Salesforce professionals will tell you the importance of obtaining and keeping certifications. Certifications demonstrate a set of skills and knowledge that are valuable to peers or potential employers. For an organization, the process of obtaining and maintaining certifications ensures that the holder understands best practices and is up to date with changes to the platform.
In short, a certification should demonstrate that the holder has a true grasp of the subject material. However, that is not always the case. The single-minded pursuit of certifications puts the focus on passing a test; often, the knowledge gained doesn’t translate into functional knowledge of the application – this is especially true for folks that are new to Salesforce.
While obtaining certifications is a priority or even mandatory for Salesforce professionals, it is equally, if not more important to ensure you take the time to really understand what you’re learning.
From my experience, I have picked up some tips to ensure that the process of obtaining certifications also prioritizes my understanding of the platform:
Understand the big picture:
- Where does the material covered in this certification fit within the myriad of functionalities available on the platform?
- Why is it important to know this information and how best can I apply what I learned?
- Translate the content. Turn what you’re studying into an actual experience with the platform’s functionality. Salesforce is great at providing accessible ways for users to experiment with the platform and gain hands-on experience.
- Take advantage of Trailhead. This should be the first place you start. Trailhead uses a hands-on approach to walk users through the content within the context of Salesforce best practices.
- Leverage your Developer Org. Dev Orgs provide a safe place to test knowledge and experiment with the platform; go down the “rabbit hole” and play with all of the tools that are available.
There is no better way to learn Salesforce than to experience it. As you pursue your certifications, prioritize the ability to translate your knowledge into a practical understanding of the platform.