My Salesforce Certification Journey & Next Steps

Certification Journey

My Salesforce certification journey started in November of 2011 with the Developer 1 certification. That was 6 months after I first started using Salesforce as a developer. At the time, it was mostly declarative questions on how to customize an org. I’d think of it as the intersection between the current admin certification and the platform app builder. There was no code.

In 2012, I acquired the Advanced Developer cert which was hard. It consisted of a multiple-choice test, a coding assignment, and then a 3-5 part essay based on the assignment. The coding assignment was very hard. One was given a set of requirements and a special org to do it in within a month. After which, a panel reviewed the code and provided feedback along with a Pass / Fail score. This a lot more rigorous than the current platform developer 2 cert which was the successor to this one. However, I get that you have to scale this so that’s where Trailhead and WebAssessor come in.

Between 2012 and 2017, getting other certifications wasn’t a priority at the time. Developing on the platform, building integrations, doing AppExchange releases, consulting, and helping others were higher priorities.

At Dreamforce 2017, I took the Platform Developer transition exam which granted me the Platform App Builder and Platform Developer 1 certs since Salesforce retired the Developer and Advanced Developer certifications. In March 2018, I took the Advanced Developer transition certification exam and acquired the Platform Developer 2 cert.

As an independent developer / architect, I noticed people were asking more about certifications so that became a priority. In about 6 weeks, I finished the 5 Architect designer certifications and became Application and System Architect certified. The five architect designer certifications are:

  • Certified Sharing & Visibility Designer
  • Data Architecture & Management Designer
  • Development Lifecycle & Deployment Designer
  • Integration Architecture Designer
  • Identity & Access Management

The platform is where I have the most expertise so these weren’t too bad. Of course, I studied for each one by going through each one’s study guide’s resources.

Next up, I finished Admin and Community Cloud in June 2018. The momentum of the architect certs is what carried me here. It was fun seeing how many I could get in a short amount of time while learning new stuff. However, my first and only certification failure came in July of 2018 with Sales Cloud. That demoralized me and I wouldn’t try again until June 2019 when I passed.

Having done a lot of Service Cloud related work in 2020, I decided to get the Service Cloud cert, which was attained a few weeks ago. I’ve been wanting to dive deeper into Javascript to learn it better too so I signed up for the Javascript Developer 1 exam for Christmas Eve. After a busy two weeks studying and doing the LWC super badge, that was attained on Xmas Eve.

Now, I officially have 15 active certifications but no aspirations for any more, currently. Advanced Admin, Einstein Analytics or whatever it’s called these days, and Certified Technical Architect (CTA) are others that are nice-to-have eventually. Advanced Admin would be nice because I’d like to learn about some of lesser used features like Enterprise Territory Management. Einstein Analytics would be nice because I’d like to see how to do more “advanced” analytics. CTA would be really really nice-to-have but is very challenging, requires a large commitment in money and time, and I’m not sure the return on investment is worth it currently.

Overall, I really enjoy the Salesforce ecosystem with its technology, community, conferences, and the career opportunities it provides. Certifications are definitely one way to distinguish yourself from others.

What are you looking forward to learning and what’s your certification journey been like?

Next Steps

Next, I’m focusing on learning some non-Salesforce stuff. Recently, I watched this video about Abundance from Dr. Peter Diamandis and was blown away:

With the news focusing on all the negative things happening in the world, there’s actually a lot of positive things and the future looks even brighter! Currently, I’m reading Dr. Diamandis’ book “The Future is Faster Than You Think” where he talks about how all the exponential technologies are converging to provide an ever increasing rate of technological change and how that is impacting the world profoundly.

I’m also interested in learning more about AI and machine learning to see how those are implemented.

Certification Study Guides

As part of my certification prep, I like to write up certification study guides. I find that typing out the material helps me remember it and I like to share it with the community too so hopefully others benefit. Below are the study guides I’ve created thus far.

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