Salesforce Certification Pathways 2023 [Infographic]
More Salesforce certifications are released every year, and if you’re like some Trailblazers, you have an urge to “catch ‘em all”!
Here’s a Salesforce certification map for where you can take your career. You’ll find the recommended experience and prerequisite certifications you will need to progress to the next stage. Which path will you follow?
Dividing up the certifications into pathways was not an easy task – what this proves, is that a career with Salesforce can take different turns. Trailblazers can choose their next step from a range of options.
We chose the following paths, and gave them each a color:
Although you are able to blaze your own path, there are rules that do need to be followed. Some certifications have prerequisites (certifications that you need to pass before you can attempt your target certification) which form the backbone of the pathways. For example, before you can take Advanced Administrator, you must have passed the Certified Administrator exam.
The dotted lines show which certifications are related to each other, but not strictly prerequisites. We didn’t want to leave these path options off the certification landscape!
You will find the recommended experience in months or years on each certification, in line with Salesforce’s suggestion. An important approach to certifications is for candidates to have real-life experience working with these products; certifications may be one thing, but the hands-on, tangible experience will be more valuable in the long run. Something that is hard to test in a multiple-choice exam, but Salesforce have written their questions to oust out inexperienced professionals.
A couple of outliers to note:
- CPQ Specialist: Neither core administrator nor consultant.
- Platform App Builder: Part of the architect pathway, but most popular among admins.
Thank you for putting this resource together! One issue I did see, Platform Developer 1 is part of the Application Architect track, but not listed in the Infographic. I’m currently going for Application Architect, and I know this is listed in the Trailhead site as a requirement.
Hi Christian, thanks for your comment 🙂 yes, you are right, and there is a line that goes from PD 1 to the architect track representing that it’s a prerequisite. This was the challenge we had to make a trade-off on – there are some certifications that overlap two categories. Hope this makes sense!
Good luck on your Architect journey, let us know how you get on.
Agreed. I’d also put a dotted line from Advanced Admin to Data Architecture + Sharing & Visibility. For the truly master-level Admin leading a large global enterprise implementation of Salesforce, that level of knowledge is necessary; “Advanced Admin” is not enough.
I’d almost group it a little bit by cloud, then branch by declarative-only vs. +programmatic. That puts Admin first, followed by a 2nd level which includes App Builder + Advanced Admin + Sales/Service Cloud, then the 3rd level which branches one way into specific clouds (incl. MC non-dev), and another way into the Application Architect/designer certs. At level 2 you also have PD1 when then branches at level 3 into PD2 or System Architect certs or product-specific (MC dev, Heroku, etc.). Then of course, the Application/System Architect pieces converge into CTA.
Hi, thanks for taking the time to think this through and share your suggestion! After sitting down to digest and imagine it in my head, I have noted this down as a potential approach for our next version of the Cert paths. I will be in touch with you for any questions, if that’s ok with you?
Many thanks, Lucy
Hi Guys. Need guidance. Currently am working as Citrix Cloud Consultant. Am looking to change my career into Salesforce Service Cloud Engineer/Consultant. Please suggest a Learning and Certification path. Thanks.
Hello lucy, Which Certification I should try as a begineer first.
It depends whether you want to pursue a career as an Administrator (point and click/clicks not code), or Developer career (code).
It depends whether you want to purse a career as an Administrator (point and click/clicks not code), or Developer career (code).
Finally someone has put all this into a coherent context. Very nice article. Thank you
Thank you Dave!
Thank you very much for the detailed information . It’s very helpful for a person like me who wants to start a new career in salesforce.
B2C Commerce Architect is not mentioned at all
Hi! Thanks for pointing this out – it’s been added. It’s one of those lesser well-known ones, but now it’s on the map!
