After 6 months or so after receiving the first email about the new Platform App Builder certification, I have eventually got around to revising and passing it. This certification has come about for a very good reason, mainly to replace the old DEV401 (Certified Developer) and to split up declarative and programmatic customisations. The old DEV401 certification was just about declarative customisations to force.com, that is the point and click way of doing things. This was a bit confusing for employers and users, as you could essentially call yourself a Salesforce Developer, even though you were not a developer in the classic sense. The next step up from this was the Advanced Developer certification, this was a huge jump as essentially it was the “real” developer certification where APEX & Visualforce were the main topics. The exam that I took was the transition exam which includes 20 questions and gives you 30 minutes to complete, this is available to all DEV401 holders.
In replacement of these two older and now retired certifications, Salesforce has brought out 3 new ones. Platform App builder for us declarative guys and girls, Developer I for those getting started with Salesforce in a programmatic fashion, and Developer II for the advanced dev’s among us. In this guide I’m going to talk about the differences between the old DEV401 and the Platform App Builder, resources to use and some overall tips. Enjoy!
DEV401 Vs Platform App Builder
As previously mentioned, the Platform App Builder replaces the declarative DEV401 exam. If you were studying for the old exam or are in the process of revising for your transition exam I’m going to give you some good news, the App Builder exam contains 90-95% of the content from the old exam. It’s probably better to think of the App Builder as more of an updated Dev exam than an entirely new one. This exam takes away some of the very old outdated features and adds in some of the newer features such as Salesforce1, Lightning App Builder, Lightning Process Builder & Social features. One important fact that you will realise when reading through the study guide, this exam does not include any of the major features released at Dreamforce & Winter ’16. I’m mainly talking about the new lightning experience layout, as this was brought out after this new certification that came out around the end of summer.
As always before I I take any exam, I look over the study guide and most importantly the weighting and objectives. Looking it over I felt pretty confident (As I’m sure anyone with 3 years + experience would), apart from some of the newly added sections. However, even though I felt confident with my ability to implement these features, Salesforce certifications are infamously good at testing your real knowledge about the platform. In this section of my post I will talk about what I did to revise and some of the sections that I concentrated on.
Force.com Fundamentals – Some of the Force.com sections from the Certified Administrator exam are as prevelant here. Aspects like Custom Objects, Lookup relationships, Master-detail relationships, Workflow rules, Validation Rules, Custom Fields, Field Types, Record Types, Page Layouts, Formula Fields, Roll-up summary fields and approval processes, all need to be known inside out. This was a section that I was very comfortable on but still made sure I explored Salesforce to refresh my memory. If you are not however, the best place to start is with a mixture of Force.com Fundamentals PDF and Trailhead.
AppExchange – The AppExchange provides many free and paid applications that can help you with business problems. You will need to know when it is sensible to use an application from the AppExchange, build it in house programmatically or declaratively.
Lightning App Builder – This feature has been around for a while now but a lot of us have not yet had a chance to explore it. You will need to know what it is, how it is used and what elements can be placed on a lightning page. You will also need to know the difference between a lightning page and component. The Trailhead module linked gave me a complete overview and a great introduction to the App Builder.
Lightning Connect – This feature was introduced last year and allows you to connect databases from outside of Salesforce. It allows you to display information that exists outside of Salesforce as an “External Object” so from the user’s point of view there is no distinction. The Trailhead module linked walks you through how to connect an external object, take note of the steps involved and the external and indirect lookup types.
Lightning Process Builder & Visual Flow – The Lightning Process Builder is relatively new compared to workflow rules, but it features heavily in this exam. You will need to know the ins and outs of all business process features and when to use one over the other. The linked Trailhead module takes you over Workflows, Approvals, Lightning Process Builder & Visual Flow
Person Accounts – Person accounts enables Salesforce users that serve consumers not businesses in a B2C model. It allows you to create a new type of account called “Person Accounts”, you will need to know what they are, how they are different from normal accounts and some of their key behaviours. The linked Salesforce article tells you everything you need to know.
Social Accounts – Social accounts in Salesforce allow you to connect your Twitter & Facebook accounts to essentially add a contact’s social network to their contact record. Allowing you to view their up to date information and activity if you follow or have them added. You will need to know the parameters around this feature, what does and doesn’t work and the security involved.
Salesforce1 Mobile – Salesforce1 introduced a great mobile app and also a feature called quick actions. You will need to know how to customise the Salesforce1 mobile app as well as implement global & object specific quick actions. Get to know the differences between the two in the Linked trailhead module.
Order of Execution – The order of execution of various tools such as validation rules, workflows, APEX before & after updates all affect how Salesforce works. For example Lighting process builder fires after workflows, this needs to be taken into consideration when using the two to build an application or process. Study the attached link to make sure you know the rough idea of the order each type of element fires.
Managed Vs Unmanaged packages – You are guaranteed to get a question on managed vs unmanaged packages so make sure you know the differences. These can include updating the package, versioning and what you can change in each package. Study the attached link, this will give you an overview of everything you need.
Changing Field Types – Salesforce gives us the ability to change a field type after we have created it. But depending on what the field type is and what you want to change it to, it may result in data loss, for example changing to checkbox from text will always result in data loss. Revise what fields are the exception and which will almost certainly cause you data loss.
- The App Builder exam is very broad but it does not go into extreme depth, you will not need to know how to implement person account successfully or how to build a lightning component. But you will need to have an overview of a lot of Salesforce & Force.coms features.
- Make sure you go over the weighting of each section in the study guide and revise accordingly. The social section as described above is worth 3% of the exam so you can only expect 1 or 2 questions, while the process and automation section is worth 27% therefore a quarter of the exam is going to be on this.
- Make sure you read other guides as well as my own, each person has a different take on the exam and may provide you with different insights.
- Another option is to look at Simplilearn’s certification training course, a very comprehensive option with full training guidelines
- Process of elimination is your friend! If you can’t work out which answer is right, try and work out which answers are absurd!
- The App Builder mock exam is available to Salesforce Ben Members here