Certified Success: How important is Salesforce certification?
Salesforce is the world’s number one CRM platform, and the demand for its implementation in businesses around the world has never been higher.
With this demand comes the need for experienced Salesforce professionals who can drive a successful implementation and optimise the platform based on the specific needs of an organisation. This type of expertise can be difficult for a business to track down, as professionals often won’t be able to gain this experience without first being involved in similar projects.
Fortunately, Salesforce promotes one of the most sophisticated open learning portals in Salesforce Trailhead, and its robust certification structure is embraced by the product’s user base as a way of qualifying their expertise and connecting with other professionals working with similar products and tools.
Not only is this a great way for users to continually access educational materials and upskill on the Salesforce platform, but certifications also offer employers an objective way of benchmarking and verifying a professional’s experience either before the hiring stage, or as they support their employee towards additional training while working in-house.
But how important are Salesforce certifications to you as a professional—are they essential? Using research from Mason Frank’s latest independent Salesforce salary survey, here is an exploration of Salesforce certification and how it can benefit your career.
Just how many Salesforce professionals are certified?
Salesforce is a particularly community-oriented technology, and knowledge sharing is actually a criteria upon which professionals are measured—Salesforce MVP status is awarded to community champions who pay back into the system as much as they get out of it.
“Becoming certified will give you the authority as a Salesforce professional to start sharing your knowledge with others, and establish yourself as a pillar of the community.
Given how important it can be for career development, it’s no surprise to see that so many Salesforce professionals are certified. Over three-quarters of respondents to Mason Frank’s 2018/19 independent Salesforce salary survey reported holding at least once Salesforce certification.
“By far the most popular certification is the Salesforce Certified Administrator credential, with 70% of these respondents being Admin-certified.”
Does certification increase your salary?
Becoming Salesforce-certified does not inherently increase your salary—you aren’t entitled to a pay increase immediately after qualifying—but it can certainly help. Of those who reported being certified in Mason Frank’s survey, 39% indicated that their salary had increased since gaining the credential.
As well as potentially bumping up your salary, you also have to consider how certification improves your chances of being hired in the first place. When measuring two candidates of equal experience, an employer will almost always go for a candidate who holds certifications. Official accreditation can’t be bluffed, after all, as it’s tangible evidence of a candidate’s expertise in Salesforce that has been obtained through hard work and studying towards a tough examination.
Certification can be expensive—is it worth the outlay?
Given that it opens up earning potential, the return on investment for Salesforce Certification is vast, but this doesn’t make the initial outlay any less costly. The average Salesforce certification costs around 200 US dollars for the initial exam, and some of the more technical certification routes can even cost a professional a couple of thousand. This expense doesn’t necessarily have to be incurred by the individual, especially if you are already employed by a Salesforce customer or partner.
Of the certified professionals who were surveyed by Mason Frank, 75% indicated their employer contributed towards the cost of Salesforce certification. Of these people, 91% reported their employer paid for the certification in full, meaning the individual gained a certification without incurring any expense other than dedication of time.
While many employers will simply want the best staff, and be willing to pay for upskilling to facilitate that, Salesforce partners actually need a strong proportion of their employees to be certified in order to meet the criteria for specific partnership tiers. In essence, your employer is helping you help them, which explains why so many subsidise certification.
So to answer the question ‘is certification important as a Salesforce professional?’—it isn’t essential. However, it can help you get employed, increase your salary, enrich your knowledge of Salesforce, connect with other professionals for technical assistance, and better your standing in the Salesforce community as a thought leader and platform champion. If those things are important to you then certification is essential, especially if you can convince your employer to pay for it!