Salesforce certification guide: Your path to a lucrative career

Salesforce certification is a great way to get ahead by proving your skills on one of the hottest CRM platforms today. Our guide to the most valuable Salesforce certifications will help you kick-start your Salesforce career.

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Prerequisites: Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment DesignerCertified Identity and Access Management DesignerCertified Integration Architecture Designer and Certified Platform Developer I (see above)

Salesforce Certified Technical Architect

This “elite” architect certification requires a significant investment of time, energy and money. To achieve it, candidates need extensive experience, technical breadth and depth, presentation skills and the ability to synthesize Salesforce solutions that span the entire platform.

Candidates must possess broad knowledge across multiple development platforms and have achieved certification in all specialized domains. The certification draws on candidates’ ability to assess customer requirements and architecture in order to design secure, high-performance technical solutions.

To pass this exam, candidates must design a recommended architecture solution based on a fictional client with hypothetical customer requirements. You will be asked to explain and justify why and how you built your solution.  

Price: $6,000; retake fee, $3,000

Prerequisites: Salesforce Certified Application Architect and Salesforce Certified System Architect

Salesforce Certified Heroku Architecture Designer

Heroku is a cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS) supporting several programming languages. Heroku has been in development since June 2007, when it supported only the Ruby programming language, but it now supports Java, Node.js, Scala, Clojure, Python, PHP, and Go. The Salesforce Certified Heroku Architecture Designer credential is designed for individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and extensive experience with architecting scalable solutions, deploying and managing apps, and managing teams and build-workflows on Heroku — specifically, Heroku Enterprise. This credential is targeted for a Heroku Consultant or Partner, who has an awareness of application development best practices and how they apply to Heroku, an understanding of how to build scalable apps on Heroku and knowledge of Heroku use cases and how to apply Heroku best practices within the enterprise.

This certification is aimed at developers who can design, build, deploy and scale Heroku apps, as well as manage and operate apps, teams, and build infrastructure. In addition, understanding when to use Heroku enterprise, using add-ons to extend Heroku applications, and integrating Heroku apps with Salesforce via database, API and event systems is crucial for candidates to pass the exam.

The Salesforce Certified Heroku Architecture Designer exam is intended for an individual who has a minimum of two years of experience and skills across the Heroku domains. Candidates will have 105 minutes to finish 60 multiple-choice questions.

Price: $400; retake fee: $200

Prerequisites: None

Recommended courses: Prepare for Your Heroku Architecture Credential

Salesforce consultant certifications

Salesforce offers nine certifications for customer-facing consultants who design and implement solutions in their area of expertise. These include:

  • Salesforce Certified Community Cloud Consultant: This certification is for professionals who implements Salesforce Community applications and help customers configure and manage communities and troubleshoot platform issues.
  • Salesforce Certified Education Cloud Consultant: This certification is aimed at consultants experienced with implementing Salesforce Education Cloud solutions.
  • Salesforce Certified Einstein Analytics and Discovery Consultant: This credential is aimed at consultants experienced with Salesforce Einstein Analytics and Discovery platform.
  • Salesforce Certified Field Service Lightning Consultant: This certification recognizes professionals who design Salesforce solutions for customers and who administer and configure Salesforce applications on customer premises.
  • Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Consultant: Candidates must be able to configure and implement Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email application tools and troubleshoot platform issues.
  • Salesforce Certified Nonprofit Cloud Consultant: This provides consultants to credential their experience with Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud solutions.
  • Salesforce Certified Pardot Consultant: This certification is for professionals who design, implement and maintain Pardot solutions based on business requirements.
  • Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant: Candidates must be able to design and implement Sales Cloud solutions, including application and interface design, and be able to manage and design analytics for tracking purposes.
  • Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant: This certification recognizes individuals who design solutions for contact centers, as well as analytics solutions for metric tracking.

Other Salesforce certifications

In addition to the technical certifications, Salesforce offers a number of marketing cloud certifications, including two for Salesforce’s B2B marketing automation platform Pardot, consultants and marketing cloud professionals.

  • Salesforce Pardot Expert certifications: Professionals can earn two certifications targeting Pardot, Salesforce’s B2B marketing automation platform, including Certified Pardot Specialist and Certified Pardot Consultant.
  • Salesforce Certified Marketing certifications: Salesforces offers three marketing credentials: Certified Marketing Cloud Consultant; Certified Cloud Email Specialist, which targets professionals who use the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email application; Marketing Cloud Developer.


Professionals can get training and earn “badges” to prove their competency in areas such as security, data integration and business analytics through Salesforce’s Trailhead training platform A new partnership with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) aims to help new grads jump into the Salesforce job market via Trailhead, says Paul LeBlanc, president of SNHU.

Trailblazers — what Salesforce calls those using the platform to earn badges and learn new skills — are now able to earn college credit by completing admin and developer badges, LeBlanc says.

“Any Trailhead learner can apply to enroll in a SNHU degree program and have their Trailhead badges evaluated for credit towards one of over 100 undergraduate degree programs,” LeBlanc said. As with all Trailhead’s educational offerings, these are free of charge.  “Any collection of the hundreds of available Trailhead modules completed for either the Admin or Developer role, along with a Superbadge, will count as a 3-credit Experiential Learning course at SNHU. The credit can be applied as a major elective for applicable IT-related programs or as a free elective towards many of the degree programs we offer,” LeBlanc says. As the program launched in summer of 2019, there have only been a handful of students taking advantage of the program, but LeBlanc anticipates huge participation as the 2019-2020 academic year progresses.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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