What in the heck is Salesforce? I asked myself that very same question when I was introduced to it. I was convinced to study and learn its features and get certified to be able to find a high quality job in a booming market with lots of opportunity. Even after being told what Salesforce could be used for, and who it was used by, I still did not completely understand. Luckily, there is a plethora of resources available at little to no cost online that can help your understand the CONCEPT, the FEATURES, and PREPARE for getting the certification to be job ready in the Salesforce job market.
Before I get to the compiled list of studying materials that are helping me succeed in preparing for the certification tests, I want to go over how I personally came to grasp the CONCEPT of Salesforce and what I was getting into. For me, to learn something, I need to understand why it is used before how it is used – to see the whole picture. Imagine an office, everything is in folders, filing cabinets, word documents, and locally stored. Now imagine if ALL of those pesky filing cabinets and flash drives were migrated to a cloud service where they could be accessed just about anywhere from almost any device?
It boils down to this in the spectrum of things, Salesforce is intended to make things ACCESSIBLE, EASY TO ACCESS, and provide SCALABILITY for your company. No more storage rooms for more filing cabinets or increasing your local storage network. These are just the basic fundamentals I needed to understand before starting, Salesforce obviously goes much deeper than that and can do a lot more than what you learn from these 2 certification tests.
Now that we understand why a company would want to switch to Salesforce, here is how to study and prepare for the certification tests that will prepare you to land a job out of the gate. The list will be compromised of both ADM 201 / DEV 401 material because the 401 test is basically 70% ADM 201 material with the rest being actual DEV material, so why not study for both? Everybody learns in different ways so I will provide a comprehensive list of videos, books, study material, and learning courses and programs.
Certifiedondemand – A condensed version of the official Salesforce ADM 201 study guide that is constantly updated and goes through each area of study listed on the test. The lessons comprise of compiled videos, small quizzes, and exercises. One of the highest rated sites to learn ADM 201. The first half of the material is free, and to ungate the second half there is a one time fee of 40$, which is not a lot compared to an official salesforce class. The layout can be a little wonky but once you get through that the material is very very good.
Administration 101 – This video is great. I suggest watching this first and then going back and watching it again at a later date after you have learned a bit. It was recorded at a Salesforce expo and goes over a few basic scenarios of using Salesforce in daily work and is great to learn the basic concepts and then see them be put into action right away.
Permission Sets Overview – Another video recorded at Dreamforce, goes over permission sets in a few different scenarios and the speakers are very good at walking through them and clearly going over the material.
Data Visibility Overview – This playlist of videos goes over security and how to design your visibility structure for users. Which is important in both 201 and 401. I highly recommend watching this entire video set. If you need to go back and go over a certain part the videos are conveniently divided into different sections.
Salesforce Essentials for Administrators – An eBook that goes over the basic building blocks of Salesforce which will help you understand administration in the scope of things. I have the 2011 edition and I still find it very helpful. The updated version will remove a few outdated errors and provides great exercises and instruction.
Creating a Recruiting App – Highly recommended. This official Salesforce guide goes through all the basics of creating an app and touches on just about every angle of development and all the points of learning you would need to take the test. Combining this guide alone with self study and learning some ADM 201 will prepare you enough to take the test.
Flash Cards for Study – The terms and questions on these cards can be found word for word in the guide listed above. Do a portion of the guide, go back and memorize 10-20 cards at a time and repeat. You will find that going back over the flash cards after doing some of the exercise will help you memorize the terms very quickly. Remember, you’re preparing for a test and while the questions may be a little different. Memorizing a few answers whether you completely understand them or not never hurt anyone in passing a test.
With these tools plus a little self exploration for study material you should be able to have enough to prepare for either ADM 201 or DEV 401 and start your path to becoming successful in Salesforce. Good luck!