Now that Connections 2014 has wrapped up, I’d like to take a moment to look back at a great week for the following reasons:
- Education – This should always be the priority when attending these conferences
- Networking – It is called Connections after all. Might as well make some
- Entertainment – After many hours of running from one session to the next, it’s nice to unwind
Knowledge is power and so is understanding how to use it. If training is offered, take it. Deep dive training tracks usually come at an extra cost. Grab one if it fits your budget. However, there typically are several shorter training sessions that are included with your conference pass. I was able to take advantage of both this week and glad I did. I left CNX14 knowing more than I did going in.
In a couple weeks, I’ll be attending Dreamforce in San Francisco. Once again, I’m grabbing as many Hands-on Training Sessions (HOTs) as I can manage. These are among the most popular and highly attended sessions. Grab one if you can.
One major announcement that will allow me to continue learning and expanding my skills is the new Marketing Cloud Developer Edition. For the first time ever, anyone can get access to a developer account with ExactTarget. This great for those looking to broaden their command of the core application as well as extend functionality through custom development. To learn more about what you can do with your new account, check out Getting Started with ExactTarget Marketing Cloud development.
Mingle. Knowledge isn’t the only new thing you should walk away with. Bring cards, use LinkedIn and other means to engage with people and share ideas. One of the things that makes Salesforce Community so strong is the community itself where we learn as much from each other as we do from the official guides and online help.
CNX14 had a great lineup starting with local band Dude!, will.i.am, The Script, DJ Casey Connor and Walk the Moon. will.i.am even performed LIVE with a wearable prototype that allowed him to DJ from his wrist! All the acts were at a minimum, entertaining and energetic. It’s nice to wrap up a long day with some great entertainment.
All in all it was a week we’ll spent. I am looking forward to Connections ’15 in New York!
There are only 139 days until Dreamforce (4 months, 16 days), but who’s counting? You can save up to $700 combining the current rate and this discount code: D13MVPREF when you register by July 18th. There are so many reasons to go to Dreamforce. I’ve been once and it was amazing! I learned so much and can’t wait to go back and continue to feed my need for knowledge. Whatever your motivation to attend, I’d love to save you a little bit of money.
This past week I went to an all day platform workshop. One whole day dedicated to developing apps, Visualforce, Apex and more! If Salesforce comes to your town with it’s FREE day of learning, it’s worth going. Whether you’re just getting started, interested in something new or even looking to get more advanced, chances are you will find it here. Keep an eye on the developerforce calendar to find out what’s going on in your community. You will find both online and in-person events on their calendar.
My workshop started with declarative (button-click) application building and went deeper into custom territory as the day went on. Our instructors were knowledgeable and took the time to answer every question thrown their way. I was most excited about moving beyond the standard point and click functionality, not because that’s the end all be all of developing a platform, but is great to see how a mix of standard and custom dev can coexist and compliment each other. Best part of all, every exercise was an extension of the last. This way, you will see how the building blocks fit together. At the end of the day you will leave with more than you came in with. More knowledge, bigger community and platform starter kit (aka box o’ goodies).
If you can’t wait for an event to come by and you’re ready to jump right in, then register a free developer account and get cracking with any of these workbooks! I got my dev certification mainly by focusing on the workbooks and this book on fundamentals, both available online for FREE! While you’re at it, bookmark these cheat sheets for reference. Happy coding!
So you use Salesforce and you want to “cert up” aka get certified, but where do you start? For starters, it doesn’t hurt to bookmark the Salesforce Certification page. Once there you will notice there are four tracks to follow.
Since the purpose of this post is to help those starting their journey towards certification, I will focus on the first two options only. The Administrator and Developer tracks are both starting points while the last two are for advanced users. Certifying as an Administrator requires you to understand the idealistic way to leverage the the core functionality of this powerful CRM application. The ADM 201 exam is the gateway and prerequisite to obtaining additional certifications that fall under the Implementation Experts track that specialize in two different areas, Sales & Service Clouds respectively (see Implementation Experts for more details). There are many community resources out there to help you study in addition to official offerings. Here are a few of them to help you prepare for ADM201
- Salesforce ADM 201 Study Questions (Ravi Benedetti Guide via Adam Frank)
- Salesforce ADM 201 Certification Exam Study Guide – December 2011
- Salesforce Administration Test ADM-201 Part 1
- Salesforce Administration Test ADM-201 Part 2
- Admin Certification tutorial
In my opinion, the Developers exam is more practical. If you’re a hands-on type of learner, then take advantage of the practice resources available to you. In the bullets below, are two main Developer workbooks that I used to prepare for the Developer exam. I was wisely told prior to starting down this path that if you “know the book, know the exam”. I started with Fundamentals and quickly followed that up with the skinnier Workbook. I strongly recommend you create an account on Developer Force and practice using these guides:
- The Force.com Workbook (PDF, HTML) – the lighter version of the two (just over 80 pages)
- Force.com Platform Fundamentals – more in-depth (almost 400 pages)
- Developerforce Technical Library – All you need to know about getting certified
Here are a few community-based resources for DEV401
Choosing the best track for you will come down to your role and responsibilities. Another consideration is your learning style. For me, I learn best through hands-on experience. If this you and/or you don’t have much practical experience with Salesforce, then the Developer track is the way to go. As I mentioned above, there are two practice guides you can follow in your developer org. I felt great before, during and after passing developer exam because I completed both developer workbooks. If you need additional incentive, Salesforce has some swag for you just for building a simple app (details supplied at registration). A happy coincidence is that you get hands-on experience that is also relevant to Administrator track. Something that I benefited from as I recently added the Admin certification to my collection. Win-win situation! Here are more Salesforce resources to help you prepare for and maintain your skills:
Good luck with whichever certification you choose to tackle first! Let me know in the comments if I missed a helpful resource the community would benefit from.