I’ve had my eye on Pega’s LSA (Lead System Architect) Certification for a long time now. As a Senior Technical Instructor for Pegasystems, it seemed the natural and logical path to take. LSA Certification is Pega’s flagship certification and the pinnacle of a three-step certification roadmap for System Architects. So when a career growth opportunity presented itself at Pega that required LSA Certification, I threw myself into the CLSA Immersion Program without hesitation.
Making the Commitment
The Pega Certified Lead System Architect (CLSA) Immersion Program is an intensive six-week training course that prepares you for the two exams that you must pass to obtain the cherished title of CLSA. This program requires that you study and learn about advanced patterns and techniques that make for effective designs. You also practice building fully functional applications that leverage these patterns and techniques to demonstrate your ability to design, develop, and implement good architecture. Demonstrating effective application of your knowledge and skills is the key to being a successful LSA and successfully passing the CLSA exams.
Preparation is Key
You don’t come to the CLSA program to learn skills or to figure out how to complete basic or even advanced configurations in Designer Studio. You need to learn, know about, and practice those skills before seeking to become a CLSA. To borrow from Bloom’s taxonomy, the CLSA program is focused on developing and demonstrating the Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation capacities that are essential to being an effective LSA in the field. You demonstrate your core Pega Knowledge, Comprehension, and Application development skills while pursuing and achieving the prerequisite Certified System Architect (CSA) and Certified Senior System Architect (CSSA) levels; steps one and two respectively of Pega’s three-step certification roadmap for System Architects. Hands-on, practical, real-world experience is a quintessential part of preparing for the CLSA program. Ideally, CLSA candidates should spend at least a year actually working with the Pega Platform before embarking on the CLSA immersion program.
I focused on reviewing and studying all the material and lessons in the CLSA course and, most importantly, on completing all the exercises in those lessons during my first three weeks of the CLSA immersion program. While studying and applying the CLSA lessons, I realized that the CLSA immersion program assumes that you already know all the materials presented in the CSSA course.
I had obtained my CSSA certification on Pega 6.3 and I was taking the CLSA immersion program for Pega 7.1. I thought that what I had learned about Pega 6.3 in the SSA course was sufficient…but I was wrong. I had to go back to the well and study, review, and practice all the foundational lessons in the CSSA course for Pega 7.1. Pega’s Build for Change concept has many facets. One of them is that Pega is continuously improving, becoming more efficient, and challenging us as System Architects to improve our designs and leverage the many improvements introduced as the platform evolves. To help ensure that I pursued the goal of completing the updated SSA course thoroughly, I challenged myself to retake the CSSA Certification Exam for Pega 7.1.
My successful CSSA recertification not only helped me learn the Pega 7.1 SSA foundational materials, it also helped pave my way to passing the Part I Pega 7.1 CLSA certification exam.
While reviewing and studying the lessons in the CLSA course, we were also challenged to complete our first comprehensive application build. This additional assignment was designed to begin preparing us for the Part II CLSA Application Build Exam. We worked on this application build assignment in the afternoons and in the evenings. It took a lot of study, hard work, and (most of all) time. In the end it took me three weeks of 12-hour days, including weekends, to get through all the lessons, exercises, and the practice build.
Week four of the CLSA immersion program is reserved for taking and passing the CLSA Part I Exam.
I took and passed the Pega 7.1 CSSA recertification exam on a Monday. On Wednesday, I took and passed the CLSA Part I Exam.
Next up? The challenge of tackling the CLSA Part II Application Build Exam.
Stay tuned to learn more about the rest of the CLSA exam journey in the second half of this series!
UPDATE: Part Two is now available.