New Salesforce Certifications for 2015

Share this article...

85eb16073c9e7f0a4560c4303208a749 Over the past couple of years Salesforce has been very busy formalising a program for its certifications, and so was born, Salesforce U. Salesforce University handles with all of the training as well as the many exams and assessments methods that come with the certifications. When I first started taking my certifications in 2012, there were 4 main certifications routes, Administrator, Developer, Consultant & Technical Architect (For me I kind of think of these as the “classic” routes).

As the ecosystem grows and new products come into the limelight, the certification types and routes need to change. Over the past couple of years (mainly 2015), Salesforce has gone through a big transformation of its routes and certifications in order to fit it around their long term strategy. This does make a lot more sense but for people that are used to the “Classic” routes, it can be a bit confusing, let’s take a look at some of the new certifications and routes…


Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 15.08.41

Platform App Builder

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 15.01.11 The Salesforce Platform App Builder replaces the Salesforce Certified Developer (DEV401) certification. The main reasons for this is to separate declarative developing and programmatic developing. In the classic route you had Developer and then Advanced Developer, where Dev was declarative and Adv Dev was programmatic. This got pretty confusing as when you think of a Developer, you think of programmatic coding Apex coding, not point and click.

The Platform App Builder takes elements from the old Developer exam as well adding in new elements such as new Lightning features including Components and the Process Builder. Looking through the Platform App Builder study guide, the format is nearly identical, $200 registration fee, 63% passing score and 90 minutes to complete the exam. If you already hold the now “retired” Developer certification, you can take the transition exam which is cheaper and only has 20 questions.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 15.09.30

Email Specialist

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 15.10.02

The Marketers track is a brand new certification route which includes two new certifications. This has been setup for individuals to demonstrate their knowledge, skill and experience using the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

The first of these certifications is the Marketing Cloud Email Specialist. This certification has been designed to test yourself around email marketing best practices, message design, subscriber and data management, inbox delivery, email automation, tracking and reporting metrics, and external integrations with the Marketing Cloud Email application.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 18.51.32

Pardot is part of the ExactTarget package that was acquired by Salesforce in the middle of 2013 and specialises in B2B marketing automation that is now part of the Marketing Cloud.

Pardot Consultant

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 18.53.31

Now, before the Salesforce police get ahold of me, the Pardot Consultant did come out at the end of 2014 if I remember correctly, but I think it fits well into these “new age” certifications.

The first certification in the Pardot track is the Pardot Consultant. This certification is designed to test for individuals that have experience implementing Pardot solutions in customer facing roles. This certification will test you in areas around, Managing users, prospects & data, Maintain and customise the Salesforce integration, and building emails, forms and automation tools.

Pardot Specialist

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 18.52.20 The Pardot Specialist certification is the newer of the two and has come out very recently. This certification is designed for individuals who wish to prove their skills with building marketing workflows through the Pardot platform and opposed to the implementation side for a customer facing role. You should be able to, design workflows to support business processes and reporting requirements. Be familiar with native integration and the options available to deploy connectors and manage those processes. Build marketing assets like email templates and forms. Troubleshoot and solve basic platform issues.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 18.54.17

As mentioned above the Platform Developer track has been developed to really separate building app’s and customising the Salesforce platform with code, and clicks. The old Salesforce Advanced Developer certification has been loosely split into two certifications, Developer I & II. The reason I believe Salesforce did this is because to jump from the old Dev401 which was basic clicks, to the Advanced Developer which was almost all code was a HUGE jump. This way makes a lot more sense and gives developers interested in the Salesforce platform and easier way to obtain their certification but also reward those more experienced with the Developer II.

Platform Developer I

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 18.54.43 The Platform Developer I is designed for individuals that are interested and have experience building custom applications on the platform. As opposed to the App Builder exam, this is for individuals that have experience extending the platform using Apex & Visualforce. You will need to know about designing the data model, user interface, business logic and security for custom applications. Develop custom applications using Apex & Visualforce. Be familiar with the development lifecycle from development to testing, and have knowledge of the available environments.