Simply great….. Article pertaining to no.1 CRM certification….. Well done Lucy…
Thank you 🙂
Finally, I got it. Very Nice Article. Thanks for putting this together
Hi. I would love to get a Salesforce certification however I want to specialize in finance. What are the options
Hi Kee, as there’s no certification for the Financial Services Cloud (FSC), currently you will need to pair up the standard certifications with real industry experience. Good luck with your journey, let us know how you get on
Does CPQ specialist have to have any salesforce background like be an Admin?
Hi! I’m a beginner Trailblazer, thank you for clarifying the career paths for me!
I was just wondering, I really want to get the Certified Administrator certificate, but how can I get the recommended real life experience under my belt if I only just started figuring out how to use Salesforce?
Are there jobs out there that would actually let me try out and develop my skills as a beginner?
Thank you for your answer!
Hi Nina, how to answer this question isn’t straightforward. You can maybe volunteer your time for a nonprofit, but these organisations are normally using the Nonprofit Success Pack (that’s different from core standard Salesforce). Also, you have to be responsible to be Administering their Salesforce always with best practice in mind. There’s some advice in this post which you may find useful – if we hear of any organisations wanting support, we will let you know!
Nice, how do I start
It depends whether you want to pursue a career as an Administrator (point and click/clicks not code), or Developer career (code)!
This is great article. Thanks Lucy.
I am preparing for app builder and its helpful to see what I should cover.
Hi Vivek, that’s great – one of my favourite certifications! You should check this out too: https://www.salesforceben.com/platform-app-builder-certification-guide-tips/
Michiel van Gaalen
Wow, Lucy, way to go!
Thank you for the article. I’m about to take the B2B commerce Administrator certification and was wondering where it fits in the Infographic?
Is there a way to download the infographic? This one is hard to read.
Apologies there was an issue with it. It should be working now if you click on it. Thanks for making us aware!
Great article thanks Lucy – any chance you can make the diagram bigger? It is very hard to read, but it sums the learning paths up very well. Thanks.
Development lifestyle is a humorous typo but it should be lifecycle 😉
Thanks for letting us know!
Hi, I’m new to Salesforce. I want to build my career in SF. Suggestions will be appreciated regarding which certifications are best for the beginners and the graphic shows the recommended experiences, how can I get the experience as a beginner.
Hi, can we have an update with this infographic?
The MC Admin is the pre-requisite to MC Consultant and the MC Email Specialist for MC Dev
Also, can we include the new B2C Solution Architect.
Thanks and more power to the team!
Content here based on the salesforce certification pathways. Anyone searching for same topic may find their shelter here. I am sure many people will come to read this in future. Great blog indeed, will visit again future to read more!! You have done a great research for I feel, thanks for sharing.I have also found this resource Infographicgallery.com useful and its related to what you are mentioning.
Hi, can we have an updated version of this certification pathways?
Specifically on B2C Solutions Architect and other new 2021 certs.
Also, can we check the pathways on the Marketing certs, there seems to be an error on prerequisites of some.
We are working on an updated infographic as we speak, hopefully it will be out soon. Thanks for your comment.
Very grateful that you have the recommended experience. It’s very helpful (I hope) for setting expectations for new SFDC user. As much as I love Salesforce (the company) some of the messaging sounds like “get a cert, get a job” and in a lot of cases, it’s not true.
Hello – why is Platform App Builder a prerequisite for Marketing Cloud Email Specialist? Doesn’t make sense to me.
This is actually a mistake, thanks for pointing it out, we will get it corrected ASAP.
Thanks Lucy for putting this together. This is really helpful to me as someone really just starting down the certification path after 5 years of being a Solo Admin. I am curious though, how do you think this fits with Nonprofits? Much of what we do as Nonprofit Admins is quite limited due to things like capacity, budgets and whatnot. However, many Nonprofit Admins end up being Solo Admins and Also Admins at the same time. Meaning their knowledge can need to be very expansive in spite of the obvious challenges that can come about due to capacity and other responsiblities. I was wondering how these paths might differ for those who were specialising within the Nonprofit realm specifically.
