7 Most Common Questions About Salesforce Certifications

7 Most Common Questions About Salesforce Certifications
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Ben McCarthy

Last updated July 20, 2017


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Salesforce certifications mark the first major milestone in a Salesforce professional’s career. They are great for power users that are looking to dive into Salesforce’s rich functionality further, Salesforce admins who want to solidify their learning by ensuring their knowledge is best in class, or for professionals looking to explore a career in Salesforce.

Before you embark on the next step in your career, here are some of the most common questions people want to know when deciding to sign up for Salesforce certification training.

1. What are Salesforce Certifications?

Salesforce certifications are a way to prove to the community and your peers that you have attained a certain level of knowledge around the Salesforce platform. The Salesforce Admin certification in particular is a great way to show that you understand the core Salesforce platform, how to manage it on a day to day basis, and extend its standard functionality by using declarative features.

2. How are the Exams Formatted?

Salesforce exams are almost always multiple choice, with some exceptions for the more advanced certifications. In these exams you will be asked  scenario or fact-based questions that will require one or more answers.

Salesforce is infamous for throwing curve balls, so although these exams are multiple choice, keep your wits about you and ensure you know your lookup relationships from your master-detail!

3. When Should I Take a Salesforce Certification Exam?

Salesforce certifications require a large amount of knowledge around the platform in order to pass them. You need to know how it works as a user, backend administrator, and understand its capabilities from a developer’s point of view. This adds up to a lot of revision and practical exercises in a developer environment!

You should look to book an exam when you have confidently covered all areas of the study guide. This will include both fact-based questions, as well as scenario-based questions where you are required to suggest a solution.

4. What do the Certifications Cost?

Certification prices  vary and tend to get a bit higher towards the more advanced areas, but most foundation exams are $200, with $100 per retake. If you are already working within an organization that wishes to support you with your Salesforce career development, then I strongly recommend asking them to support you with these and other training costs.

5. How Should I Revise for the Exams?

This is one of the most common questions I’m asked on a day to day basis. Salesforce makes this a bit tricky as it doesn’t give you a direct learning path to certification success. But good news! There is an increasing abundance of training material online that ranges in mediums and price ranges so that you are sure to find something that fits you. Here are a few great resources:

  1. One way I like to give back to the community is through my blog; this provides a lot of content on the topics of certifications and how to go about getting trained up. I also host some mock exams so you know what to expect.
  2. If you are looking to get some varied but not necessarily certification-focussed experience, then Trailhead is your best bet to learn about the general Salesforce platform.
  3. If you are looking for a full training course at a great price point, here at Simplilearn we offer comprehensive training materials that guide you through the entire Salesforce Administrator and App Builder certifications.

6. How Long do I Need to Revise?

A common question people want to know is how long it will actually take until you're fully prepared. This always depends on your existing level of skill, how long you can dedicate to revising and the type of environment you're working in. As a rough guideline see below on my recommendations to revise depending on your skill level:

Experienced - 1 Month

Intermediate - 1-3 Months

Beginner - 3+ Months

7. Where do I Take the Exam?

There are two ways you can take the exam, onsite or online...

Onsite - If you wish to take the exam onsite, you will need to book it at a certified training center, your nearest one can be found on the Salesforce webassessor portal. This is a great option if you like the more classic exam environment, strict conditions, no noise, and an invigilator looking over you!

Online - If there are no exam centres near you, or maybe you just feel like doing the exam in the comfort of your own home or office, you can take the exam online. This requires you to install some temporary monitoring software on your computer to ensure you cannot cheat. You will also need to have access to an external webcam that can be placed to cover your whole desk and computer.

My personal preference is always to take it at the exam center. I quite like the pressure of an examination environment!

Conclusion

Salesforce exams can be daunting, but they are completely within reach of anyone that is dedicated and willing to learn the platform inside out. Hopefully these few questions have put your mind at ease with some of the basics around the exam. If you’re looking for more resources, make sure to check out “5 Questions to Help you decide if a Salesforce certification is right for you.”

About the Author

During his years as a Salesforce professional, Ben McCarthy has achieved 7 certifications including Administrator, Developer, and Platform App Builder. In June 2015, he was awarded the coveted Salesforce MVP award by his peers and Salesforce.


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