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How to Prepare for Salesforce Certification?

Backing up your knowledge of the Salesforce CRM with the corresponding certification is a logical step to finalize the long hours of training and learning the platform. With the community of Salesforce specialists and companies that are using this CRM continuously growing, it is vital to have the right people to run the processes.

On this page, we’ll go through the types of certificates and roles that are out there, explain why it makes sense to invest in obtaining certificates, and how it works. Plus, we’ll answer many commonly asked questions as well as give you preparation tips with specific examples of materials.

Why Salesforce Certification Is Important

There are many opinions regarding the factual value of having certification. After all, the platform is quite tough to learn, thus, so are the standards of the certification exams. Many people who are just starting out with the platform often ask whether it’s really worth getting Salesforce certified.

According to the opinions that were collected in an interview with Salesforce specialists on certification and if it’s necessary, overall, professionals in the field believe that having certificates is beneficial. As such, the common point of view as regards having the certification is that it’s helpful when searching for a job as it showcases and proves expertise and platform knowledge. Moreover, since preparing for a Salesforce exam requires a lot of studying, it wouldn’t hurt to verify it by having a document that’ll back up the time that you’ve invested in the platform. Mentioning other strong points that were noted by the certified Salesforce experts is that due to the mandatory certificate maintenance, the specialist always keeps up to date with the latest platform changes and releases.

On the other hand, the surveyed professionals also believe that for those who have a lot of “in-field” experience and who have worked with the platform a lot, certification isn’t an obligatory requirement. After all, a large portion of skills is gained practically because work cases and needs differ from one organization to another.

Obtaining Certificates: How It Works

Salesforce Roles

In total there are six roles in Salesforce that one may be qualified for via various certificates. They are:

  • Salesforce Administrator (makes sure that everything is running properly);
  • Salesforce Developer (customizes and builds solutions based on company needs);
  • Salesforce App Builder (creates applications);
  • Salesforce Architect (technical specialists building the ecosystem);
  • Salesforce Consultant (deals with implementing, administrating, and consulting);
  • Salesforce Specialist (includes CPQ, Pardot, and Marketing specialists).

Types of Salesforce Certificates

As of today, there are 32 Salesforce certifications that you may obtain. In accordance with the selected role, some certificates are only built upon specific previous certifications, others are not. That said, Salesforce suggests the order in which to get certificates based on the selected path.

Mentioning the available certificates, they are:

  • Salesforce Certified Administrator
  • Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator
  • Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder
  • Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist
  • Salesforce Certified B2C Commerce Architect
  • Salesforce Certified Data Architecture and Management Designer
  • Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer
  • Salesforce Certified Heroku Architecture Designer
  • Salesforce Certified Identity and Access Management Designer
  • Salesforce Certified Integration Architecture Designer
  • Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer
  • Salesforce Certified Application Architect
  • Salesforce Certified System Architect
  • Salesforce Certified Technical Architect
  • Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant
  • Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant
  • Salesforce Certified Community Cloud Consultant
  • Salesforce Certified Field Service Lightning Consultant
  • Salesforce Certified Nonprofit Cloud Consultant
  • Salesforce Certified Education Cloud Consultant
  • Salesforce Certified Einstein Analytics and Discovery Consultant
  • Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I
  • Salesforce Certified Platform Developer II
  • Salesforce Certified B2C Commerce Developer
  • Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Administrator
  • Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist
  • Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Consultant
  • Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Developer
  • Salesforce Certified Pardot Specialist
  • Salesforce Certified Pardot Consultant
  • Salesforce Accredited B2B Commerce Administrator
  • Salesforce Accredited B2B Commerce Developer

Which Salesforce Certificate to Get First?

To be fair, there is no single right answer to this question as a lot depends on the previous education and experience of every individual. In general, if you’re a newbie or are just starting out with Salesforce, it is recommended to begin with the Salesforce Administrator certificate as it covers all the basics and is great for getting acquainted with the platform.

