It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here! No, not Salesforce Spring ’14 maintenance exam, that’s available on the 20th. I’m talking about my own update in the form of a new baby boy. It’s an exciting time in the Zullo family and while I was watching my oldest interact with my youngest, I was reminded that you get back what you put in…to anything. My marriage, family, friends, career, pretty much everything I do is dependent on my input. You get back you put in. I was reminded of this over the weekend when my oldest met my newest child. Like most parents, I think my kid is pretty sharp and more importantly a good person in the making. I’ve known for a while that my firstborn is a compassionate soul, but was still floored by his love and affection for his younger sibling, by the pride, joy and determination in caring for his new brother. I’d like to think our family has had something to do with that and it’s not a coincidence.
The Salesforce Success Community is no different. I don’t believe is a coincidence is my professional happiness has improved significantly since I increased my activity in Salesforce and the community it fosters. In the past 2 years alone I’ve met some amazing people, strengthened and stretched myself and I am as happy as I have been in my career in some time. No way this is all luck. Do I feel lucky to have an amazing family and network? Of course! Do I actually believe it’s all luck that the pieces of my life puzzle have randomly fallen into place? No. You get what you put in. If you put crappy data into your system, guess what? Your data is crappy. If you don’t put genuine effort into your relationships, then you probably won’t have anybody to stand by you when things get tough. I love my life and those who are in it. After my family, my Salesforce family has been a huge part of my recent success and professional enjoyment. Where else am I going to find people who send me congratulations about my Spring ’14 release in Salesforce-speak?
Whatever you do in life, know that you get back, what you put it in.
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.