Salesforce Certifications – How to become Salesforce Certified

From the founding of Salesforce.com in 1999, it has evolved from a simple sales force automation package to a solution that covers sales, service, marketing, social and allows any type of application to be built on its force.com platform. In the early days, it was easy to know all of the features well and keep up with the regular updates. Now, it has grown so much that it is becoming difficult to keep up and be knowledgeable about all aspects of the solution.

Depending on how you work with Salesforce.com, it can make sense to specialize in a particular area. In order to recognize and evaluate knowledge in the different aspects of the solution, specific certifications have been created.

Why Should I Take the Certification Exams?

The Salesforce.com certification is a way to show that you have the understanding in specific areas of salesforce. Salesforce covers so much functionality, certification can help to organize your learning efforts, that would be difficult without a structure. Each certification has a study guide that lists the topics that will be covered, so it gives you an objective and target for your study.

Salesforce offers a number of different certifications focussing on different areas of the solution. The certifications are put together by salesforce. The exam format varies by certification:

Salesforce certification is useful if you are looking for a Salesforce role, either as:

– With a Salesforce customer
– With a Salesforce partner

Increasingly, employers either customers or partners will expect that you will have some level of certification when applying for a role. For example, you would need to have the Certified Administrator Certification if you are applying for a Salesforce administrator role and you would need the Platform Developer II Certification if applying to be a developer that writes code.

Salesforce.com currently offers the following levels of certification:

Certification Format Cost
Certified Administrator
  • 60 multiple choice questions
USD$200
Certified Advanced Administrator
  • 60 multiple choice questions
USD$200
Certified Sales Cloud Consultant
  • 60 multiple choice questions
USD$200
Certified Service Cloud Consultant
  • 60 multiple choice questions
USD$200
Certified Force.com Platform App Builder
  • 60 multiple choice questions
USD$200
Certified Force.com Platform Developer I
  • 60 multiple choice questions
USD$200
Certified Force.com Platform Developer II
  • 60 multiple choice questions
  • Programming Assignment
  • Essay Exam
USD$400
Certified Technical Architect
  • Self Evaluation
  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • Review Board Presentation
  • USD$500 Multiple choice exam
  • USD$6000 Review Board Presentation

Note: This is the format and cost as of October 2015. Check the individual study guides from the Saleforce.com website for the most up to date information.

In September 2015, Salesforce changed the developer certifications. Prior to this, there was the Developer 401 certification and the Advanced Developer certification. The Developer 401 certification was a multiple choice exam and the advanced developer included multiple choice and a programming assignment. Even though it was named ‘Developer Certification’ it didn’t require any skills that you would normally associate with a developer such as programming and coding in Visualforce and APEX. This caused some confusion, as it wasn’t really clear what skills a person had if they had the developer certification, as many APEX and Visualforce developers only had the Developer certification and not Advanced Developer.

So Salesforce has changed the Developer 401 certification into a new certification ‘Platform App Builder’. This covers much of the old developer certification but adds some of the newer capabilities of process builder, visual workflow, lightning and mobile. It also adds a section around App Deployment, to cover off how an app deployment and lifecycle is managed in an enterprise environment. This requires understanding of a typical app lifecycle, deployments between environments, change-sets and the use of managed and unmanaged packages.

Two new certifications have replaced the Advanced Developer certification. The first one is the Platform Developer I, which consists of a multiple choice exam and then Platform Developer II, which is similar to the old Advanced Developer in that it includes a multiple choice exam and a programming assignment.

These are the prerequisites for the various certifications.

cert-prereqs_001

The Administrator Certification is the base level and is a prerequisite for the advanced admin, sales and service cloud exams. Even though it isn’t mentioned as required for developer and technical architect, it is fundamental knowledge that everyone should have that works with Salesforce.

The Sales and Service cloud certificates are part of the functional track and contain questions on Sales and Service functionality within the product.

The name of the Certified Force.com developer could have been misleading, as it could be taken to mean development with code. If you have a developer certification from other platforms or languages, you would assume it involves programming. However, the foce.com developer certification is all about being able to develop a force.com application with clicks, not code. It does require the knowledge of when code is necessary, but you don’t need to know how to code yourself.

ADM201: The base level Salesforce certification.

How to Study

Salesforce provides a study guide for each exam and some guidelines on what material to be familiar with. The study guide is very useful as it lists the topics that you should know and it also tells you the weighting of the topic, so you know where to focus your efforts. Make sure you know all of the topics in the study guide well. Salesforce covers so much functionality, it is likely that even if you have worked with Salesforce for some time, you haven’t used some of the features that are covered in the exam. In that case, get familiar with the facts, but also try to use the functionality yourself in a trial or test org.

You should also take practice tests to become familiar with the style of questions in the actual test. Here are some practice Salesforce ADM 201 Exam Questions

How to Take the Certification Exam?

Salesforce uses the Webassessor online testing platform to administer the exams. On the Salesforce certification page, there is a small ‘register’ link that will take you to the Webassessor login page. If you don’t already have a Webassessor account you will need to create one. Once you have created your login, you will get an email confirming the account has been created.

Webassessor

Once logged into your Webassessor account, you will be able to register for one of the certification exams.

Salesforce Webassessor Exam Registration

When you register, you will need to choose a testing centre to take the test and a date and time from the list of available dates. One point to note is that if you need to reschedule, you have to give 72 hours notice, otherwise a reschedule fee is charged. So you need to decide 3 days before the scheduled date if you think you are ready, and if not reschedule!

Once you have registered and paid, you will receive an email with the payment receipt and also confirming the date and time that test is scheduled. You need to arrive 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start date, and bring two forms of identification. The email also contains a test take code which you will need to supply. Either print the email or show the code to the test administrator on your phone.

Once you are done with the test, you will get the result straight away. You can then breathe a sigh of relief that you passed and are now a Salesforce certified consultant or think about the areas you were not sure on if you didn’t, so you can focus on studying those for your next attempt. You will also get an email that confirms your result:

Pass-Salesforce-Exam

Webassessor also keeps track of the results of all of the exams you have taken.

Completed Salesforce Exams

How Employers can Verify your Certifications

By passing the certification exams, you will be able to represent yourself as a salesforce certified consultant. Salesforce has introduced a way to verify certification credentials online at this page:
http://certification.salesforce.com/verification. By entering a full name or email address employers will be able to verify with Salesforce directly which qualifications someone has. The tool will display a listing of the certifications and the dates that were passed, such as this one:

Salesforce Certification Verification

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