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March 13, 2023
Salesforce

How to become Salesforce Certified?

A step-by-step guide to help you prove your expertise.

I. Introduction

In the rapidly evolving landscape of modern business, customer relationship management (CRM) has emerged as a cornerstone of success, and at the forefront of this revolution stands Salesforce. Salesforce is not just a CRM platform — it's a comprehensive suite of cloud-based tools and applications designed to streamline and enhance every aspect of customer interaction, sales, marketing, and service. Salesforce has become an industry standard, empowering organizations of all sizes to cultivate meaningful customer relationships, make informed decisions, and drive growth.

Since Salesforce is #1 CRM and automation solution in the world, the demand for well-versed professionals skilled in specific roles grows exponentially. This is why Salesforce administrators, developers, architects, designers and a bunch of other experts have an opportunity to prove their knowledge by taking up a certification that best suits their role. As of 2022, 76% of job applicants have at least one certificate, which immediately grows their chances of getting hired. Needless to say that undertaking such a step holds immeasurable value not only for the experts themselves but also for the organization they are affiliated with. You get a chance to prove your skills, knowledge and practical experience, accelerate your career growth, enter a vibrant Salesforce community and enhance your organization’s position on the market.

II. Understanding Salesforce Certifications

Ranging from administrators and developers to consultants and architects, Salesforce certifications cater to a wide array of roles and specializations. They stand as a testament to a professional's proficiency in leveraging Salesforce's capabilities to drive business success. As the CRM landscape evolves, earning a Salesforce certification has become a strategic move for career growth, credibility, and the ability to contribute effectively to organizations harnessing the power of Salesforce solutions. While the specifics of each certification program may vary, the overarching goal remains the same: to empower individuals with the skills needed to excel in the Salesforce ecosystem. Here is the list of certificates you can obtain based on your role:

Salesforce Administrator

A Salesforce Administrator is responsible for managing, configuring, and maintaining the Salesforce platform to ensure it effectively supports an organization's business processes and objectives. This role plays a crucial part in optimizing how Salesforce is used across various departments, enhancing user experience, and maximizing the platform's potential to drive customer relationship management and business growth. To prove your expertise in this role, you can take the following certificates:

  • Administrator;
  • Advanced Administrator;
  • Business Analyst;
  • CPQ Specialist;
  • Marketing Cloud Administrator;
  • Platform App Builder.

Salesforce Architect

Salesforce Architects are the go-to experts and effective team leaders in the Salesforce community. They're skilled at seeing the big picture and solving complex problems, all while ensuring their systems are rock-solid. The various Salesforce Architect credentials offer specialized knowledge and skills recognition, showcasing their growing expertise with the Salesforce platform. Here is a list of available certifications you can take to prove your skills in this role:

  • Application Architect;
  • B2B Solution Architect;
  • B2C Solution Architect;
  • B2C Commerce Architect;
  • Heroku Architect;
  • System Architect;
  • Technical Architect.

Salesforce Developer

Salesforce Developers are professionals who specialize in creating, customizing, and optimizing applications and solutions on the Salesforce platform. Their role is centered around designing and implementing functionalities that align with an organization's business processes and objectives. Here are the certificates that’ll work for you:

  • B2C Commerce Developer;
  • Industries CPQ Developer;
  • JavaScript Developer I;
  • Marketing Cloud Developer;
  • OmniStudio Developer;
  • Platform App Builder;
  • Platform Developer I;
  • Platform Developer II.

Sales Professional

Salesforce Sales professionals are invaluable experts who generate income by providing customers with worthwhile products and services that solve their problems. To achieve success, they rely on research, product expertise, and team selling. If you work in sales, here is a certification for you:

  • Sales Representative.

Salesforce Marketer

A Salesforce Marketer is a professional who utilizes the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform to plan, execute, and optimize marketing campaigns and strategies. Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a comprehensive marketing automation and customer engagement platform that allows businesses to create personalized and targeted marketing experiences across various channels. Salesforce Marketers leverage this platform to engage with customers, drive brand awareness, and achieve marketing objectives. Below are the certifications suitable for you if you want to prove your expertise in Salesforce marketing:

  • Marketing Cloud Administrator;
  • Marketing Cloud Consultant;
  • Marketing Cloud Developer;
  • Marketing Cloud Email Specialist;
  • Pardot Consultant;
  • Pardot Specialist.

Salesforce Consultant

Salesforce Consultants provide expert guidance and advice to organizations seeking to implement, customize, or optimize their use of Salesforce products and solutions. Here are the certifications you can take as a Consultant:

  • Business Analyst;
  • Education Cloud Consultant;
  • Experience Cloud Consultant;
  • Field Service Consultant;
  • Marketing Cloud Consultant;
  • Nonprofit Cloud Consultant;
  • OmniStudio Consultant;
  • Pardot Consultant;
  • Sales Cloud Consultant;
  • Service Cloud Consultant;
  • Tableau CRM & Einstein Discovery Consultant.

Salesforce Designer

Salesforce Designers address intricate challenges by crafting ethical, fair, and sustainable solutions on the Salesforce Platform, benefiting both enterprises and communities alike. As of 2023, there are only two certifications available:

  • User Experience (UX) Designer;
  • Strategy Designer.

Also, entry-level experts with less than 6 months of user experience have a unique opportunity to obtain a Salesforce Associate Certificate, which is a great starting point for newbies who may not have substantial technical knowledge.

No matter what your job is, these certifications will show how well you know Salesforce and how dedicated you are. They'll also help your company compete better in the market. Here, you can find detailed info about each certification path, news about credentials, special deals, and resources to help you complete the certifications successfully.