Platform Developer II

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 18.54.50 The Platform Developer II credential is for individuals who want to prove their skills in having an Advanced knowledge of the programmatic capabilities of the platform. You should be able to design, developer, test, and deploy programmatic solutions that are maintainable and reusable. Follow Apex design patterns and object-oriented programming best practices.Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 10.51.05

Everyone in the Salesforce ecosystem knows that Salesforce Certified Technical Architects (CTA) are at the top of their game and is currently the hardest certification to achieve. CTA’s have to go through a self evaluation, multiple choice exam and finally reviewed by a Salesforce board. Earlier this year there was no real “path” to become a CTA, you just had to have enough real world experience. This has all changed since Dreamforce and Salesforce have officially released an Architect Academy.Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 11.11.43

The academy includes two brand new certifications to create 3 in total, the Domain Specialist, Domain Architect & CTA. As these certifications are not to be taken lightly and have a lot more content than a normal exam, Salesforce have split these certifications into “Domains” which are basically sections of the exams you will need to revise for.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 11.03.42

26 thoughts on “New Salesforce Certifications for 2015

  1. I purchased the Architect Academy bundle, and it’s just an e-book with links to Salesforce Help and the Salesforce Technical library (on the Salesforce Dev Community). In other words, it just links to pages that are already publicly available. Salesforce promises to add the vouchers for the domains when they come out next year, but it still doesn’t seem worth the cost.

    1. Thanks for your input, Stephanie. I would be interested in knowing whether this is a permanent thing or just something they’ve put together until all the formal material is put together. Otherwise I would completely agree, that does not seem worth it.

    2. Hi Stephanie,

      Firstly, thank you for your recent purchase of our new Architect Academy bundle. It is the first time Salesforce has put together a real learning path for the required architect skills needed in the market. Also, please allow me to address your feedback which hopefully helps you understand where we are with the Architect Academy program.

      What you have purchased currently has all the curated learning materials that exists as it pertains to each of our 9 Domain Specialist roles at Salesforce. That means, people no longer need to search and “guess” what content is valuable and what is not relevant to building your skills. This content has been vetted and approved by our very own Program Architects at well as ratified by an Architect board consisting of Partners and Customers. That’s what you have today – Learn Materials (and they will be modified and new content created from feedback from people like yourself).

      In December timeframe (subject to change), you will receive the next set of materials which are what we call Build Materials. These will be designated Salesforce orgs that will allow you to put your Learn Materials into practice. Designed with our Program Architects, this will allow you to get hands on skills relating to these 9 Specialist skills.

      These two sets of materials (Learn and Build) represent approximately 18-27 days of learning materials (based on your background and experience).

      Early next year, you will receive more materials consisting of Certification prep training, practice exams (yes, we are building practice exams for the first time) as well as a testing capability built in to your existing digital books. These materials are designed to get you ready to get your certification.

      Finally, when we have built them, you will be receiving 9 exam vouchers (potentially worth more than what you paid for the entire bundle) allowing you to build your personal Architect Certifications over time. And because you made your purchase before all these other assets are in place, you get all these additional benefits included with your current purchase. In the future when all these additional materials are included, the pricing will then reflect the content value provided (which will be more than our current price today).

      So thank you for purchasing the bundle at launch and I look forward to hearing from you regarding the upcoming additions to your bundle purchase.

      Wayne McCulloch – SVP, Salesforce University

      1. I bought the Apex and Visualforce bundle and was very disappointed. $240 dollars for 2 chapter e-book one of which was a placeholder and the other nothing more than a study guide with a few links to freely available content. There might be more content in the future of unknown value (I hope it is a lot better than what is available so far) but the money has been paid now for something pretty worthless in terms of study content. It should have been made clearer that the only real value there so far is just the exam voucher for an exam that is not even available yet.

        1. Rob,

          I think you should really go back and read Wayne’s answer. The $240 you paid for one domain is far below what it’s price will be in early 2016, even though you will receive all the added benefit of the Salesforce University is adding to the package. Ultimately, you paid money now for amazing saving later!

