It was never my ambition to become Salesforce-certified. But after conquering my fears and putting in the time and effort, my only wish is that I had gone through this journey sooner. People often ask me, why get Salesforce certified? So to explain why, I’ll share my story.
In early 2013, newly married, I left a contract role so that I could start my immigration process to the U.K. “If you’re going to stay with us for a few months,” my father insisted, “you can’t just slack off—find some work!” Shortly after, I was developing a mobile application for a small London agency that just happened to use Salesforce.
I had experience using many different software platforms, and, backed by that knowledge, I pieced together my understanding of Salesforce through trial and error. The Trailblazer Community and the Salesforce Developer forum made it easy to find answers online whenever I got stuck.
After a “temporary” 5 years on that project, I started to believe I had independently learned everything there was to know about Salesforce. Passing the Platform Developer I exam only confirmed to me that I was invincible.
That feeling only lasted until I needed to find a new job.
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Your past experience can actually work against you
I thought I knew at all. Until I found out during interviews that I didn’t actually know as much as I thought I did. Sure, I was well-versed in everything I needed to know for my old position. Unfortunately, many of those concepts turned out to have no bearing in a different environment.
Salesforce is built around new ideas, and some of mine were obsolete before I even started! One interviewer even laughed when I incorrectly answered what was (in my opinion at the time) an utterly irrelevant question.
After many interviews, I finally had one promising opportunity, but only if I could obtain three certifications. Why get Salesforce certified? Well, this offer required it! “Well,” I thought, “how hard could it really be?”
After investing absolutely zero time in studying, I failed the Platform App Builder exam. I finally had a long-overdue “aha moment” and committed to improving my knowledge before any future exam attempts.
Evolving from a “know-it-all” to a “learn-it-all”
Before I could approach the exam again, I needed to understand why I had failed the first time. That’s where the Salesforce certification exam guide came in handy. There’s an official guide for every Salesforce exam. Each guide lists the topics covered in the real exam and the relative weight in points for each topic section.
There are also entire Certification Prep trailmixes on Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform. These curated learning paths are devoted to helping you prepare with real-world, hands-on exercises. My first step was to follow and complete the Prepare for Your Salesforce Platform App Builder Credential trailmix.
What an eye-opener it was to really study Salesforce in a dedicated way! Reviewing the various modules revealed details about the way the platform works that I’d never completely understood before. Why get Salesforce certified? It was finally sitting down and studying that taught me why Salesforce works the way that it does. It transformed my understanding completely.
These gaps in my knowledge had cost me the exam the first time, but now I felt much better prepared. I retook the exam—and passed!
Combine theory and practice
Do you understand the reason why things work the way that they do? Do some features strike you as lacking logic? If so, then you may benefit from reading the fine print about how Salesforce works so you can understand why.
It’s only when you understand both the theory and practice of a feature that you can become certified.
But passing this first exam was only the beginning for me. I continued to study for more certifications and began to really understand the theory and reasoning behind the Salesforce Platform. Progressively, my quality of work improved whether I was performing an administrator role, developing code, or architecting solutions. When I designed my newest application for AppExchange, the experience was entirely different! With all my new knowledge, I was a stronger Salesforce user.
You, too, can achieve success
Trailhead helped me get to where I am today. The ideas and knowledge shared on the platform are the basis of my daily work in building enterprise-level applications. But there’s more to it than that—Trailhead gives me insight into other fields and roles that I would otherwise not be exposed to. It helps me relate better to my clients and colleagues as well as members of our community.
If you want to become a great Salesforce Developer, I recommend the Architect Journey: Programmatic Architecture trailmix. This trailmix focuses on writing code for the platform and how to use it as part of scalable solutions that make full use of the capabilities Salesforce offers.
When you succeed everyone around you succeeds
While learning Salesforce is free, taking an actual certification exam is not. Learning can be its own reward, but certifications will definitely make you stand out to potential employers. Many higher-paying positions require a certain level of Salesforce Certifications. Choosing the right ones is important for the advancement of your career.
Employers definitely recognize the importance of having certified employees. We bring better value by making fewer mistakes and getting the job done faster.
Earn role-based Salesforce credentials
It’s not about why get Salesforce certified but when
So, now, it’s up to you. Pick the topic most relevant to you (check out this handy Salesforce Credentials Quick Look for inspiration) and get your manager’s full support. You may want to ask them for dedicated study time during your workday or to cover exam costs.
Remember: A company that invests in you is also investing in itself via the results you’ll deliver.
Here are my top six study tips:
- Badge up
Start a new topic and complete all the Trailhead modules you can. I especially recommend hands-on projects that are instruction-based and help you gain practical experience.
- Get involved
The Trailblazer Community has so much info and guidance to offer. Connect with others on a similar certification journey.
- Check out articles
Once you’ve identified the specific subjects that apply to your exam, find posts and articles that will give you in-depth insight. Also, see The Trailblazer Blog.
- Use your own experience
Think back to what you’ve previously done that relates to the topic and consider what you’d do differently now.
- Learn directly from experts
Get to a Trailhead Academy class! In-person, expert-led training with your peers is exceptionally helpful in solidifying your knowledge.
- Put in the time
Set aside dedicated blocks of study time. Spend at least an hour each day—with no interruptions—and even more than that in the days prior to your exam.
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to becoming Salesforce-certified. All you need to do now is ace your exam and experience the benefits for yourself. If you don’t pass on your first try, don’t worry—it’s all part of the learning experience.
I’ve gone from one certification to 14, and this journey has made me a more well-rounded Salesforce professional. Every certification leads to increased interest from both recruiters and employers. Each Salesforce certification has value in the job marketplace. Why get Salesforce certified? Companies that didn’t return my messages are now chasing me with offers. My professional network has doubled in size over the past year.
Here’s to #15YearsOfCerts!
Join Salesforce in celebrating 15 incredible years of Salesforce Certifications! The certification program, with its history of innovation and growth, has evolved to offer more than 50 certifications. Be a part of the celebration – share your favorite #CertifiedPro memory on social media alongside this special image created for you.
The value of becoming Salesforce-certified is real. Join me! Start your path to #CertifiedPro today!
The Trailblazer Blog
Discover expert insights to help you develop your career, connect with Trailblazers, learn Salesforce, and earn certifications. Explore practical how-to guidance, authentic peer perspectives, and inspiring Trailblazer stories.