Salesforce Administrator Certification Guide – [2/8] – Download Full Guide Here
It’s easy to get lost amongst all that information that is available out there. In this second of my eight-part certification guide, I will take you through the steps where you should get started, what you need to set up your learning environment and where to find the learning topics you need to focus on.
Where Should You Get Started
Sign-up for Trailhead
If you are new to Salesforce, the first step on your way to becoming a Salesforce Certified Professional is to sign up for Trailhead. This is Salesforce’s very own learning platform with a lot of free content. Of course, creating an Account on Trailhead is optional, but comes with great benefits.
Watch this video on how to “Get Started with Trailhead“
Get Access to Free Salesforce Practice Orgs
Trailhead does provide you with free Salesforce logins, so called “Playgrounds”, to practice the skills you are learning about hands-on. And most importantly, you can earn points and badges throughout these hands-on exercises. Apart from Playgrounds, you can also sign up for a personal Salesforce Developer Org, which can be connected to your Trailhead account.
Watch this video on how to “Set up your Trailhead Playground“
Watch this video on how to “Set up a Developer Org“
Create Your Salesforce Knowledge Trailblazer Profile
The points and badges you can earn on Trailhead are accumulated on your so called Trailblazer Profile which is generated with your Trailhead Account. Your Trailblazer Profile is a modern way of building a knowledge curriculum that you can share on your personal CV or LinkedIn Profile.
And once you are certified, your Salesforce Administrator Certification and other certifications you may acquire over time will be displayed on your Trailblazer Profile right at the top. So you will have all your Salesforce certifications and topic specific badges in one place!
What Topics You Need To Learn
Study The Salesforce Administrator Exam Guide
With so much free content on the Trailhead platform, however, it can be quite overwhelming to find out where to start.
So your next step is to identify the learning objectives for your certification. Salesforce has put together a baseline Salesforce Administrator Certification Exam Guide including all the exam objectives you will be tested on. This exam guide is provided to you on Trailhead.
You don’t need a Trailhead Account in order to access the exam guide. You do however need an account if you want to do the hands-on exercises. And since hands-on practice is the most important part of your learning journey, I highly recommend signing up for a Trailhead Account.
The Exam Guide contains details about the scope of the exam such as a number of questions, passing score, allotted time, exam fee and retake fee. And you will find the Exam Outline with all knowledge areas and specific topics that will be covered in the exam.
Each knowledge area is associated with a percentage that indicates the importance of each knowledge area. This means, knowledge areas with a higher percentage are more complex and will therefore come with more questions in the exam.
Get Familiar with the Salesforce Classic and the Salesforce Lightning Experience User Interfaces
Salesforce comes with two different user interfaces, the original Salesforce Classic and the newer Salesforce Lightning Experience. The exam objectives are not interface specific. It’s about understanding the concepts. Both interfaces use similar Setup items, some of them simply looking different. I have been using both extensively and can tell the difference quite well. Saying that some Classic features have not or will not get migrated into Lightning Experience and vice versa. So for some items, you will need to switch between the interfaces.
Since Salesforce is focussing its efforts more and more on the Lightning Experience Integration, it’s enforcing the use of Lighting Experience accordingly. This means it’s best to start learning or moving your learnings to Lightning Experience but get familiar with the Classic Interface too.
Study the latest Salesforce Release Notes
Be aware that Salesforce has three release cycles per year, Winter, Spring and Summer, based on the northern hemisphere. Each release comes with new features that a Salesforce Administrator should be familiar with. The Exam Guide will indicate which release cycle you are currently on. So at the time that you are about to register for the exam, check the release cycle and make sure you have studied the relevant Release Notes as well.
Focussing on the right topics you need to study, not only helps you succeed in the exam. You gain the knowledge of the core features and functionalities to leverage the capabilities of the Salesforce platform in a smarter way.
In the next article, I want to share with you what a good learning environment looks like and how you get through all the learning topics in a structured way without loosing sight of your learning progress.