What are Salesforce Certifications?
Salesforce Certifications are industry recognised qualifications that prove to employers or clients that you excel in a certain field within Salesforce. There are three different categories/routes of Salesforce Qualifications, Administrator, Developer (Including Technical Architect) and Implementation Experts, of which each contain different levels and types of qualifications.
Salesforce Certifications are taken in the form of multiple choice exams that can either be taken at an exam centre or at home using protected exam software requiring a webcam. There are two exceptions to this, the Advanced Developer exam requires an assignment and the Technical Architect requires a self assessment, exam and interview. There are various pass marks and costs for each exam.
Administrator & Advanced Administrator– 60 Question, 90 Minutes, 65% Pass Mark, $200, $100 Retake.
Sales & Service Cloud Consultant – 60 Questions, 105 Minutes, 68% Pass Mark, $200 , $100 Retake.
Developer – 60 Questions, 90 Minutes, 68% Pass Mark, $200, $100 Retake.
Advanced Developer – Multiple Choice – 69 Questions, 120 Minutes, 73%, $400, $200 Retake. Programming Assignment 1 month time limit. Essay Exam, 60 minutes.
Technical Architect is a bit more complicated and requires a self assessment, exam and board review.
Salesforce Certification Routes
Most Salesforce users will take a similar route of qualifications. Of course this can change depending on the job role the individual is in and the exact purpose of taking the exams.
To start, users will have to start with the Administrator or Developer exams. The reason for this is that all other exams need a prerequisite of either the Certified Administrator or Developer. The reason most people start with the Administrator exam is because it provides the foundation and knowledge of the standard Salesforce System, the Developer exam is more focused around extending the Salesforce.com Platform with Force.com using clicks not code.
Below is a sample of a popular route some Salesforce users choose to take (Please note this is not a diagram of prerequisites). Users mainly choose to start with the Administrator exam as it is considered the foundation exam to learn about the SFDC platform. Moving onto the Developer exam you will learn to extend the Salesforce platform and customise it with Force.com. From there users usually specialise in a field, you can go down the Implementation Experts route if you’re a consultant, go for the Advanced Administrator if you are an internal Administrator or if you are a Developer/Technical Architect go down the top route.
Of course once you have your Administrator and Developer Certifications you can choose any combination of the following exams you like!
Where do I start?!
As Salesforce.com has grown massively over the past 10+ years, so has the platform to learn about all it has to offer. The best way to revise for these certifications to a combination of real life work, testing in a developer environment and revision. The most comprehensive way to revise for these exams is take the official recommended course provided by Salesforce, this is provided at a cost and is taken either virtually or in person. Of course Salesforce understands that not everyone can afford these course fees if you are not backed by a company so provides a multitude of videos, implementation guides, cookbooks and tutorials to help. If you are lucky enough to have Salesforce Premium support you can also find videos in the training catalogue.
You can also sign up for a developer environment completely free of charge. This is pretty much a full copy of Salesforce where you can test out things you have read with no expiry date. Sign up here! This is a great place to test out some of the features you read about. Infact its a great idea to test out every feature you read about.
If you are not currently involved with a company using Salesforce and are worried about a lack of real world experience, volunteer your services at a not-for-profit. Salesforce has a large user base of NP and a lot of them are without any Salesforce help.
Exam Format & Tips
- At the end of the exam Salesforce do not give you a pass mark or right/wrong breakdown. Its either a “Pass” or “Fail”.
- Salesforce’s multiple choice answer format will usually follow a pattern of 2 very wrong answers, 1 plausible answer and 1 right answer. Its your job to read the questions carefully and find out which one is right.
- A common exam technique is to mark down the answers that you believe to be 100% correct and ones you are not too sure of. This will give you a good idea of which ones to review.
- Revise the Study Guide and tick off each section after you have covered it.
- Join as many Certification groups as possible to share tips and revision material.