While I was studying for a few certifications, I read a lot of Salesforce blogs, and I found them super helpful. I thought I’d chip in and give some thoughts on certification and the studying that goes with it.
My boss said we had some extra money in our budget for training and asked if I wanted to take an exam. I said yes and studied for the Admin exam. I had been working with Salesforce for several months at the time. I did the premier training course called Administration Essentials for New Admins. I did all the exercises in a test org. I got to know Rob the admin real well. I think this was one was the hardest for me since I had the least experience at the time, but I passed and that was super cool. I felt really accomplished even though my family had no idea what certifications were.
I found the developer exam more logic-based than the Admin one, which seemed more about memorising concepts. For this one, I was lucky enough to take the instructor led course with the amazing Simon Connock in Staines, UK. Simon was a great instructor and we covered pretty much everything on the exam in the 5 day course. I took the exam a couple of weeks after the course, so I wouldn’t forget the material.
Advanced Administrator, Plaform App Builder, Service Cloud Consultant, Sales Cloud Consultant
I got really motivated to take a lot of exams so I studied and took these ones over the course of a couple of months. I followed the same steps to study for all of them:
- Print out the study guide and read it very closely.
- Do all of the online courses recommended in the study guide. I was a little OCD with this and took screenshots of all of the slides that I thought were worth reading again. Then I printed out all of my screenshots. You definitely do not have to print everything. I’m really anti-printing in general, but I found annotating with pen and highlighter helpful.
- Read all of the recommended resources in the study guide. The implementation guides go into a huge amount of detail so I skimmed a lot of these to get the big picture. If you ever implement things later, you can read the guides again in much more detail.
- If there’s concepts that you don’t feel you really understand, do a google search or find more resources in the help and training on Salesforce.
- For the Sales Cloud Consultant exam, I found Shell Black’s videos super helpful. He explains sales concepts in a very straightforward way. He does all of his visuals on a whiteboard, which is I found refreshing.
- Use flashcards on Quizlet to learn key concepts, but take all of these with a grain of salt since they’re not official Salesforce material and are often inaccurate.
- Study with a friend or colleague, it makes studying more engaging. My friend, Emma, and I studied together while eating ice cream. If you don’t have anyone to study with, find your local Salesforce user group and find a study buddy.
- Take the exams on a Monday morning (if you work Monday-Friday) so that you can have had the weekend to study and sleep.
- Imagine yourself passing.
- Write a nice comment in the feedback before you get before you get your results. I read this on someone’s blog and did it every time after.
- I passed all of my exams on the first try, which was a relief.
- David Liu recommended buying yourself a gift as a reward for passing, so I got myself a Danish wooden monkey.
Is it worth it to get certified?
For me, it’s helped me find jobs, but it’s mostly been good for my confidence. I got my degree in creative writing and didn’t start working in tech until I was a few years out of university. Getting certifications made me feel more “qualified,” even though I probably already was.