A while ago Alena wrote for me an article asking whether customers should pass certification exams as well.
A year ago David Liu wrote an article how many certifications you need (seven).
And the final straw for putting this article together was Ben’s infographic about certification pathways, which my team loved and I realised it doesn’t really says much, it just visualise the prerequisites.
I don’t have all the certifications, but I can still have some opinions, right?
You want to be an admin
Being admin to me primarily means knowing a bit about security, managing the system (creating users, groups, etc.) and less about designing apps.
Administrator is the obvious one for the start, if you work for a big company with territories and such thing the Advanced Admin make sense as well.
I would also wander into the „architect“ track and take a look at Data Architecture & Management Designer which might help you when importing and managing data.
You want to create apps
You want to customise the system, right?
Platform App Builder to get more about all the automation and such things, then follow the paragraph above (the Data Architecture will be awesome for you) and on top of that do the Sharing & Visibility, because you want to know how to design secure apps. Development Lifecycle as a bonus, so you know the proper practice which you can ignore later on.
And of course the Sales and Service Consultant (depend on what part of Salesforce you primarily plan to utilise) as you need to know what comes out of the box and you don’t have to do much to use it.
I can imagine that you will be scared by Platform Developer, but do the PD1 as it will help you to realise what can be done by clicks and where you need to code. And how hard the coding can be, you don’t have to develop after that, but being able to understand developers will help you a lot.
You want to help business
You don’t really want to be technical, you want to be more partner for your users and managers, right?
Sorry, you need to take the Administrator, but then you can continue with Sales/Service/NPSP/Eda/Pardot/Marketing Cloud consultants, depending on which way you like more.
Sales is primarily about selling, managing sales reps, putting together the forecasting and reporting back how great the number will be. On top of Sales you might want to do the CPQ one, if you use it and have a need for more complex quoting process. And Einstein Analytics if you want to have extended analytics.
Service is primarily about call centres, knowledge bases and all these things. You might want to do Community on top of it, so you can offer self-service to your clients. And Einstein Analytics for reporting. Doing Service you might also expect that you will need to learn more about telephony, all the different social networks and their monitoring (hello Marketing Cloud, this combination is quite common). Maybe FSL if you have technician in the field (this might be interesting for the people doing Sales as well, even though it is by default not connected).
NPSP is for non-profits/EDA is for education – if you really want to know how to utilise these extra packages and use them fully.
Community – I mostly feel it is the cherry on top, there are organisations which use it on its own, but usually there is the „second“ part of it – either Sales or Service Cloud.
And then the marketing part, where the easy division says Pardot is B2B while Marketing Cloud is B2C, but it isn’t really the best distinction and I suppose that once upon a time these two products will be one. Pardot is definitely easier for implementation and learning what is in (basically email only), while Marketing Cloud implementation is bastard on its own and can be probably the most complex from all the different clouds.
You want to be CTA
CTA = Certified Technical Architect.
Go for everything. To me being a good CTA doesn’t mean only the technical part, you really want to understand the business and have all the overlaps to other technologies, knowing how marketing might work, that Service needs telephony and what can be achieved there, completely outside Salesforce.
This is the role which needs to do the Identity one, for Admin it is nice to have if you are really big organisation but they will not really use it. As CTA you need to know it as well as Integration.
Can we ignore all those you didn’t mention?
Not at all! I would say if there is an area with which you will get in touch, do the certification.
Integration Architecture? The moment you want to integrate with something it might be a great idea to learn more.
The same goes with Identify – if you have multiple systems for holding identify you might want to know more how to integrate them together.
And now go for it. Pick the first one and prepare for it. You don’t have to pass, you need to go through the preparation to learn more about areas of Salesforce you didn’t care about before and which might make your life way easier.