Failure is often a bitter pill to swallow. Luckily, Alona managed to turn her failure during her LSA certification journey into a valuable learning experience. In this blog, Alona will tell you about the success and the failure she encountered during her attempt to get the LSA certification within six months.

Do you get excited by embracing challenges? Do you frequently think: “the tougher, the better”? I used to thrive on that sentiment and I readily said yes to the most difficult challenges. However, my first attempt at the Lead System Architect (LSA) certification forced me to reconsider my approach. Right now, this new approach is the only path I would recommend to aspiring LSAs. So, let’s discover this path together!

The challenge: in 6 months LSA certified

Let’s rewind to 2019. I had just started my new job when two months later Pega announced an exciting offer. Every Certified Senior System Architect (CSSA) got the chance to get their LSA certification for free if they completed the course in six months. Accepting this challenge would have been the toughest possible challenge in my professional career. So, naturally, I embraced it. The following six months ended up being the most insightful months of my career.

Stage 1: LSA Readiness Assessment & first success

The first step in any LSA certification journey is the LSA Readiness Assessment. Remarkably, I completed it within 1.5 months with a good score on my first attempt. How did I achieve this?

  1. CSA & CSSA courses: I went through the latest System Architect and Senior System Architect courses, including the practical challenges.
  2. LSA Readiness courses: I also completed the LSA Readiness courses, including the practical challenges.
  3. Preparation Clinic: I attended the free Preparation Clinic workshop offered by Pega. Additionally, I also followed all the offered supplementary materials.
  4. Schedule: I spent all my non-working and non-sleeping hours studying.

This approach helped me complete the LSA Readiness Assessment on my first try. It was only after I failed my LSA Architecture Exam that I realized this was the wrong approach.

Before we go any further, it is important to mention that the estimated timeframe for completing a course is often rather optimistic. On top of that, completing a course merely marks the beginning of your exam preparation (for a comprehensive understanding, I refer you to the preparation clinic workshops).

Stage 2: LSA Architecture Exam & failure

A successful start provides both a recipe for success and confidence. So, I immediately started to prepare for my LSA Architecture Exam. With the other relevant courses already under my belt, I focused only on the LSA Architecture Preparation Clinic and the LSA course. However, an unexpected challenge occurred.

My progress dramatically decreased as a result of fatigue. Frankly speaking, it was affecting not only my preparation routine but also my performance at work. The saddest part about it is that nothing ever can substitute experience: the more experience you’ve got, the better your chances of acquiring an LSA Certificate.

Thankfully, I realized this on time. I still chose to take the exam and, as expected, ended up failing. However, my failure formed a solid foundation for my future successful attempt: I learned what to expect from the exam and what my weak areas are.

Yet, the most important lesson I learned was that life is not only about reaching goals, but rather enjoying the process of getting to them.

My advice

My advice to anyone wanting to begin their own LSA journey: start now! Go to the Pega Academy and start a mission, dive deeper into a topic you like. Don’t hesitate to seek opportunities to learn something new, especially if App Studio is still something foreign to you. Or seize the chance to discover the possibilities of an unfamiliar Pega functionality within your current project.
Did you lose track of space and time? Then, congratulations: you are on the right track and your journey to acquiring the LSA certificate has just started!

Join Alona on her LSA certification journey

This blog is part of Alona’s ongoing blog series called “The unexpected journey of a Lead System Architect”, where she takes you along for the ride on her journey to become an LSA. In her previous blog, Alona talked about how to become a great Senior System Architect. Don’t want to miss any of her new blogs? Then subscribe to our newsletter.

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