Architects / Certifications

Which Salesforce Architect Certification Should I Take? 

By Hamza Abib

Salesforce is a leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform that has gained significant traction in the business world. As organizations increasingly rely on Salesforce to manage their customer data, the demand for Salesforce Architects has grown. These highly skilled professionals are responsible for designing and implementing Salesforce solutions that meet the unique needs of an organization.

If you’re considering pursuing a career as a Salesforce Architect, you’ll need to choose the right certification to match your professional goals. This blog post will help you navigate the Salesforce Architect certification landscape and identify the best path for your career. 

We’ll discuss the Salesforce Architect Pyramid as a reference point for aspiring architects and the investment required in terms of time, learning, and money. We’ll also provide a brief overview of the different Salesforce Architect certifications, including who should take them and why. Finally, we’ll offer advice for your next steps and recommend training modules to help get you started.

What Are Your Professional Goals? 

As you begin to explore the Salesforce Architect certification options, it’s essential to consider your own professional goals. The Salesforce Architect Pyramid provides a helpful framework for understanding the various certifications available and how they relate to one another.

The pyramid has three layers:

  1. Specializations: At the base of the pyramid are the specialized certifications, which focus on specific aspects of the Salesforce platform. These certifications equip you with the knowledge and skills to tackle particular areas of Salesforce architecture, such as data or security.
  2. Domain Architects: The middle layer of the pyramid consists of domain architects who possess expertise in a particular area, like application or system architecture. These professionals have a more comprehensive understanding of Salesforce and can design and implement solutions across multiple specializations.
  3. Certified Technical Architect (CTA): At the top of the pyramid is the Certified Technical Architect, the most prestigious and sought-after Salesforce certification. CTAs are responsible for creating comprehensive, high-level architectural solutions that address an organization’s unique needs and requirements.

As you can see, progressing through the Salesforce Architect Pyramid requires an investment in time, learning, and money. Each certification demands dedication and effort to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to advance in your career. As you move up the pyramid, you’ll also need to invest more in terms of training and exam fees. Be sure to consider these factors as you make your decision about which certification is right for you.

What Are the Different Architect Certifications? 

Now that you have an understanding of the Salesforce Architect Pyramid, let’s dive into the various certifications available and their target audiences.

Data Architect

This certification is for professionals who want to specialize in designing and implementing scalable data models, data management best practices, and data sharing strategies within the Salesforce platform. It’s ideal for those with a background in data modeling, database design, and data management.

READ MORE: Salesforce Data Architect Certification Guide & Tips

Sharing and Visibility Architect

This certification focuses on designing and implementing secure, scalable solutions that ensure proper data access and visibility within an organization. It’s well-suited for professionals with a strong understanding of Salesforce security features and access control mechanisms.

Development Lifecycle and Deployment Architect

This certification is for professionals who specialize in managing the development lifecycle and deploying Salesforce solutions using best practices. It’s a great choice for those with experience in release management, version control, and continuous integration and deployment.

READ MORE: Salesforce Development Lifecycle and Deployment Architect Certification Guide & Tips

Identity and Access Management Architect

This certification targets professionals who specialize in designing and implementing identity and access management solutions within Salesforce. It’s a good fit for those with experience in Single Sign-On (SSO), OAuth, and other authentication and authorization technologies.

Integration Architect

A certified Integration Architect is someone who is able to assess end-to-end integration requirements, and use these to design secure, scalable integrations on the Salesforce platform. These may include complex integration patterns with various platforms outside of Salesforce and the Integration Architect will need to be able to demonstrate they can communicate complex technical designs and the trade-offs involved to their stakeholders. 

B2B and B2C Solution Architect

Have a look at How Do I Become a Salesforce Solution Architect? to learn what the differences are, how to take the first steps, and what both the B2B and the B2C Solution Architect journeys look like. 

READ MORE: Salesforce B2B Solution Architect Certification Guide & Tips

Heroku Architect

A certified Heroku Architect needs to be able to demonstrate knowledge and experience of designing highly scalable infrastructure and applications that are built, deployed, managed, and monitored on Heroku’s cloud platform as a service (PaaS). Heroku is often used to integrate with Salesforce, using Heroku Connect, which makes integrating and syncing the data into Salesforce from the applications you have built on the Heroku platform much easier.
 

