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Education Cloud Consultant Introduction
The Salesforce Education Cloud Consultant certification exam is one of the newer Salesforce certifications that specializes in a certain industry: Higher Education. The exam covers the Education Data Architecture (EDA), Salesforce Advisor Link, consultation best practices, and a basic understanding of core Salesforce products.
The exam will test your knowledge on:
Education Cloud Applications, Settings, and Configuration
Integration and Data Management
EDA (formally known as HEDA) has only been offered to universities and college for the past four years, but has already seen improvements made to continue to help education institution provide the best experience for their students. It is worth noting that EDA is an open-sourced data architecture and the exam will cover where to find available open-source solutions when designing a scalable solution for a higher education customer.
Salesforce professionals who achieve the Education Cloud Consultant certification will join a small group of higher education experts who thoroughly understand the benefits of EDA and other Salesforce products for colleges and universities.
Although I have only been in the higher education industry for seven months, I knew I wanted to take this exam so I could provide knowledge during the implementation of EDA at my university. Now that I have the certification, and thoroughly enjoy working in the higher education space, I will look to combine this knowledge with my ultimate goal of being a Marketing Automation Consultant by specializing in Pardot for universities.
I recommend this exam for anyone who works in higher education for an institution that is on EDA or moving to EDA or who wants to find a specific niche in Salesforce consulting.
Who's the Ideal Candidate?
This certification is recommended for anyone who has completed an implementation of Education Cloud or who has had experience in customizing and configuring Salesforce Education Cloud solutions. The EDA account model is probably the most important solution that an exam candidate should know how to configure for various institutions that may have different requirements for their account management. There are two different ways to structure accounts when using EDA as your solution: the household account model and the administrative account model. The household model has a 1-to-many relationship between accounts and contacts, while the administrative model showcases a 1-to-1 relationship between the two objects. Determining the account model for a particular university’s Salesforce org is just the first of multiple steps that should be taken to configure the Education Data Architecture.
Personally, I have not had experience with implementing EDA or configuring the various solutions of Education Cloud for any higher education institution. As stated above, my interest in taking the exam was sparked by the fact Northeastern University is planning to move to EDA later this year. Since I didn’t have much experience with the features offered by Education Cloud, I had to do extensive studying to ensure I was fully prepared for the exam. By following the study tips and strategy provided later in this guide and having previous experience of taking three other Salesforce consultant based certification exams. My thorough understanding of the Salesforce platform, administrating on the platform, and having knowledge of nearly every product offered by Salesforce also provided to be very beneficial when taking the exam.
It is worth noting that the he Salesforce Administrator certification exam should be successfully completed before a candidate can register for the Education Cloud Consultant exam.
1. Education Cloud Applications, Settings, and Configuration - 23%
This section is the largest for the exam and takes up nearly a quarter of the entire exam. This section will test your knowledge of the Education Data Architecture and Salesforce Advisor Link, especially how to install and configure each feature. You will also be tested on your knowledge of the compatibility between Education Cloud and other Salesforce as well as the limitations of EDA.
There are multiple steps that should take place once either EDA or SAL are installed in your org to ensure the solution is configured for the particular use case. One key topic to pay attention to is the considerations of installing EDA when person accounts are enabled in your org since the Education Cloud architecture is built on the Account models.
2. Domain Expertise - 19%
This section will test your knowledge of Community Cloud, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Pardot, and Einstein Analytics and how each product could be used to satisfy customer requirements across multiple departments. It is important to understand how each department interacts with students and what features would be the most beneficial to help improve the student experience.
The exam has many scenario-based questions that will require you to pick the most appropriate solution for the use case that is provided. Understanding the difference between Pardot and Marketing Cloud is key to help make an informed decision for the customer requirements that are provided in the business case. Understanding sharing considerations and license types for Salesforce Communities is also crucial for determining the best answer for certain business case questions.
