Best Salesforce Certifications for Beginners

Best Salesforce Certifications for Beginners

Salesforce is one of the most powerful business technologies on the market. But to meet the demand for its implementation in workplaces around the world, there needs to be a constant stream of skilled and qualified Salesforce professionals. There is ample opportunity for new professionals, but this doesn’t make learning Salesforce any easier.

Those entering the Salesforce ecosystem are often faced with the same questions when planning their learning journey:

“What should be my first Salesforce certification?”

“Which Salesforce skills are experiencing the highest demand?”

“Which Salesforce certifications open me to the highest earning potential?”

These are good questions. First of all, you need to know which learning path is right for you. You want a route into the technology that is rewarding and educational, but not so difficult that you are discouraged. Secondly, you need to know which specific skills or qualities are going to make it easy for you to get a job, and to earn top dollar in the process.

How do I get started in Salesforce?

Regardless of which Salesforce certification and career path you eventually embark upon, there are base Salesforce skills that will serve you well in your daily job role. You first have to learn the fundamentals of the platform before you commit one way or another, so it’s a good idea to pursue the Salesforce Admin certification before all others.

According to Mason Frank’s independent Salesforce report, around 70% of professionals are Admin-certified. A Salesforce Administrator is a brilliant job role in its own right — every Salesforce organization needs an Admin in some capacity. Those with their sights set on the most technical Salesforce roles often see the Salesforce Admin learning journey as an entry route into the technology, and rightly so!

Not only will learning to be a Salesforce Admin give you a practical route into the technology where the major concepts of Salesforce are explored, but working as a Salesforce Admin will give you the all-important experience required to understand the finer details of Salesforce. You may quickly learn that functionality in Salesforce is largely limited to point and click, that is unless you pursue a greater understanding of coding and using Apex, which will more than often lead to a more technical role under the Salesforce umbrella.

Salesforce Trailhead is always a great place to start, and the free Salesforce Admin Trailmix contains all the essential modules to prepare you for your certification exam. Salesforce also recommends the Administration Essentials for New Admins course for those looking for more detailed study materials, though this comes at a cost.

Where do I go from there?

Think of the Salesforce Admin certification as the foundation upon which you build your Salesforce career. From there you can go in several different directions. You may wish to pursue the Advanced Administrator Certification and become an expert in all things Salesforce Admin, or you could venture down a more refined career path — it really depends on what you’re interested in.

For example, if you have a background in web or application development, you may be more interested in becoming a Salesforce Developer. According to Mason Frank’s report, only around 23% of Salesforce professionals are Platform Developer 1-certified, which is surprising given that going from an admin to a developer is the clearest progression route in Salesforce.

If your background is in marketing, you may be more interested in becoming a Marketing Cloud platform specialist — only 6% of Salesforce pros are Marketing Cloud Email Specialist-certified, signaling massive opportunity for email marketers.

It isn’t only your eventual role that’s important, it’s the capacity in which you work. Would you prefer to work in-house at an organization using Salesforce as an end-user, or would you prefer to work for a partner or consultant, helping businesses around the world implement and upgrade Salesforce? As a Salesforce Admin, you’ll learn more about the application of the technology in a commercial environment, and the many industries serviced by Salesforce’s suite of business products.

Becoming a Salesforce Admin can act as a great pre-cursor to these professions by introducing you to all the fundamentals of the platform. You don’t even have to decide which path you eventually want to go down until you find yourself with the opportunity to choose; thanks to Trailhead you are always in control of your own learning journey.

Lay your foundations, build upon them

Salesforce is a very accessible technology for new people, but technical expertise is in high demand across virtually all roles underneath the Salesforce umbrella. Not to mention that Salesforce certifications are an important resumé item, and could help you stand out. With that in mind, give yourself every opportunity for a successful career in Salesforce by first gaining your Admin certification and going from there.

Identify what excites you about Salesforce, do more of that, and you’ll find a career in the technology will present itself to you quite naturally. Everything from that point is up to you!

I am a 24x Salesforce certified consultant. I am passionate about Salesforce, and I enjoy the friendly ecosystem that is filled with talented, intelligent professionals.
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2 thoughts on “Best Salesforce Certifications for Beginners

  1. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for the article.

    I have used Marketing Automation tools like Clickfunnels, Ontraport, Zapier. However, my goal is now to work for a Salesforce consulting partner as soon as possible. I have no experience with Pardot or Marketing Cloud.

    Which platform would you recommend that I tackle first? My question is primarily market demand for implementation consultants and how much of a learning curve it would take me to learn.

    Thanks for your feedback

    1. The two platforms have similar capabilities, but Marketing Cloud is much more complex. I find Pardot much easier to learn and adopt, but that also means there is less demand in the market. That is due to more people being qualified, as well as lower implementation costs. Those make salaries for Pardot consultants much lower on average than Marketing Cloud consultants.

      So my recommendation for long-term career growth is Marketing Cloud. The primary trick will be getting access to an org in order to gain hands-on experience. But once you get started, I think you can pick things up quickly thanks to your previous marketing automation experience.

      Best of luck in your journey! If I can be of assistance, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

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