Really appreciate you putting this detailed path out for everyone to utilise extensively in the Salesforce ecosystem and even outside it. I wanted to understand if there is a path suited for business analyst roles.
Hi Manas! Salesforce are planning to release a Business Analyst certification but it is not yet known when! In the meantime, check out the pathway on Trailhead: https://trailhead.salesforce.com/career-path/business-analyst
It’s very beneficial for BA’s to have a solid understanding of the platform, so taking the Administrator certification would be a good place to start.
Thanks for the great graphic! FYI several of the certifications in the chart were renamed last December per https://trailhead.salesforce.com/trailblazer-community/feed/0D54S00000DybSjSAJ :
Data Architecture and Management Designer → Data Architect
Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer → Development Lifecycle and Deployment Architect
Identity and Access Management Designer → Identity and Access Management Architect
Integration Architecture Designer → Integration Architect
Sharing and Visibility Designer → Sharing and Visibility Architect
Heroku Architecture Designer → Heroku Architect
Thanks Walter! These have now been updated.
I would like to see if even in dotted line fashion, the addition of business analyst and maybe project manager. This is a great help!!
I love this. So helpful. Thanks!
I wish I’d see your graphic before I made my own. That said, I’ll keep using mine for tracking progress …
I have completed SF Admin, SF Service Cloud, FSL Consultant..
which certification i should take next, ( my carrier graph is on Service Side) plz advise.
Its a great article. I am a certified Administrator and Platform App builder. i had the intention of achieving Salesforce Sales cloud and service cloud but i attempted sales cloud twice but no success. For that u need at-least 2 years of working experience. Professionally i am a software engineer and have 15 + years of experience on Quality Assurance. Currently i am serving as a Service Delivery Manager. i want to achieve more certifications but i am confused as what path should be suitable for me as in my job i have never dealt with Salesforce. i have practiced being a trail Blazer an. in addition to above mentioned certification i have also completed trails for Platform Developer 1, Business Analyst, Service Cloud, Sales Cloud and UX Designer. i want to upscale myself further so i can pursue a job relevant to Salesforce.
I have completed PD-I certificate in 2021. Which is the best certificate that i can go for after PD-l.
PD2 if you have completed required Superbadge. JS cert is also good.
In future updates, could we have it as a PDF? I am having trouble reading it and zooming in on the image- it’s blurry.
Would be great as a high-quality downloadable PDF or massive PNG. Would love to print this out and hang on the wall. As Jen above said, it’s a little blurry on larger monitors or for printing at a readable size.
For PDF, it would be pretty cool if we could hover over each Cert and hyperlink to the appropriate Cert info on Salesforce’s site, similar to the spreadsheet Brian Schwartz made, or if better, the related article about each Cert on Salesforce Ben’s own website.
Hi, I was wondering if it’s possible to start with APP builder, or I have to complete administrator first?
if yes, Does the app builder cover all the basics in the salesforce platform?
Also, does Marketing cloud-Admin has any prerequisite or basic to know before go for the certification?
You can absolutely start with Platform App Builder (there are no pre-requisites). It’s a great foundational cert that still helps me to this day (years after taking it).
Most people see this as a good cert to take after Certified Admin, but you don’t have to do Admin first.
Marketing Cloud Admin does not have pre-requisites, but it’s advisable to pass the SFMC Email Specialist first, as the SFMC Admin covers the platform in breadth, whereas Email Specialist is only focused on Email Studio (see guide linked below)
Hope this helps! Good luck,
BTW, THANK YOU for all of the helpful info you share!!
I don’t see Health Cloud on your infographic. It’s distinctive enough IMO!
Well done, Lucy! Your Salesforce certification pathways infographic is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in pursuing a career in Salesforce or enhancing their skills in the field. It’s highly beneficial to have all the different Salesforce certification pathways and their corresponding levels visually presented. Thanks for sharing!