field?

Alexander Simon: The biggest challenge is actually my environment. We have a lot of legacy appli­ca­tions, and these legacy appli­ca­tions should be trans­formed into a new technology, so you have multiple possi­bil­ities. One possi­bility is to write them anew, which means a huge effort for all the IT experts and the devel­opment process. And the second way is to transform them, and the trans­for­mation of these software products to new platforms, to new environ­ments where they run, is the first big challenge that people face. And the second thing is the optimization of existing appli­ca­tions. We’re devel­oping software, and we have stress, we have budget gaps, and we have to fulfill every­thing. So sometimes we create solutions which are not the best fit. We are led into technical debt. And the problem that we are facing the most is not to be stuck in this technical debt, and to come out of this. And this is the optimization of existing appli­ca­tions, the continuous improvement of these applications.

Christoph Witte: Okay, that’s the second challenge. Is there a third or are those two the main challenges?

Alexander Simon: Well, if you want to offer good quality, then these are the most common problems you have to deal with.

Christoph Witte: How do those challenges transfer or translate into the work of the iSAQB?

Alexander Simon: We try and already touch on these topics in Foundation Level courses, and we have several topics at Advanced Level, like FLEX or IMPROVE or ARCEVAL, where these special topics are addressed.

Christoph Witte: So, there is a continuous flow from the community part of the iSAQB to the official course materials.

Alexander Simon: We try to be on the pulse of the time and to address actual problems.

Christoph Witte: Thank you very much, Alexander.

And thank you for your time and interest. And please remember the challenges companies do face now with trans­forming their legacy systems into digital processes and digital systems. Thank you very much.

Alexander Simon: Thank you.

Watch the full interview here:

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About the Author

Christoph Witte
Christoph Witte is the press spokesman of VOICE - Bundesverband der IT-Anwender e.V. He is a longstanding member of the IKT and online community. In addition to his responsibilities at VOICE, he works as a publicist, speaker and consultant. In 2009 he founded Wittcomm, an agency for IT/Publishing/Communication. Here he bundles his diverse activities as author, blogger, speaker, PR and communication consultant. Witte regularly writes articles for the IT and business press. In addition, he works as chief editor for two trade magazines of the SIGS DATACOM publishing house, BI-SPEKTRUM and OBJEKTspektrum. Before that, from 1995 to 2009, Witte worked as chief editor and publisher for the IDG publications Computerwoche and CIO.

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