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Administrator Certification Introduction
The baseline credential for any Admin. Showcase your knowledge on Salesforce features and best practice configuration.
The Salesforce Certified Administrator exam is regarded as the foundation level qualification for any Salesforce professional. It covers the core Salesforce CRM platform, including the Sales & Service Cloud products, as well as the Force.com platform that enables you to extend standard Salesforce functionality.
The exam will test your knowledge on:
- Organizational Setup
- User Setup
- Security & Access
- Standard & Custom Objects
- Sales & Marketing Applications
- Service & Support Applications
- Activity Management & Collaboration
- Data Management
- Analytics – Reports & Dashboards
- Workflow/Process Automation
- Desktop & Mobile Administration
Who's the Ideal Candidate?
For anyone looking to get into the world of Salesforce, the Certified Administrator exam is the best way to prove your knowledge on the core Salesforce platform. Once achieved, it will provide employers with the confidence that you understand how to administer, maintain, and extend the Salesforce platform using custom functionality on the Force.com platform.
The Admin exam is also a prerequisite for many other Salesforce exams, so it’s important to understand the basics, before progressing onto other certifications that are slightly more advanced.
Salesforce Exams are made up of different topics, comprised of different weightings for each. It’s important to pay attention to these, as just a few sections will most likely take up the majority of the exam, such as the key topics below (Totalling 54% which is 32/60 questions).
1. Standard & Custom Objects 14%
At its foundation, Salesforce is cloud based database that runs in a similar fashion to any other with tables (objects), fields, and links between tables to create a relational database. It is fundamental to understand how these interact with one another, and the difference between standard out of the box objects such as Accounts & Contacts, as well as custom objects that can be created to store custom tables of information.
2. Sales & Marketing Applications 14%
The Sales Cloud is Salesforce’s most popular product and is one of the core CRM products. It is used to store Account & Contact information, as well as progress deals through the sales cycle, from Lead, to Opportunity, to customer. The Sales Cloud has many standard features such as product management, quoting, forecasting, and campaign management.
3. Service & Support Applications 13%
Service Cloud is another of Salesforce’s most popular products, and is also a core CRM product. It is used for customer support teams to effectively process cases or tickets coming into the business. The Service Cloud has many standard features such as Email-to-Case, Case Assignment, Knowledge Base, and a Community (Portal) module.
4. Security & Access 13%
Security of a Salesforce Org is of the upmost importance to ensure no unauthorized access both internally and externally. For external security, this means understanding how passwords are managed, IP restrictions, and network settings. For internal security, this means understanding how user profiles, roles, and sharing settings work to restrict certain users from accessing records, or performing functions.
The Salesforce Certified Administrator exam might be daunting if you are just looking to get into the world of Salesforce, but once broken down into the individual sections, it’s a lot more manageable.
You should first get familiar with the official Salesforce Trailhead exam guide. This gives you a great outline of all the different concepts you need to be familiar with before you should take the exam. This can be used as your revision plan, print it out and stick it on your office wall, ticking each off section once you have fully understood each concept.
Revising for a Salesforce exam has never been easier with the introduction of Trailhead, Salesforce’s online learning platform. For each module on the exam, you will find a Trailhead Badge that this corresponds to, allowing you to learn about the feature, and test yourself by following the challenges and getting feedback in real time! As well as learning about the concepts on paper, you should ensure that you test these features in a Trailhead playground, learn their limitations, try and break them, and have fun with it!
Lastly, you should familiarise yourself with the exam structure. Salesforce exams are multiple choice, but follow a pattern giving you a choice of the right answer, incorrect answers, and an answer that could be correct, but is not best practice (To really test your skills!). The best way to familiarise yourself with these exams is by taking our mock exams, that have been carefully crafted to reflect the real exam.
When exam day finally hits, there are a bunch of tips we gathered over the years to give you the best chance of passing with flying colours.
Firstly, if there are any concepts that you are struggling to get to grips with, then print off a cheat sheet and try and memorize any of these before you take the exam so they are fresh in your memory.
When taking the exam, pay particular attention to the question, and read it through a few times. For the scenario-based questions there will be huge clues in the answer to what the correct answer actually is. If you need to, use the pen and paper provided to draw out a data schema, role hierarchy or any other diagram that will help you visualize the answer.
When deciding on the answer, be sure to use the process of elimination to get rid of the answers that are definitely incorrect. Salesforce likes to throw in answers that are made up of features or just plain incorrect. They also like to throw in curveballs, of features that appear to be correct but aren’t best practice. You can often worm out these by focussing on standard Salesforce features that accomplish a task. For example, you could build a custom approval process with process builder, but why do this when there is a standard feature that is best practice?
You also have a great tool at your disposal, the “Mark for review” feature. On each question, you will have a checkbox that you can mark. This is great if you cannot think of an answer right at that moment, or if you are doubtful about your answer. At the end of the exam, you will have a chance to review these questions. Depending on the amount selected, this will give you a pretty good idea of how likely you are to have passed the test. Regardless of the questions marked for review, I would always recommend to go through every question if time permits. I do this on every exam, and often spot mistakes I made in the answers and change a few.
The Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam is a qualification that all Salesforce professionals should hold. It is an expectation of nearly every employer and will give both you and them, the confidence that you know what you are talking about.
Once you have achieved this certification, it will open so many doors in your career, it’s just a matter of choosing the path you wish to go down! Check out our Salesforce Certifications infographic to see the different paths.