Complete Guide to Salesforce Trailhead
Salesforce describes Trailhead as “the fun and free way to learn in-demand skills”. The platform helps to close the skills gap and is an invaluable resource for all Salesforce users – known affectionately as Trailblazers.
Trailhead is for everyone; it covers topics and learning modules for anyone using Salesforce, from admins and developers, to sales leaders and end users. You can expect to learn technical skills, business skills, and even soft skills that will help you on your Salesforce journey.
Let’s take a look at what Trailhead is used for – from badges, projects, and quests helping you to climb the Trailhead ranks, to enhancing your Trailblazer.me profile and preparing for (and maintaining) Salesforce certifications…
What Is Trailhead Used For?
Trailhead removes silos, and makes it even easier to access learning resources and community support on a single platform. The platform is for everyone, covering topics and learning modules for all aspects of Salesforce – from admins and developers, to sales leaders and end users. You can expect to learn technical skills, business skills, and even soft skills that will help you on your Salesforce journey.
This is especially helpful towards democratizing the industry; it puts large companies, who have the budget for expensive training, on the same level as smaller companies, where employees fulfill more than one role and wear many hats.
The platform is engaging (and addictive!) because of gamification. Gamification has been shown to have many benefits, including increased motivation and the ability to retain knowledge and acquire new skills.
Completing units will earn you points, which add up and enable you to move through the ranks, until you reach the highest: All-Star Ranger. You earn badges by completing modules, and these are displayed on your trailblazer.me profile. Plus, if you download the mobile app, you can learn on the go – making it even easier to upskill!
The features of Trailhead are…
In Trailhead, learning topics are broken down into modules and each module contains units. At the end of a unit, you’ll complete a quiz or hands-on challenge that will earn you points. Once you’ve completed all the units in a module, you’ll get a badge that is displayed on your profile.
These demonstrate expertise in various Salesforce products and features, as well as more general skills such as project management or requirements gathering.
Let’s zoom in on how to navigate Trailhead to learn a specific product area. Here, Yelena explains her journey with CPQ:
There are also Superbadges available, which are skill-based credentials you can use to really put your knowledge to the test. You’ll be presented with a real-world business scenario to test your expertise and encourage you to create a solution yourself.
They were introduced to bridge the gap between Trailhead and getting a foot on the Salesforce career ladder:
“Superbadges [are a way to] prove that you can take what you’ve learned and apply it to solve complex real-world business problems.”– Trailhead
All Superbadges have foundational modules as a prerequisite, and once these are completed, the Superbadge will unlock and you can begin.
Unlike Projects, they do not give you the step-by-step instructions necessary to complete the process. Rather, they provide you with the business scenario and issues that are looking to be solved and you must figure out a solution (using best practices).
Keep in mind most Superbadges take somewhere between 8 and 14 hours to complete, depending on the topic.
Also, there are groups of Superbadges called Super Sets. Super Sets are recognized groups of Superbadges and Superbadge Units, put together in Trailhead as a separate credential (like a super Superbadge), and are aligned with particular roles such as Salesforce Admin or Salesforce Developer.
If you want to build something and get hands-on experience as soon as possible, check out Projects. Projects will guide you with step-by-step instructions and can help you learn new skills in a more nurtured environment.
“Projects give you hands-on practice with Salesforce technologies via step-by-step instructions.”– Trailhead
There are numerous projects available on Trailhead, all surrounding various niches, and there’s even one where you have to use you Salesforce knowledge to optimize a real estate app for Mars:
Trails are groups of modules to help guide you through a particular learning path, for example, “How to become a Certified Administrator”.
There are also Trailmixes, which are learning paths that you can custom build, or ones that have been created by other Trailblazers.
Trailblazer.me is a free account that gives you access to all Salesforce digital properties, with a single login. This includes the AppExchange, Commerce Cloud Developer Center, Events, IdeaExchange, Salesforce Help, Salesforce+, Trailhead, and the Trailblazer community.
This account not only shows your personal details, but also your accomplishments, interactions, and skills.