III. Deciding the Right Certification Path

Choosing the right Salesforce certification based on your career goals and experience involves several key steps. Begin by evaluating your current role and experience with Salesforce products. Define your career aspirations within the Salesforce ecosystem, considering the specific roles you are targeting. Research the available certification options on the official Salesforce certification website and carefully review the exam guides for each. Match the certifications to your goals and experience level, and consider any prerequisites that may apply. Seek advice from mentors and peers, and review job listings for desired roles to identify which certifications are commonly required. Once you've chosen a certification, access training resources and preparation materials. Stay updated on new certifications and platform changes, and continue your learning journey even after certification. Remember, each certification serves as a stepping stone toward your career objectives, so align your choices with your goals to make the most of your Salesforce certification journey.

IV. Preparing for Your Salesforce Certification

Official Salesforce Resources

Trailhead

Salesforce's free online learning platform is a fantastic resource. It offers modules and trails specific to each certification. These interactive modules provide a hands-on learning experience and allow you to practice what you've learned in a real Salesforce environment.

Salesforce Documentation and Help Center

Salesforce's official documentation is comprehensive and regularly updated. It covers all aspects of the platform, including administrator, developer, and architect topics. The Help Center also provides articles, guides, and FAQs.

Official Certification Study Guides

Salesforce provides official study guides for each certification. These guides outline the exam objectives and recommended resources. They are a must-read as they provide a clear roadmap for your study plan.

Sample Questions and Exam Guides

Salesforce often provides sample questions and exam guides for their certifications. These resources can give you a feel for the types of questions you'll encounter in the actual exam and help you assess your readiness.

Third-Party Resources

Online Courses

Numerous online learning platforms offer Salesforce certification courses. Platforms like Udemy, Pluralsight, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning have courses created by experts to help you prepare. These courses often include video lectures, quizzes, and hands-on exercises.

Books

There are many books dedicated to Salesforce certifications, authored by experts in the field. These books provide in-depth coverage of the topics and often include practice questions. Look for titles relevant to your specific certification.

Practice Exams

Third-party practice exam providers offer sets of practice questions that mimic the format of the actual certification exam. Examples include Salesforce Ben, Focus on Force, and Quizlet. Practicing with these questions can help you gauge your readiness.

Community Forum

Salesforce has a vibrant online community. Platforms like Salesforce Trailblazer Community, Reddit's r/salesforce, and Salesforce Stack Exchange are great places to ask questions, share experiences, and find additional resources recommended by other Salesforce professionals.

YouTube Channels and Blogs

Some Salesforce experts and trainers maintain YouTube channels and blogs dedicated to Salesforce certification preparation. These can provide valuable insights, tips, and tutorials.

V. Registering for the Exam

To book your Salesforce certification exam, log in to WebAssessor or sign up at www.webassessor.com/salesforce. Connect your Trailblazer.me and WebAssessor accounts for managing certifications. Should you need to reschedule or cancel your exam, please note that fees may apply within 24 hours of an online exam or 72 hours of a testing center exam.

Most Salesforce certifications are priced at $200, while some are $400. Only the Certified Technical Architect certification stands out with a cost of $6,000. Failing an exam incurs a retake fee, typically around half of the initial certification cost.

Check the prerequisites for your desired certification, found in Trailhead exam guides or Salesforce's Certification Guides. In WebAssessor, booking may be disabled if you haven't met prerequisites.

Choose between online or onsite proctored exams. Onsite offers convenience and minimal distractions, while online saves time but requires additional software and hardware setup.

Keep your Test Taker Authorization Code from the confirmation email safe. Two forms of government-issued ID are required for verification.

After submitting your exam, you'll receive results indicating pass or fail, along with category score breakdowns. Use this feedback to focus on areas needing improvement if you didn't pass.

VI. Taking the Salesforce Certification Exam

Salesforce certification exams typically consist of multiple-choice and multiple-answer questions. Multiple-answer questions require you to select the correct number of choices as indicated (e.g., choose two or choose three). You can mark questions for review if you need more time to think. These exams generally have 60 or 65 questions, but only 60 count towards your score.

Salesforce often includes five "bonus" questions that don't affect your pass/fail result; this helps them improve future tests. Passing scores typically range from 62% to 68%, depending on the specific certification. Check the Trailhead certification prep materials for precise details.

Exams have a time limit, usually between 90 and 120 minutes, which is ample for completing and reviewing all questions if you stay focused. However, for exam-specific details, consult the materials provided for that particular certification.

Tip! It’s notable how intentional Salesforce is in their word choice. Everything that goes into the exam questions has its value, there are no words left there without a reason. It should be used to eliminate obvious wrong answers.

VII. Maintaining Your Salesforce Certification

Salesforce introduced maintenance exams on Trailhead in 2018, bringing several positive changes. Now, individuals only need one maintenance exam per certification per year. Additionally, they offer optional 'no/low code' and 'code' badges, along with mandatory maintenance badges. These badges provide opportunities to expand knowledge with hands-on challenges, available three times annually.

The exam interface was improved, simplifying access through a single Trailblazer login. The transition to Trailhead also brought interactive, gamified modules, making the process engaging. Notifications became more transparent and less cumbersome compared to the previous WebAssessor platform.

One significant benefit was the elimination of the $100 fee per exam, making maintenance exams free of charge. This shift encourages Salesforce professionals to stay current with the evolving platform, ensuring their skills remain up-to-date.

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