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Upskilling in Salesforce during isolation: What is the right cert for me, how long will it take, and how much does it cost?

By Hemi Sabharwal
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The current global situation has left us with a lot more time on our hands that we are trying to fill. A great way to keep yourself both productive and marketable is to use that time to gain new certifications. Certifications not only help you stand out from the crowd during potential interview processes, but also increase your value within your existing company. And with Salesforce projected to further tighten its hold as the worlds #1 CRM, it’s a good industry to upskill yourself in and improve your technical knowledge.

In this article, I will offer market insight into what Salesforce certifications are most in demand, how much they will cost, and how long it will take to complete:

 

Salesforce currently offers 23 certifications, aimed at the various roles or tracks within the ecosystem:

  • Administrators
  • App builders
  • Developers
  • Architects
  • Specialists (implementation experts)
  • Marketers
  • Pardot experts
  • Consultants

 

Reskilling from another industry, or just begun your salesforce journey?

It’s advisable to get certified in either the Administrator or Developer track to start (Usually Certified Salesforce Administrator or Platform Developer I). The tasks of a Salesforce Administrator include helping users develop reports and reset passwords, maintaining data quality, adding fields, running backups, and many other administration tasks that are crucial to the software's smooth and seamless performance. Salesforce Developers design, code, test, implement Salesforce applications, and maintain them.

 

What certifications are most in demand?

While working on the Salesforce ecosystem in Europe, certain certifications are in high demand. Due to the competitive nature of the market and the ever-increasing importance placed on certifications, either Admin I or Platform Developer I are almost essential.

Further to that, there has been a peak in demand for Marketing cloud professionals, CPQ Specialists, and most recently, Pardot Specialists. Of course, these certifications require investment of both time and money, and before choosing to pursue these certs, you must first consider that the demand for these certifications will likely mean that you will be working on that specific technology exclusively for the near future.

 

Figure 1: Architect certifications form a pyramid, with Salesforce Architect Specialization certifications creating the foundation. These are the designer credentials, as well as a few other closely aligned Salesforce certifications.

 

How much time should I set aside to study?

The amount of time needed to study for an exam depends on your level of experience on the platform. For example, an administrator who has been working on salesforce for 6-12 months would need to do very little study for the Admin I certification. Someone with no experience would need to dedicate 100+ hours before completion. Less fundamental certifications such as a Pardot Consultant would require only 15-20 hours of preparation, but the average time required is roughly 30-50 hours. You can find more information here.

 

How much does it cost?

Salesforce certifications cost money, and some cost significantly more than others. The cost of taking an examination to become certified ranges from €200 to €400 depending on certification – with one exception of the CTA exam, which costs €6,000. However, you will likely need to pay to attend in-person or online courses to help you to prepare. These courses can vary widely in cost from free courses to thousands of euro depending on course and reputation.

 

Is it worth it?

This depends on your role, where you see yourself in 1-2 years, and how technical you want to be. For example, if you are an admin in a company with 30 licenses and you can see yourself staying there for a long time, it would not be worth the time or money to attempt a system architect exam.

However, if you are working in a consultancy, being certified in your specialist area is essential. In uncertain times, the more certifications a consultant has will make them more marketable to clients. Salesforce has made it mandatory for consultants in platinum partners to be certified in their specialist area.

 

I hope this helped in determining whether gaining a certification would be beneficial for you.

If you are searching for a new Salesforce opportunity under any circumstance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via email here. As a specialist Salesforce recruitment consultant, I work closely with organisations across Europe to support them in their talent search and may have an opportunity that matches your ideal role. 

 

Author
Hemi Sabharwal
Head of Salesforce Recruitment Practice