My voracity for Salesforce certifications and the resulting pursuit to grab them all has been an absolute game-changer, both at a professional and personal level. It all began after coming back from Dreamforce 14′ and you can read the full story either here or on David’s site. The extent to which the certifications have benefited me, spurs me to write this post and share some short anecdotes, hoping that they work you up to at least consider getting certified. I am asked by colleagues (folks not belonging to the Salesforce domain) time and again about my predilection for these certifications and why I have spent more than a grand on them. What I explain to them is what I am going to write here and the next time someone asks me, I might as well direct them to this post. Convenient, right? Without further ado, let’s start talking and get to the real deal. Here’s a list of five major boosts that these prized certifications have bestowed upon me:
- Knowledge and Confidence Booster
Before I got certified, I honestly had no idea about the expanse of this platform. I worked with a limited set of tools in Salesforce and never got a chance to get outside the horizon of what was available to me. Studying for the certification exams made me aware of the lesser-known parts of the platform and introduced me to the real capabilities of it. Quotes and Orders, Forecasting and Quotas, Data.com and Work.com basics, Person Accounts, Click-To-Dial and CTI, Entitlements, Salesforce Knowledge, Salesforce Console; I didn’t even know they existed until I began studying for the exams. Although I was unable to garner any hands-on experience with these features, I at least got myself acquainted enough to pass the exams and participate in relevant discussions. I was able to deliver better solutions for the end users and explain to them more confidently what I built. Experience is undeniably way more worthwhile than certifications but club them together and you become indispensable.
When embarking on a new project for a client (with quite a stringent deadline), I was asked to set up Salesforce Console right from scratch, involving both declarative and custom coded customization. Thanks to my intense and thorough preparation for the Sales Cloud certification exam that I already knew what the Console could and couldn’t do. I had to set up Salesforce Knowledge and Open CTI integration for another client and my preparation for the Service Cloud certification exam assisted me with that. A mere $400 investment which happens to be the cost of both these exams combined, helped facilitate and support projects that were a great success and extremely rewarding for my professional growth.
I recently passed both the certifications exams under the Marketers track and the sole intention of studying for them was to familiarize myself with Social Studio and Exact Target. Reason why I went for something so unrelated to my current domain? Well who knows that when I am put on a project involving the Marketing tools and I definitely don’t want to go in cold. Being proactive in the Salesforce world helps, trust me.
- Community Service Booster
I have helped numerous people prepare for and pass the ADM 201 exam and it feels great; definitely not something that you can describe in words. Due to the frequency and quantity of emails that I received, from the community folks seeking help related to the exams, I was motivated enough to form a small study group of my own. If case you are interested, feel free to drop me an email and I will be glad to share the rest of the details. And nope, it won’t cost you a dime. The short term plans are to extend the preparation assistance beyond ADM 201 to Sales, Service and App Builder certifications but it’s still in the works. I also decided to write a post about every exam I pass so that the aspiring candidates can benefit from my experience and know what to expect in the exam.
Passing the certification exams also led me to being highly active in the Answers Community and this has assuredly been the most gratifying experience for me. Personal thank-you emails and comments expressing gratitude have been the single most motivating factor for me to continue being active in this wonderful community. Moreover, being well versed with almost every aspect of the platform (thanks to the certifications), even if in theory, has tremendously helped me respond to a wide variety of questions and quite confidently. I don’t think I would have made it to 4000+ answers and 1000+ best answers without having deepened my knowledge in the unexplored areas of the platform. Here are a few actual thank-you comments that make my involvement so worthwhile:
“YESSSS!!! Thank you so much Mayank. We were apparently trying to use cross filters all wrong. Again, thank you so much I can’t tell you how much we appreciate this!”
“SWEET!!!! It worked. You are my hero! This is going to save us so much time and ensure consistent data entry. Thanks so much for your help, Mayank! Have an awesome day.”
“A miracle!!! Thanks for burning the midnight oil with me — once again — a savior. This may be the longest formula I’ve ever had to deal with. Will you be a dreamforce? I’d love to buy you a beer, or a coffee to keep you going at 3pm!”
- Resume and Job Profile Booster
As you must have noticed, being at least ADM 201 certified has become an integral part of a Salesforce related job description. Stick those certification logos on your resume or LinkedIn profile and
heighten your chances of getting shortlisted for a job opening. And no, it doesn’t stop there. The more certifications you have, more are the chances that the hiring managers have already deemed you the best candidate for the position that you applied for. True story (happened after accepting a job offer):
Hiring Manager: Dude, how did you ever find time to study for so many certifications?
Me: Well, I had some free time on my hands, haha.
Hiring Manager: Anyway, let me tell you a secret. Right after your first on-site interview, I walked over to Becky (another interviewer) and showed her the five pretty certification logos on your resume. We hadn’t seen so many logos on any candidate’s resume so far into the process and we already knew that we wanted you.
Me: Mission accomplished! (muttered to myself)
Now isn’t it something that would make you keep going for more and more of them? Not enough, eh? Then don’t forget about #1 and #2 and keep reading.
- Paycheck Booster
Who doesn’t like some extra money! Well I sure do and with a mere investment of $1000, I was able to move to a more satisfying role with a pay hike of close to 35%. It proved to be quite a worthwhile investment in terms of how MUCH I got to learn and the nature of rich dividends that it fetched me.
Here’s a snippet from the Denver Salesforce User Group salary survey that sheds more light on how valuable the certifications can be:
- Discipline Booster
Salesforce makes you stay up-to-date with their 3x per year releases via the maintenance exams. This obviously shouldn’t be a compelling reason for you to take the exam but is certainly a side-benefit of having passed one. If you are prone to procrastination or are in a consulting job profile, I believe this side-benefit can come in handy. One of the platform’s USP is innovation but the pace at which Salesforce does it, makes it challenging to keep up with all the released features during the year. Maintaining the certifications has been a boon for me since it didn’t only help me update myself with the latest releases but also greased the wheels for doing release-focused presentations for the stakeholders, product owners and end users.
Despite my sweet and bias for these certifications, I always tell interested folks to introspect and evaluate the potential benefits that these certifications hold for them. The cost versus expected ROI depends on a ton of parameters which you are the best judge of. If having these certifications doesn’t add much value to your job profile, doesn’t open up new opportunities and doesn’t add much to your existing knowledge base, then I’d rather not go for them. But if you are in agreement with all the points that I mentioned above, then don’t think twice and give an incredible boost to your Salesforce career.
Good luck and I hope you have them all. I wish you the best in 2016.