The path that you’ll choose to follow afterward in much will depend on your own preferences coupled with the requirements. For example, if you’re aiming at getting the Application Architect certificate, you’ll need to already have the four prerequisite Data Architecture and Management Designer, Platform Developer I, Platform App Builder, and Sharing and Visibility Designer certificates.

Therefore, after studying and preparing for the exam, you can sign up for the test and take the online exam according to the schedule.

Is Taking Salesforce Certification Exams Free?

No, there are fees for passing the exams. For instance, the Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator exam costs 200 USD (if you fail, it costs 100 USD to then retake it). It has about 65 questions that take around 1 h 45 min to complete.

Do You Have to Maintain Salesforce Certification?

Without a doubt, it is vital to understand that the obtained credentials will need to be maintained. With the official releases that improve the functionality and processes of the platform, Salesforce also provides maintenance modules that will have to be passed in order for the certification to be valid. Luckily, maintenance isn’t very time-consuming and it is free.

Which Materials Can Help to Prepare for Salesforce Certification

Trailhead Trails & Modules

Your Salesforce training can begin with familiarizing yourself with the open-source materials that are provided by Trailhead, which was officially created by the Salesforce platform for learning purposes. Divided into so-called “trails”, Trailhead gives everything you need to know in easy-to-use sections. The study time for each trail varies as well, some take as little as an hour and a half, other complicated ones can take over 12. After completing the modules, you earn points and badges that can prove that you’ve studied the material and have the required skills. The best thing about Trailhead is that the information is available for everyone at no charge, plus, the information is logically split into small units. Below you may take a look at how the Administrator Certification Exam preparation trail looks like as an example:

How to Prepare for Salesforce Certification?

Salesforce Trailblazer Community & Official Documentation

Undoubtedly, you won’t go far with your exam preparation without reading the official Salesforce documentation. Apart from release notes, there are many how-to’s and other helpful information about the platform. The pages are easy to navigate due to great cross-linking and topical listing.

Likewise, there are many Q&As available in the Salesforce Trailblazer Community. Such replies, posts, tutorials, and discussions that are contributed by actual people working with Salesforce. Therefore, it is one more treasure trove of useful information, especially on a case basis.

Focus on Force

Speaking of other very handy preparation blocks, Focus on Force cannot be left unmentioned.  Offered on a paid basis, the courses and video exams were crafted especially for assisting people in passing Salesforce certification. Split by role, there are both study guides and practice exams that can be passed. That said, Martin Gessner’s video course and the tools that are available on this website are considered very helpful.

How to Prepare for Salesforce Certification?

Specialized Blogs

There are many materials regarding Salesforce in various blogs. Some of them even revolve around the theme completely. As such, a couple of popular blogs to mention include Salesforce Ben, Ladies Be Architects, and SFDC99. These blogs have a lot of information in regard to passing exams and even provide some video tutorials. As such, you can find guides, recommendations from those people who can share their experience of passing the certification, discussions of the hard questions that they’ve possibly come across, as well as some sample quizzes.

Quizlet and Flashcards

What’s for quizzes, the renowned platform Quizlet offers both free and paid-basis modules that can help in preparing for certification exams. For example, here are the flashcards for the Salesforce Admin Certification by Quizlet that you can consider passing.

ProProfs Quizzes

On a similar note, there are a plethora of Salesforce materials available on ProProfs. There are sample quizzes that are broken down both by the certifications and topics. They offer the opportunity of passing online mock exams too, the questions are multiple-choice, and the score is given as well. Importantly, if you give an incorrect answer, the system shows you the right one. Take a look at the screenshot below as an example:

How to Prepare for Salesforce Certification?

Practical Experience

Finally, there’s no better helper in exam preparation than what you can practically try doing. It is a great idea to polish and sharpen your skills by actually trying to implement and set up things in Salesforce. You can create an account on Salesforce for free for such purposes and play around with the setups as you learn.

Final Word

Summing up, working with Salesforce is a great career path to move along. With some proper studying, investment into certification, and practical experience, a lot of doors can open wide (this is especially relevant for newbies). Hopefully, you’ve found the materials and tips that were provided in this article helpful!


About the Author

Alex Husar, CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento and Salesforce development services. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.

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