Treat it as a Salesforce resume, as employers can look at it and see all your Salesforce skills. Take this one step further by adding a “Hire Me” button (in Settings) to tell people that you are looking for work.
Plus, you can make your profile your own, including the addition of a vanity URL. All you have to do is log in and go to your profile to choose a personalized Trailhead profile URL!
Salesforce maintenance exams are required for all certifications you obtain. These happen yearly and ensure that you maintain your knowledge on the topic, keeping your credential up to date.
Maintenance exams were moved to Trailhead in 2018 – they were previously hosted by WebAssessor. This made things much easier, as they follow the gamified experience of Trailhead, can be accessed through a single login, and most importantly, the move made them free!
Trailhead sends you a notification to let you know when your maintenance is due, reducing the chance of you forgetting (and having to pay for the exam again to regain your credential).
Certification Preparation Webinars
Salesforce Certification Days are free, half-day webinars led by expert Salesforce instructors. The webinars will cover the main objectives of the exam, focusing on the highest weighted areas.
They are a great way to learn a lot in a short period of time, getting you one step closer to gaining your certification.
Each month, Salesforce release “Monthly Quests” for you to get your teeth stuck into, providing extra motivation to learn with Trailhead. New quests pop up each month, as well as one-off special quests which are released periodically.
Trailhead Quests help you learn, earn badges, and win prizes. Plus, they’re easy to get started with:
- Head over to the Trailhead Quests homepage, browse the quests available, and which prize you might fancy getting your hands on.
- Read the rules at the bottom of the page to ensure you qualify for a prize.
- Complete the specified challenge, and be sure to complete it within the limited time period.
- You will be entered to win one of a number of prizes.
Is Trailhead Really Free?
Yes, Trailhead’s guided learning paths are free for anyone to use – this is an effort to democratize the industry.
However, there are also some paid courses that Salesforce offers through Trailhead Academy. These are bootcamps and courses where you learn from experts, as opposed to the solo learning of Trailhead.
If you are looking to track the average number of badges achieved and other Trailhead metrics among your users and teammates, check out the free Trail Tracker, which syncs data into Salesforce reports and dashboards.
The Trail Tracker:
- Automatically syncs Trailhead activity (in progress and completed badges) for your employees into your Salesforce org on a daily basis.
- Personalizes your onboarding and training programs by assigning relevant Trailhead badges to your employees.
- Uses pre-built reports and dashboards to track badges earned by individual users and teams.
The app is designed to guide users through their Salesforce learning path on Trailhead. Managers can assign, track, and report on badges earned by their teams via pre-built reports and dashboards, all within your Salesforce org.
What Is the Highest Rank in Trailhead?
Originally, the highest rank was Ranger, but too many Trailblazers exceeded this by completing multiple times more badges than the 100 needed to become a Ranger.
In the Winter ‘23 release, Salesforce introduced five new Ranger badges to distinguish those who had over 100 badges:
- Double Star Ranger: 200+ badges (100K+ points)
- Triple Star Ranger: 300+ badges (150K+ points)
- Four Star Ranger: 400+ badges (200K+ points)
- Five Star Ranger: 500+ badges (250K+ points)
- All Star Ranger: 600+ badges (300K+ points)
Trailhead vs. myTrailhead
While Trailhead provides learning for all Salesforce topics, myTrailhead enables businesses to build customized, gamified, bite-size learning opportunities for their employees, customers, and partners.
Read all about how to leverage this for your business here:
Is Trailhead Enough to Learn Salesforce?
Trailhead is undeniably the best learning tool in a Trailblazer’s arsenal, however, this does not mean that it is the only tool you need…
Real-life experience will always trump theoretical learning. Salesforce have tried to bridge that gap with Trailhead through hands-on, performance-based credentials such as projects and Superbadges.
Trailhead is great for getting up to speed on different features and topics, as well as checking your baseline knowledge. However, it should not be a substitute for real-life experience if you are planning to build a long-term career as a Salesforce professional.
Trailhead is the best training tool members of the Salesforce ecosystem have at their disposal – the centralized place for Trailblazers to upskill, maintain certifications, and connect with each other.
What’s your favorite feature of Trailhead? Let us know in the comments below…