Application Architect

The Application Architect certification is for domain architects who have a deep understanding of Salesforce applications, data models, and security. This certification requires candidates to hold both the Data Architecture and Management Designer and Sharing and Visibility Designer certifications.

READ MORE: Salesforce Sharing and Visibility Architect Certification Guide & Tips

System Architect

The System Architect certification is designed for domain architects who specialize in integration, identity management, and lifecycle management. To achieve this certification, candidates must hold the Integration Architecture Designer, Identity and Access Management Designer, and Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer certifications.

Certified Technical Architect (CTA)

The CTA is the pinnacle of the Salesforce Architect Pyramid and is for professionals with extensive experience in Salesforce architecture, design, and implementation. CTAs must demonstrate their ability to create comprehensive architectural solutions that address complex business challenges. To attempt the CTA certification, candidates must hold both the Application Architect and System Architect certifications.

READ MORE: Salesforce Certified Technical Architect – Is It Worth the Hype?

Journey to Becoming an Architect 

Everyone walks a different path to becoming a Salesforce Architect, depending on a person’s prior work experience and knowledge, as well as future aspirations. 

Admin to Application Architect

You may be a Salesforce Admin who prefers to remain on the declarative side of Salesforce – you may prefer to design, build, and manage low-code solutions. If this is you, then you may choose to become an Application Architect – you’ll amass deep domain knowledge and experience in enterprise data management, as well as sharing and visibility security to build scalable and high-performing solutions using the declarative customization capabilities of the Salesforce platform. 

Developer to Technical Architect

If you’re a Salesforce Developer who prefers to develop and deploy custom business logic and custom interfaces using the programmatic capabilities of Salesforce, integrating these with external systems, your next step might be to become a Technical Architect. Perhaps you enjoy building end-to-end integrations, which could take you in the direction of specializing as a Salesforce Integration Architect. 

Generalist to Specialist

Perhaps you’re not a full-time admin, but your work experience has led you to work on many data migration projects. In this case, you may choose to specialize and remain domain specific, such as becoming a Salesforce Data Architect. Alternatively, you may really enjoy the DevOps process or perhaps you’re already a DevOps manager. This could be great experience and knowledge to put towards becoming a Salesforce Development Lifecycle and Deployment Architect. 

There are many more examples and ways of specializing, all depending on your individual preferences and experiences. The important thing to understand is that your experiences and prior work history could lead you to becoming a Salesforce Architect from many different starting points. 

Summary

Choosing the right Salesforce Architect certification depends on your professional goals, background, and interests. So, now you have all the information to hand, what should your next step be?

Start by assessing your current skill set and identifying areas where you’d like to specialize or deepen your knowledge. Then use the Salesforce Architect Pyramid as a guide to map out your certification journey.

Once you’ve determined the certification that aligns with your goals, invest in relevant training modules to build your knowledge and skills. Go to Salesforce Trailhead and complete the relevant Trailmixes for your chosen architect path. Look through our favorite resources from the blog to help you get certified and understand how to best prepare for your journey. Make use of all the available resources – they are there to help you succeed. 

Remember that earning a Salesforce Architect certification is a commitment to your professional development, and it requires time, effort, and financial investment.

Perhaps you are using certifications to prove your expertise or perhaps the certification is your first step on the path to solidifying your domain knowledge. As you progress through the Salesforce Architect Pyramid, you’ll increase your value to potential employers and open new opportunities for career growth. Salesforce certifications are important, but remember, your experiences matter and they can help you to become a Salesforce Architect too! 

The journey may be challenging, but the rewards of becoming a Salesforce Architect are well worth the effort. So, take the first step towards your new career path by exploring available training modules and getting started on your certification journey today.

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The Author

Hamza Abib

Hamza is a Lead Solution Architect and is 24x Salesforce certified.

Comments:

    Anna Loughnan
    May 20, 2023 11:43 pm
    Sorry but I feel some of your comments about the career pathways are reinforcing the traditional viewpoints which are not helpful. For example: "Developer to Technical Architect" and "Admin to Application Architect" One of the absolute best and most amazing CTAs that I know started her Salesforce career as an accidental Salesforce admin. This should not be exceptional, it is possible to make to CTA without having a background as a developer so please let's make that clear to everyone.

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