Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect changes in the industry and in job demand.
Salesforce in October of 2020 was named the top Customer Relationship Management (CRM) provider for the seventh consecutive year by International Data Corporation (IDC) in its latest Worldwide Semiannual Software Tracker. Salesforce grew its overall market share position and increased its revenue more than any other Customer Relationship Management (CRM) vendor, according to the report.
Beyond the impressive numbers — 56,606 employees as of Jan. 31 and $21.2 billion in revenue according to its latest annual report — this is software. Thousands of people use the Salesforce software, and Salesforce offers a variety of certifications surrounding its software that enhances skills and boosts resumes leading to job opportunities around the Salesforce software ecosystem.
So what’s the latest with these Salesforce certifications?
Multiple Certifications for Multiple Roles
Salesforce Administrators: Example: Marketing Cloud Administrator: The Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator credential is designed for administrators who can configure Marketing Cloud products utilizing industry and product best practices.
Salesforce Architects: xample: Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA): The Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA) solves complex, large-scale customer challenges to produce secure, scalable and high-performance solutions that maximize the full potential of the Salesforce Platform.
Salesforce Marketers: Example: Marketing Cloud Developer: Certified Marketing Cloud Developers have hands-on experience developing across the full platform. They create personalized, dynamic messages and landing pages, and are fluent in Marketing Cloud scripting languages. They’re also experienced in advanced segmentation, reporting and analytics and data configuration.
Salesforce Consultants: Example: Einstein Analytics and Discovery Consultant: The Salesforce Einstein Analytics and Discovery Consultant credential is designed for consultants who have experience designing and implementing on the Salesforce Einstein Analytics and Discovery platform in a customer-facing role that meet business requirements.
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Industry Recognition, Career Advancement
Salesforce certifications are globally recognized credentials that allow you to transform your career by proving your hands-on experience with Salesforce and getting a competitive edge that leads to new opportunities, according to Lande.
Salesforce certifications allow you to:
- Gain industry recognition as a Salesforce expert
- Become a key player in your organization’s success by implementing best practices across the latest Salesforce rollouts and releases
- Accelerate your career advancement opportunities and stand out to employers.
Salesforce certifications help people land jobs in the “Salesforce Economy,” which, according to IDC, will add 4.2 million new jobs around the world by 2024.
Trailhead Journey for Salesforce Certifications
Anyone can explore which career in the Salesforce ecosystem is a good fit for them, Lande said. They can review a breakdown of required Salesforce skills for each role, day-to-day work and projected career growth and salary information.
Lande suggests those seeking Salesforce certifications browse the more than 30 Salesforce certifications that directly align to their desired role, providing them with the knowledge, skills and experience needed to be successful on the job.
“Each certification includes a curated certification prep learning journey on Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online platform,” Lande said. “With Trailhead, learners can complete learning modules and projects to learn not only the tech skills the job market demands, but also the soft skills to become a well-rounded certified professional. The secret sauce of Trailhead is the ability to get hands-on with Salesforce technology and complete real-world challenges for free with the Trailhead Playground, their own free instance of Salesforce.”
Learners can also supplement their learning on Trailhead with expert-led guidance including Trailhead Academy courses, Trailhead Virtual Bootcamps and free Salesforce Certification Days, according to Lande. Throughout the process, learners can tap into the Trailblazer Community to join the certification conversation, attend study groups and connect to mentors around the globe.
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Passing the Exam, How Much They Cost
Aspiring Salesforce-certification owners earn their certification by passing their certification exam. “Becoming a member of the Salesforce Certified community reflects a commitment to constantly learning and growing your career,” Lande said. “The learning never stops — Salesforce releases innovative features three times per year, and certification holders are required to keep their skills sharp by annually maintaining their certification.”
All Salesforce Certified professionals must successfully complete one Trailhead maintenance module per year in order to maintain their certification(s). Maintenance modules are available with the start of the spring, summer or winter release cycles and are due one year from when they become available.
Of course, there is a cost, and Salesforce lays out its certification prices here, ranging from $100 to $6,000. Each certification includes resources to help learners prepare for their exam, including an exam guide with exam topics, relevant Trailhead learning modules, recommended Trailhead Academy courses and interactive study tools.
New Certifications Since 2019
All Salesforce certifications are highly sought after, according to Lande. The Administrator, Platform App Builder and Platform Developer I certification exams are among the most popular and contain foundational knowledge and skills to extend the capabilities of the Salesforce Platform.
“A valuable aspect of the Salesforce Certification Program is that the learning paths build upon themselves,” Lande said. “In fact, many Salesforce Certified Administrators successfully accelerate their career opportunities and move on to become Salesforce Certified Developers and even Architects.”
The Mason Frank International Salesforce Salary Survey for 2020-2021 found the most popular certification by far is the Salesforce Certified Administrator, with 90% of respondents having passed the exam. The Certified Platform App Builder certification is second at 47%.
“Digital innovation has increased hugely over the past decade, and the last year has accelerated that even more,” said Daljit Bamford, chief customer officer at Salesforce recruiter Mason Frank International and former chief customer officer at Salesforce. “As the ecosystem grows and the technology continues to innovate at pace, the demand for certified talent will only accelerate.”
Certification Path Builds Baseline Skillset
Bamford said she made the decision to work toward her Advanced Admin certification, while simultaneously implementing Sales Cloud. “And I’ve never looked back,” she said. “My career within the ecosystem has gone from strength to strength, and it started with that first certification. Do I still think certifications are important? Absolutely.”
Salesforce certifications are the simplest way for an employer to verify both your baseline skillset and your appetite to learn. Understanding how the core technology works, the nuts and bolts of the operating system is very important, Bamford added. “I view some certifications as the foundation for a journey of continual learning,” Bamford said. “Having that starting point and showing your desire to improve is incredibly desirable.”
In the salary survey by Mason Frank International conducted last year amongst Salesforce professionals, 77% of respondents held at least one certification, with 10% working toward their first. “With people having more time on their hands over the last 12 months, that figure is likely to increase even further, making anyone who isn’t certified in the minority,” Bamford said. “Without certifications, you’re facing an uphill battle to stand out from other candidates from the moment you submit your application.”