3. Integration and Data Management - 17%
Even though this section is not one of the top three heaviest weightings, it is a topic that can trip up many people up if they do not dedicate enough time to learning the subjects. The key topics that you will be tested on are integrating a School Information System with Salesforce, understanding data migration and data management considerations, and analyzing the implication of large data volumes.
Similar to the previous section that was discussed, this section will contain scenario-based questions to ensure you understand these concepts and best practices associated with them. It’s important to understand data skew and ownership skew and how these can affect the performance of the Salesforce org you are configuring. Along with this, it is beneficial to know which API strategy (REST, SOAP, Salesforce Connect, etc.) should be used based on the business case that is provided to you.
Luckily, there are quite a few resources for studying for this exam. Of course, there is the official study guide which will be your first place to go – but quickly, you should get started on the prebuilt Trailmix on Trailhead for this exam that not only provides modules to complete within Trailhead, divided by exam section, but it also provides other resources that will help you prepare for the exam. I highly recommend that you read through both the Education Data Architecture Documentation and the Salesforce Advisor Link Documentation provided in the Power of Us Hub.
Above: Salesforce Advisor Link Data Model.
Above: How Education Data Architecture Fits into the Bigger Picture
It is also very important to have a basic knowledge of other Salesforce products, such as Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud, Pardot, and Marketing Cloud, and should know how these products work with the Education Data Architecture.
Like most certification exams, the Education Cloud Consultant exam has a large amount of scenario based questions. Most of these questions are pretty long and will try to trick you with multiple answers that could work for the particular scenario that is outlined. Here is an example of question you would see on this exam:
A university plans to use EDA for student engagement. The university wants to use the recommended default account model for EDA and whats to have a 1-1 relationship between the account and contact.
Which account model should the consultant recommend?
- Education Institution
There are also quite a few questions that will test your knowledge of other Salesforce products and how they would benefit a higher education institution using EDA to manage their student data. Here is an example of one of these questions:
An institution is providing resources to alumni. The institution wants to consolidate this information to one place where alumni search for other alumni, create groups for networking, and access articles about job placement. What Salesforce product is designed to meet these needs?
- Community Cloud
- Education Data Architecture
- Social Studio
- Nonprofit Cloud
Once you have reached exam day, you should try to make one final attempt to learn any topics that you are not certain of. A popular strategy for this is to print off a brief cheat sheet of the information you want to learn and try to memorize it leading up to your exam start time.
Make sure to read through the question multiple times before you view the answer choices that are provided. Once you move on to viewing the answer choices, you should start by using process of elimination. Although it won’t be as easy to determine incorrect answers as the quizzes on Trailhead, you should be able to eliminate 1-2 options that are completely wrong or just made up. They also like to throw in curveballs, of features that appear to be correct but aren’t best practice. You can often worm these out.
It is also highly recommended to utilize the “Mark for Review” feature available on each question of the exam. If you are not confident in your answer, or just not able to think of an answer right at that moment, you can use this checkbox to remind yourself to come back to these questions. Even though it is best to go through the entire exam two times, it would be beneficial to mark these questions so you can do a final review of the questions if you have enough time. Ultimately, you can get a good idea of how likely you are to have passed the test by marking the questions that you do not have a confident answer for.
- Make sure you download the Salesforce Certified Education Cloud Consultant Exam Guide and prioritize items with heavier weightings or topics you are not as comfortable with.
- Complete the Trailmix provided by Salesforce and read through the documentation articles available through the Power of Us Hub.
- Feel comfortable with various use cases around the Education Data Architecture and how other Salesforce products can be incorporated with it.
- Understand how to integrate data in Salesforce with Student Information Systems and how to migrate and manage data from one system to another.
This certification is a great achievement for any Salesforce professional working in the higher education or consulting industry. Ideally, you should have over two years of experience working on the Salesforce platform and over one year of experience implementing the Education Data Architecture for higher education institutions.
It is crucial to make sure that you understand the data models for EDA and SAL and have a thorough understanding of the Account Models available and how each one affects your data. Finally, it is important to understand how each department of a higher education institution can provide a better experience for their students through other Salesforce products that are compatible with Education Cloud.