In the series “The unexpected journey of a Lead System Architect”, our colleague Alona will tell you about her journey to becoming a Pega Lead System Architect. Previously, Alona gave you advice on how to solve your first Pega problem. In this blog, Alona will tell you about the four daily tasks you should do if you want to become a Lead System Architect.
Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.
The typical question: “What is Pega?”
“What is Pega?” – was the typical question I heard when I talked about being a Pega Developer back in 2018 in Ukraine. It didn’t really matter who I was talking to: a friendly person at the bar or my IT colleagues with whom I was sharing my coffee breaks. Perhaps, the fact that my colleagues had no clue what Pega was should have been a warning sign. But apparently, I needed to learn that hard way.
One early spring morning, I was notified that the only Pega project at the company I worked at was coming to an end. As an alternative, I was offered to revisit my Microsoft .NET skills. Accepting the offer seemed like a wise choice, as the vast majority of IT businesses in Ukraine were not bursting with Pega opportunities. But was I satisfied with the offer? No, I was not.
One thing I was sure of, is that I wanted to pursue my Pega career further. So that is what I did. Here are the four tasks I did daily once I decided to pursue a future as Pega Lead System Architect.
Allocate time to Pega
The first thing you need to do is to allocate time to Pega in my days. It is this devotion of time that eventually got me where I wanted to be. Personally, I marked the time slot between 7 pm and 11 pm as “Pega Time”. Of course, in the beginning, I had no idea what I wanted or needed to do at this time. So, I started to explore my options.
As I enjoyed working for my employer at the time, I wanted to build a Pega branch within the company. Frankly, they could neither confirm, nor deny their interest, so I was aware that it was a very optimistic goal. I planned some other activities to cover this in case the company I was working at didn’t want to pursue Pega further:
- Awaken Pega interest in the company
- Strengthen my technical Pega skills
- Build a strong network of connections with other Pega Developers
Awaken Pega interest in the company
At my previous company, we had a small Pega community of four Pega-minded people, who were all full-time engaged with non-related Pega projects. However, our desire to bring value with Pega to a customer in need was strong. So, we started to work on several areas simultaneously to awaken interest in Pega at the company.
Our first priority was to recruit colleagues from the sales department to advocate for Pega and bring us new Pega projects. In order to do this, we tried to raise their awareness of Pega and look for ways to connect them with Pega representatives at their locations. Overall, it was a great experience. Not once did I find myself still at the office at 3 am, drafting yet another presentation. Unfortunately, our modest Pega community and limited sales knowledge were not enough to ignite the spark in the company about having Pega branch. So, eventually, we all needed to move on.
Years later, I would join another company, which would be taking its first steps with building Pega branch. Here I played a significant part in converting a prospect into a billable project. Stay tuned for future articles to learn more! It soon became evident that I needed to prove my technical Pega skills with certificates when I was exploring various Pega opportunities. Something that came as a surprise, considering my Microsoft .NET background, as here certification didn’t matter. Luckily, I knew what needed to be done. I enrolled in a CSSA course, and soon I became a certified Pega Senior System Architect.
Strengthen technical Pega skills
It soon became evident that I needed to prove my technical Pega skills with certificates when I was exploring various Pega opportunities. Something that came as a surprise, considering my Microsoft .NET background, as here certification didn’t matter. Luckily, I knew what needed to be done. I enrolled in a CSSA course and soon afterward I became a certified Pega Senior System Architect.
Network with other Pega Developers
Our network and reputation are two things that bring us exciting new opportunities. You might take it for granted when you have one, but I can assure you, that you are definitely going to notice its absence. I found myself with zero Pega opportunities when I had almost no Pega connections. At the time, I had no idea what to do. However, I once heard that one way to expand your network is to go to relevant events. So, that is where I started.
I attended a Pega Developers meetup in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as I had hoped. I have never been a talkative person. So, I found out during the event that I was unaware of how to network. Luckily, there were a few people who approached me themselves. Since then, I did a networking course and slightly improved my networking skills. However, I still have a lot to learn.
One of the people I talked to at the developers meetup in Amsterdam approached me with a job offer a few months after the event. This opportunity was a life changer for me. The experience I gained at this job brought my Pega skills and knowledge to a whole new level. In my next article, I will tell you more about what made this opportunity so special.
Four necessary daily tasks
“Do not waste time. Always anticipate the risks” – something I had to learn the hard way. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) make the same mistakes twice. So, make sure you can check off these four daily tasks when you embark on your Lead System Architect:
- Allocate time in your day to learn something new about Pega;
- Contribute to your company’s Pega community;
- Dig deeper into at least one technical Pega aspect;
- Bring value to the international Pega community.
See you next week!