Salesforce Administrators: The Road to Certification – Jenny’s Admin Tip #8

certification (1)

Mention ADM 201 and anyone who has taken the exam and passed will possibly give you a sigh of relief. Becoming certified as a Salesforce Administrator is a goal of almost all Admins, one as it demonstrate your core knowledge of the platform and two it is critical to a company’s ongoing success with Salesforce. However, after the certification panel at the London Salesforce Admin User Group, it would appear that the road to reaching your 201 certification is not as straightforward as one might think, as I was amongst several others who had failed the exam first time round.

Though I thought I was fully prepared to take on the exam in Nov 2013, I underestimated just how under-prepared I actually was, despite having been an experienced user of Salesforce. After walking out of the exam room with an unsatisfying result – fail,  I set out to tackle this exam again, only this time as a Salesforce user with Administrative experience. But before I did, I had to evaluate and work on the areas in which I went wrong so that my result next time would be a pass.

Here are the 3 key areas to focus on.

User experience vs backend experience.

Don’t expect your knowledge of Case/Account management or Lead conversion  to help you sail through the exam. Yes, questions may appear that cover such topics, but when it comes to front vs backend experience, the latter is going to be more beneficial. The exam is broad so question why things work rather than how e.g. You know how a user can delete a record, but you may not know why. This is going to prove valuable when it comes to those tricky multi-select questions.

Fundamentals and more.

The Force.com Fundamentals book is a great introduction/reference to Salesforce Administrative work. Anyone new to Salesforce should start here and yes you could potentially pass the ADM 201 from completing the tasks in this book in a developer org. However, from experience I would say that there are many other sources for you to gain that valuable insight into the ins and outs of Salesforce.

Let the Fundamentals book lay the foundations of your understanding of Salesforce, however start building on that with hands on experience from customer scenarios/support queries, the Questions and Answers on the Success Community, feedback from non/ certified Salesforce Administrators in Salesforce Certification Groups on LinkedIn and much more.  Nothing is going to give you a deeper insight into the security, maintenance and data of the org than hands on experience.

Know where to improve.

Immediately after completing the ADM 201 exam you are met with 1 of 2 outcomes – Pass or Fail.  The results do not give you a detailed report of your strong and weak areas nor does it give you a score. A relieving pass or unsatisfying fail is your lot. But, don’t let this discourage you from continuing with your journey to certification.

With 60 multiple choice/select questions and the opportunity to review questions you are not sure of throughout the exam, you really get a feel for the areas you need to improve in. So once you leave the exam, jot those areas down or use the Study guide to highlight the areas that you thought were your weakest and work on them for next time. It is advised that you need 6 months Admin experience, so nail your weak spots and you will be well on the way to gaining that Certified Admin Badge.

These are just a few lessons I learned along the road to certification, and they helped as I passed my ADM 201 in September 2014.

If you would like more information on Salesforce and the road to Administration, have any resources for those wanting to become certified or would like to share your story then leave a comment below or tweet @jenny_bamber and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

See you next week.

Jenny

By Jenny Bamber
13 November 2014
Jenny's Admin TipsThe Good Systems Blog

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