How to Become a Certified Salesforce Administrator

certified salesforce administrator
Taking the time to become a Certified Salesforce Administrator can be well worth the effort, but how do you do it? What does it take? Does log your hours “in app”? Do you have to go to a special summer camp for a few weeks? Not exactly. Marcelo Keppy from Heller Consulting was recently certified as a Salesforce Administrator so I asked him about the process, and what it means for him.

Bryan Giese: What is your actual certification? Are you a Salesforce Administrator or a Developer?
Marcelo Keppy: I am a Certified Salesforce Administrator

BG: The Salesforce Certification site says you are trained to “configure and manage Sales and Service Cloud applications and suggest ways for your company to get even more from additional features and capabilities.” That sounds like a lot. How long did it take to learn all that?
MK: I’ve been working on Salesforce for a while but the class I took was a focused 1-week class, Monday – Friday, 8am-5pm. Apart from that, there are a plethora of resources online that not only prepare you for the certification exam, but are also there to teach you more about Salesforce. There’s also a study guide that has every single item that may be asked during the exam.

Following the study guide along with the other materials (eBooks, blogs, youtube videos, etc., will prepare you for the exam. In my case, since Heller Consulting is a Salesforce Partner, I also had the partner portal available to me that had more information.

BG: Are there shortcuts or longer paths?
MK: I don’t think so. You can study on your own for the exam without attending the class, but that might be a long shot for some. I attended the class over one week and the following week I took the exam.

BG: How much did it cost?
MK: It was $4,250 for the 1-week class, but I believe there are discounts depending on partnerships or promotions.

BG: That’s quite an investment. Did it teach you new things or did it just put community recognizable labels on the things you already knew?
MK: Both. I’ve been working with Salesforce since 2010 and what I knew was mostly self-taught or learned from other Certified Administrators I work with. Some of the items covered in class were things I knew, but it helped to see them from the learning side. It is like you already know something but you don’t really understand how you got there, sort of thing.

There were a ton of new things I had never seen as well. The work that I do is mostly with the data management and through the backend of the Salesforce platform and the certification class focuses on the front-end experience of the application. Nonetheless, there were quite a few new things I wished I had known before.

BG: Did you work alone, or with a group of people?
MK: The class was a group of about a dozen people. We worked individually on some exercises, but toward the end of the class we did a couple of group activities I also took advantage of the Heller team and all they know.

BG: Did you participate in a community along the way?
MK: I do follow a couple of blogs and read articles here and there, but I haven’t been active in an online group beyond coworkers.

BG: Were there any resources that you used to learn along the way to get certified?
MK: Yes, Salesforce Help, the Partner Portal, YouTube videos, the study guide, and class materials all were great tools and resources. There is a lot of information that is publicly available.

BG: How will it help your job and career, if at all?
MK: It helps me understand the intricacies of the Salesforce platform, so when we get prepared for a database migration we know exactly how and what type of configurations and settings to adjust. It also helps with troubleshooting. There are a lot of concepts I’ve been using all along but without a full understanding of them. Now I understand how the parts connect together. For instance, one simple example is if I get a specific error message, I know where to look for the details I need to resolve it. Publicly contributed forums don’t always give all the details you need.

BG: Did not having the certification limit you in any way?
MK: For my database migration work, not really. The certification is good to have though. If forces you to keep up with the new releases and updates. Once you pass the exam, each quarter Salesforce releases a new upgrade and there is an exam associated with the new release. Failing to pass the exam will void your certification, so you have to keep up to date. The release exam is online and you can take it at your leisure as long as you do it before the deadline. The certification exam that I just took, is not online, you need to go to a testing center to take the exam.

BG: Did it change the way you look at the Salesforce platform?
MK: A bit. The class really helped me understand the Salesforce platform a lot deeper and really see its true potential.

BG: Would you recommend getting certified to other people?
MK: I would, especially for those looking for jobs doing any work with the Salesforce platform. It shows you know the details of how to work within the platform effectively.

BG: What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going through the process?
MK: I would highly recommend taking the class, especially in a classroom. Online classes are okay but in my opinion you miss the interaction among people in the classroom. The class does offer a lot, and the resources available supplement what’s covered in class.

I would also suggest doing everything within a short time frame. I took the class one week and the exam the following week. I know of people who took the class and waited too long to take the exam, weeks, even months, and they forgot a lot of what they learned.

I would also say that it is very helpful to have previous knowledge of Saleforce when taking the class. Some folks in the classroom had never been exposed with Salesforce and we could see how much harder it was for them. Get a free developer account and play with it.

BG: Did you get a medal or trophy?
MK: No, nothing like that. I can put the Certified Saleforce Administrator logo in my email signature, though!

Click here to get more information on the Salesforce Certification process.

Do you have any tips or suggestions for people who want to get certified as a Salesforce Administrator or Developer? Leave them in the comments below.

About Bryan Giese

For the past 20 years Bryan has focused on one goal: Create experiences that establish a relationship. Whether working on application and web interface design, health education portal program experiences, or direct mail relationship marketing, he designs a full experience that brings people in, makes them feel welcome, and let’s them interact with a program for a long-term relationship. He has worked in every step of the process from creative design and development, to strategy mapping and content creation, optimizing each component to contribute to the full vision.


  1. Here’s a link to more information about courses available for Salesforce Certification.

  2. Congrats on becoming certified Marcelo! I like the advice you give on taking an actual class where you have to be in a classroom for the week. With so many resources available online it is easy to get distracted and lose focus when studying. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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