I understood after the meeting that success in CLSA is not something unlikely or that “X” years of prerequisite experience will be sufficient. What I liked most about the overall CLSA research experience is that in real-life scenarios it tests not just theoretical expertise but also its implementation. My confidence as a Pega architect grew tremendously when this credential was explained.
PEGA CLSA process
A summary of how I went through the process is given below.
1. Before beginning CLSA training, you should know all the topics covered by CSA and CSSA courses at Pega Academy.
2. The Pega Academy course for ‘PRPC: Lead System Architect’ should then be completed.
1. I made sure that I spent at least two hours per day on the “PRPC: Lead System Architect” course.
2. There was always a deadline to finish a subject. For each week, I maintained a goal and achieved it.
3. I went through the course video more than once in order to grasp the concepts clearly.
4. Since I made progress, I made sure to study the previous courses covered.
5. As the content of the course is immense, we appear to forget the initial topics that we discussed. And also, for any topic, do not forget the hands-on part.
6. The ‘PRPC: Lead System Architect’ course took me 5 to 6 months to complete.
Gathering some trust, I tried Part 1 of CLSA. And I was able to clear up the exam for Part 1. And now the main challenge begins — the training for part 2. For Part 2, in one week, you will need to develop an application and send it to Pega. In September 2014, I took the Part 2 exam and successfully cleared it. Part 2 costs 1000 USD for the 1st attempt.
Some logistical details of the Part 2 Application Build test are given below:
1. Certification of part 1 of the CLSA is mandatory for the implementation of part 2.
2. The length of the development of the app in one week. Exams can be scheduled between 9.00 AM EST on Monday and Friday.
3. The specifications for the application to be produced will be sent 15 minutes before the start of the evaluation.
4. If needed, you can email Pega Academy for any clarification. But that won’t be sufficient in the majority of cases.
5. The pass score is 70%. Below is the weightage distribution: Implementation: 70% Best Practices: 10% Design: 20% Total: 100% Best Practices: 10% Design: 20% Total: 100%
6. A concept query document will be exchanged along with the requirement document. This needs to be replied to and sent back when the request is submitted. The design document asks you about the reasons for your choice of design and your approach to future changes.
7. To upload your application, Pega Academy will provide a cloud example.
8. Usually, findings are announced within five to eight weeks. Bad findings appear to be revealed sooner.
Any valuable ideas to bear in mind:
1. You may design the program and compare my design to the solution which was completely different. But as long as you learn a better design and realize that there will be many solutions to a problem, it is okay.
2. Make sure that your environment for growth works properly. Check if it works properly with SMA and remote tracing.
3. Make sure to offer use and definition, whatever rule you develop.
4. You need a good knowledge of the Case Manager portal, especially the dashboard for reports.
5. Make sure that Pega does not have an out of the box feature to manage the requirement until it is introduced.
6. Review Process API to understand before taking the exam what features are available within PRPC.
7. Plan one day before the date of completion to complete the implementation.8. Spend a large amount of time reacting to design questions.
9. The main goal of the exam is to enforce end-to-end functionality.
10. In the cloud world, do not conduct any coding. Treat the cloud as your ecosystem for development.
11. One day before submission, conduct a code movement, and verify whether the cloud is functioning properly.
12. Document all the user IDs and credentials and connect them to the submission email in a separate document.
PEGA CLSA prerequisites
Currently, CLSA Certification is the most coveted certification that PEGA has to offer, and I am confident that all the accredited LSAs are PEGA tools that are at the top of their game. But the sheer number of CLSAs I see currently on LinkedIn has diminished the sheen somewhat: after all, if you see 24-carat diamonds being sold in all of your local jewellery stores, your partner’s next diamond ring gift doesn’t look so tempting, does it?
Here is my list of suggested modifications:
(1) Mandatory Industry Experience of 5 years:
With regard to all the talented techies out there, one does not count as an LSA for 2 years of working in PEGA. Of course, one may have amazing technical skills, but those are skills learned as a Senior Developer, not as an LSA, and the developer normally works under a more experienced PEGA chief who makes all the important decisions.
It is required to render an LSA
Decisions to discern between a minor change that would have a major effect later on or a bigger change that could be expensive in the short term, but would enable re-usability and save effort in 6 months, and
Communicate the agreed modifications effectively to the appropriate parties and justify their choices accordingly.
I have to say this with humility: in our current IT industry, the opportunity to “tell what you created, and construct what you say” only comes with hard-earned experience.
(2) Have an Interview with the Submission:
Build a panel of seasoned LSAs, and in front of this panel, the CLSA nominee should be made to defend their design choices. Replacing an interactive interview session with a written design document will mirror the real world, where an LSA is asked to justify its design decisions in face-to-face meetings with interested parties, not to submit a written design document.
(3) Value more than just implementation of Out-of-the-Box (OOTB):
OOTB is how PEGA coding and design should be applied, and PEGA is doing a very good job to ensure that LSAs have a good handle on all OOTB functionality. But I feel we are too beholden to it somehow: customers sometimes have unconventional needs in the real world, and often they need creative problem-solving and not just adherence to OOTB characteristics.
One of the most fascinating exams of my life was the CLSA App Build, and while I was working on it, I learned a lot of new PEGA features. I feel that the exam will be able to make its requirements better and more tuned to the real-world situations a budding LSA will face with a little course correction and re-evaluation of the exam methods.