      2. Build Materials still say “coming soon”.

        I understand the idea of content spread across help, the success community and the developer community easier, and organized. But, it wasn’t presented this way to me when I talked to a Sales Associate specifically about the content. And, honestly, I’m familiar enough with these resources that I already have a doc with links and content, and I wouldn’t have spent thousands to have it organized for me. What’s more, I wish the content would have been actually put in the catalog instead of just links. It makes it so you have to login to inkling just to link to other pages online. I wish I could access the content like other ebooks, where I access the content within the document itself and not have to open up new web pages which always requires Internet access.

        I am happy to know that the vouchers for the exams will be potentially worth more than what I paid. That is one of the primary reasons I purchased (pre-paying to save money later). However, it’s been 70 days since I purchased and I still haven’t heard when the exams will come out. I’m just eager to get the full value out of what I purchased.

    3. Hi Stephanie

      I also got Architect Academy bundle

      1- Those are not just web links there are so many things which are not publicly available such as Video Training which was previously only available to Premium Partners, those included as Part of Architect Academy.

      2- Contents are organized in a very professional way for example if you want to get expertise in one domain it will gradually increase your knowledge as an Architect in that specific domain.

      3- You will get access to a Private Group of Technical Architect Academy for discussions.

      4- The real catch in this training is Salesforce wants you to think like an Architect not like a Apex developer.

      5- Most important thing is it is 100% Sponsored and Supported by Salesforce so it is worth an investment in your career. as explained by Wayne McCulloch “People don’t need to Guess & Search”

      1. Hi Misgah,
        Glad to hear you’re happy with the bundle. It’s probably just a personal preference. I’m so familiar with searching Salesforce help and the communities that a list of links just isn’t very valuable to me. Personally, I don’t mind searching 😉
        PS – .which video training are you referring to? The ones I saw were youtube links. There’s one that’s a link to the mobile strategy video series, but that is publicly available too. Let me know which one is only available in premium training?

  2. Hello Ben,
    You are doing really great work. I hold 401 dev certification. I want to do transition exam for new Salesforce certification which is replacing 401 dev certification. Could you please guide me how to enroll and do preparation for transition exam?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Ali, I actually haven’t had the time to complete the transition exam yet but when I do complete this I will be writing up a guide. You can enroll on the transition exam through the standard Salesforce certification portal. Thanks, Ben

  3. Hi Ben,

    What if I took the Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder – Transition Exam, Will I lost my Salesforce Developer credential after taking that exam?

    1. Hi Flor, I believe Salesforce will continue to recognise the Developer credential, but it is designed to replace this certification if you take the Platform App Builder. Thanks, Ben

  4. I have been wrapping my head around these for while. Was bit confusing. Thanks a lot for your blog. Very useful. Hope Service Cloud Consultant and Sales Cloud Consultant Exam are still there. Or are they being changed as well?

  5. Nice overview Ben – you can tell there has been a huge focus on Learning & Development from Salesforce over the past 12 months with the release of Trailhead and all of these new learning paths. Great to see all of the latest information in a single post.

  6. Hi Ben,

    My Dev 401 is up for renewal . I am wondering if its worth renewing it. The app builder certification costs the same as Dev 401 renewal. Any suggestions?


  7. So, we are into the new year. Does anyone know when the new architect exam is coming out? I hope it can be taken as a stand alone exam; and need not always be bought with the study material. I can see the value Salesforce is trying to provide via the study guide, but am sure there would be some who would just want to attempt the exam directly. Let us all know if anyone got any insight about when the exam is being made available.

  8. I Guess we have the Marketing Cloud Consultant , Development Life Cycle& Deployment Specialist,Integration Architecture Specialist and Application Architecture Specialist Live.

  9. I have purchased ebook for the salesforce architect academy but the vouchers for the exam didnt come with it and I opened a case with Salesforce to request the voucher and they never got back. Very disappointing customer service. I wont advice anyone to purchase those ebooks from Salesforce which are overrated anyway and you wont be given vouchers even after spending the money on them

  10. It’s been about 2 years since I spent the $2k. I just logged into Inkling today and ALL the ebooks and materials are gone! Bizarre, I’ve emailed support at Inkling since it’s shown in my account history that I redeemed my code. At every turn, seems like a terrible waste of money.

Add Comment