I wanted to explore a topic that comes up more frequently than you might think from folks in the Salesforce ecosystem. That question being “Are Salesforce certifications really worth it?” especially given that Salesforce has recently introduced a new set of certifications that now brings the total number to over 20.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the categories and subsequent certifications:
Platform App Builder
Development Lifecycle & Deployment
Data Architecture & Management
Identity and Access Management Designer
Sharing & Visibility Designer
Mobile Solutions Architecture Designer
Platform Developer 1
Platform Developer 2
Sales Cloud Consultant
Service Cloud Consultant
Community Cloud Consultant
Marketing Cloud Email Specialist
Marketing Cloud Social Specialist
Marketing Cloud Consultant
CPQ certified consultant
Are Salesforce certifications worth it? In a nutshell, yes. Let me explain.
I am going to talk about this with 2 different types of businesses in mind that you will no doubt either be working at currently or looking for a role in. That is the Salesforce consulting partner and the end user.
If you’re a candidate and have ever been looking for roles in the consulting space, you will no doubt have experienced that the vast majority of partners require at least one and quite often multiple certifications before even bringing you in for an interview.
For a consultant role this is usually either the Sales or Service Cloud and for developers it’s what was previously the Dev 401 and or 501 and now Platform Developer 1 and 2.
Some of the reasons partners require certifications are:
It helps with reaching the next tier in the partner program with Salesforce. Part of the criteria is they need a certain number of certified consultants.
It looks credible to their prospects when tendering for projects.
It demonstrates a level of commitment from your (the candidate) point of view.
It shows you are serious about the Salesforce ecosystem rather than just looking for any old job.
On the end user side, the requirement for certifications are usually not as strict as the partners although you’ll still find one or multiple certifications listed in the desired experience on job ads. Given that they’re not part of a partner program, the lack of certifications can usually be overcome by solid experience.
In my experience, depending on how advanced the end user is in terms of their Salesforce journey, a little education and reality check about whether or not a certification is really the most important thing when looking to hire goes a long way. The same can also be said for some consulting partners however they usually have, in my opinion, more valid reasons for wanting people to be certified upon joining.
Benefits of certifications:
It will improve your Salesforce knowledge which translates to better solutions for your customers.
For new comers in the Salesforce world, it shows you’re serious about the platform that you’ve taken the time to study and sit the exam. Clients or potential clients will appreciate that.
You’re adding to your credibility in the Salesforce world which is a very good thing.
It will improve your chances of getting an interview with both partners and end users.
Pay increases - I’ve seen clients offer incentives to achieve various certifications including $5k base salary increase per certification achieved.
One of the biggest challenges of attaining certifications is not necessarily the exam itself, rather it’s the time you’ll need to invest in terms of studying and preparing for the exam and you need to treat each certification as an investment in your career.
If you’re unsure where to start, there is an abundance of free material available online including free e-books, tutorials, Youtube videos, trailhead and more.
I’d be interested in hearing your experience, both from a candidate and client point of view. What are your experiences with and without certifications? Have they been worth it for you?