How I Approached my CLSA Certification

How I Approached my CLSA Certification

It all started in Jan 2014 when a friend completed his CLSA (both part 1 and 2). I met him to discuss how he completed the certification. After the meeting I understood that success in CLSA is not something impossible or you would need “X” years of prerequisite experience.  But for sure, you should have very strong hands-on experience in Pega and be extremely fluent in the fundamental concepts. What I liked most about the overall CLSA testing experience is that it evaluates not just theoretical knowledge but also its application in real life situations. Upon clearing this certification, my confidence as a Pega architect grew tremendously.

Below is a description of how I went through the process.

1.Before starting the preparation for CLSA, you should know all the concepts covered in Pega Academy CSA and CSSA courses.

2.You would then have to complete the Pega Academy course for “PRPC: Lead System Architect”.

I started my preparation in the first week of Feb 2014 and took the CLSA part 1 exam in July 2014. Ten of us were part of our group that studies together, picking topics and teaching each other as well as brainstorming. .

1. Each day, I made sure to spend at least 2 hours on the “PRPC: Lead System Architect” course.

2. Always had a deadline to finish a topic. I maintained a target for every week and achieved it.

3. In order to understand the concepts clearly, I went through the course video more than once.

4. I made sure to review the previous courses covered after I progressed..

5. As the course content is huge, we tend to forget the initial topics we covered. And also do not ignore the hands on part for every topic.

6. It took me 5 to 6 months to complete the “PRPC: Lead System Architect” course.

Garnering some confidence, I attempted CLSA Part 1. And I was able to clear the Part 1 exam. And now starts the big challenge – the preparation for part 2. For part 2, you will need to build an application in one week and submit it to Pega. I took the Part 2 exam in September 2014 and cleared it successfully. Part 2 for the 1st attempt costs 1000 USD.

Below are some logistical details of the Part 2 Application Build test:

1. CLSA part 1 Certification is mandatory for taking the Part 2.

2. Duration of the app build is one week. Exam can be scheduled between Monday and Friday 9.00 AM EST.

3. The requirements for the application to be built will be sent 15 minutes prior to the start of the exam.

4. You can mail Pega Academy for any clarifications, if needed. But in most of the cases, that won’t be necessary.

5. Pass score is 70%. Below is the distribution of the weightages: Implementation : 70% Best Practices     : 10% Design                  : 20% Total                     : 100%

6. A design question document will be shared along with the requirement document. This needs to be answered  and sent back when the application is submitted. The design document questions you on reasons for your design  choice and approach for future enhancements.

7. Pega Academy shall provide a cloud instance to upload your application.

8. Results are typically announced within five to eight weeks. Negative results tend to get announced earlier.

Some useful tips to remember:

1. I started with the sample application which was given at the end of the “PRPC: Lead System Architect” course. I  built that application and compared my design with the solution video, which was totally different. But it is ok as  long as you learn a better design and understand there will be multiple solutions to a problem.

2. Make sure your development environment is working properly. Check if SMA and remote tracing works properly.

3. Whatever rule you create, make sure to give usage and description.

4. Need to have good knowledge on the Case Manager portal, especially the reports dashboard.

5. Before implementing, make sure Pega does not have an out of the box feature to handle the requirement.

6. Review Process API to understand what features are available within PRPC before taking the exam.

7. Plan to complete the implementation one day before the date of completion.

8. Spend a considerable amount of time to answer the design questions.

9. Main aim of the exam is to implement the functionality end to end.

10. Do not perform any coding in the cloud environment. Treat the cloud as your production environment.

11. Perform a code move one day prior to submission and check if the cloud is working properly.

12. Document all the user IDs and Credentials in a separate document and attach it with the submission email.

All the best !!!

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