Salesforce Ecosystem

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Dustin, May 3, 2022.

  1. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    This isn't a degree program, but I have to say that I've really enjoyed working in the Salesforce ecosystem and recommending it to people interested in a tech job that doesn't have a high barrier to entry but still pays well.

    Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) web-based platform. It was originally developed for salespeople (as the name indicates) but now it's used in a variety of environments. There is Financial Cloud for financial service organizations, Health Cloud for hospitals and medical organizations, Nonprofit Cloud Case Management (NCCM) for nonprofits, and many other Clouds and services.

    The basic credential to enter the ecosystem is the Salesforce Certified Administrator certification, also called ADM 201. This is a 60 question, 90 minute multiple choice test with a 65% minimum score to pass. Salesforce provides free training through their Trailhead platform, and you can spin up sandboxes to play around and learn.

    New Admins can earn around $75,000 a year:

    This is around what I was making as a Business Analyst in a different platform. Moving to SF, I am approaching the "entry level" salary listed above (which is actually for people with 3 years in the platform so it inflated.)

    There are multiple additional certifications you can take. For example, the next 2 certifications I'll be pursuing include Nonprofit Cloud Consultant, since this is the product I work with every day at work, and Platform App Builder which shows that I know how to extend the platform by building new apps (which are sections of the software) using the declarative (non-code) parts of Salesforce.

    By stacking certain certifications, you can become a Salesforce Architect. For example, to become a
    Salesforce Application Architect. To become an Application Architect you need 4 exams:
    • Data Architecture and Management Designer
    • Sharing and Visibility Designer
    • Platform Developer I
    • Platform App Builder
    Other Architect certifications require their own exam on top of the prerequisites. Solution Architects (who can have any architect certification) command $130K+ a year. The top of the pyramid, Certified Technical Architect can be above 160K.

    For the majority of exams, the fee is $200 to take it once and $100 for each retake. You can take it an unlimited number of times, but after the first fail you need to wait 24 hours. After the second fail you need to wait 2 weeks. After the third fail you need to wait until the next release cycle (which is a maximum of 4 months away but usually less.)
    Jonathan Whatley likes this.
  2. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    With Salesforce, it's not exactly clear how or where you take an exam. I tried Googling, but didn't get any promising results. Also, is it free to study, similar to the Microsoft exams?
  3. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Good to know! You take the exam through WebAssessor:

    You sign up for an account and then you can book the exam there. I did online proctor. They use software called Sentinel. You are monitored live but the proctor isn't visible, and they communicate with you through chat. You can reschedule your exam an unlimited number of times until less than 24 hours remains before the exam. For example, my first exam I had scheduled for Feb 5, then decided on Feb 3 to change it to Feb 15.

    For study material, Salesforces' Trailhead is free:

    Trailhead modules and badges include reading material and multiple choice quizzes, but also bigger "challenges" where you go into a live system and then follow the steps to build the thing as stated, and then it checks your answer for you, and helps walk you through it. There are bigger "Superbadges" where once you're more confident in an area (like Dashboards and Reporting or Security) you get a big project. They estimate they take around 4 hours each for a Superbadge and I thought that was accurate. You walk through with less instruction, so it's more like a real-world business problem.

    There are also Trailmixes which are sets of modules and material organized around a goal like passing a Salesforce exam. For example, Prepare for Your Salesforce Administrator Credential (

    What's also recommended but is not free, are the FocusOnForce practice exams. I found the Admin practice exams very similar to the real ones. Different questions so it's not an exam dump, but they are in the same style and test much of the same material. The study guide also includes mini content exams (so instead of the full 60 questions it might be 20 questions just on Objects and Relationships so you can brush up on that section of the real exam.) The study guide is $20 and the 5 pack of practice exams is also $20. I found the $40 worth it and will be buying FoF exams and guides for Platform App Builder when I go to tackle it.
    sanantone and Rachel83az like this.
  4. Messdiener

    Messdiener Active Member

    Some years ago, the official exams seemed to be the only way to break into the SF ecosystem and to get jobs.

    I vaguely recall seeing people listening Trailhead accomplishments on LinkedIn or maybe it was on their CVs. Do you know if it's possible to get smaller gigs with this kind of experience?
  5. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    The exams are definitely the primary way to show your skills. Trailhead is useful for showing how much training you've done in the system based on your rank, with Ranger being the maximum currently.

    I can't say that Trailheads are useful in getting an Admin job in the absence of the cert, but they can be useful for helping you get additional responsibilities in a Salesforce environment and help you make the jump.

    For example, I worked in a call center that used Sales Cloud as an end user. I completed the Reports and Dashboards Lightning Superbadge and was able to create some cool visualizations for my boss. That led me to becoming the main source of reports and dashboards for the department.

    I later gained the BA skills I needed in a different role and then the combo of being an experienced BA in a different platform plus having a familiarity with SF helped me get this role as a Salesforce BA despite not (yet) having my Admin cert.
  6. Vicki

    Vicki Active Member

    We are actually moving to Salesforce for our enrollment platform. I work for an online K-12 school. I don’t have access to it yet. My supervisor is still trying to get them to add me. I don’t know why they are being so tight with it. I had access to the previous platform. I was kind of looking forward to learning it.
    Maniac Craniac, Johann and Dustin like this.
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Maybe because they'll then have to pay you accordingly? :)
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  8. Vicki

    Vicki Active Member

    Eh… I dunno. I am getting a pretty hefty pay increase and title change next year already.
    Johann likes this.
  9. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    So Johann is wrong -- yet again. And glad to be! Congratulations. Well-deserved, obviously. :)
  10. Vicki

    Vicki Active Member

    Thanks! It’s pretty much in line with what I had been wanting. My supervisor submitted it for approval without even mentioning it to me.
    Johann likes this.

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