Platform Developer I Resource Guide

The Salesforce Architect exams each come with a resource guide, which includes helpful links for each section of the exam. I have found those incredibly useful in my study. Resource guides don’t currently exist for the standard exams, so I have compiled content into a series of resource guides. This is the Platform Developer I resource guide.

The Platform Developer I certification focuses on your knowledge of development within the Salesforce platform. This includes Apex, Visualforce, and Lightning components. A background in MVC (model, view, controller) architecture is a huge benefit, but not required. You won’t be asked to write any code, but you will want to understand limits and best practices within the platform. For example, if you are shown a section of code that has a query within a FOR loop, you should know why that is a bad practice, and what potential issues you could see.

Understanding the Tests

As I mentioned in a previous post, understanding the intention and structure of the exams is key to passing. Salesforce provides a study guide for every certification test. In those guides, they provide a breakdown of the different sections and their relative weight. Take note of those while studying.


Topic Weighting # of Questions
Logic and Process Automation 46% 28
Data Modeling and Management 12% 7
Testing 12% 7
Salesforce Fundamentals 10% 6
User Interface 10% 6
Debug and Deployment Tools 10% 6


For this exam, you can see one section carries the majority of the weight. So that section is make-or-break for this certification. Under the ‘Logic and Process Automation’ section, the first 3 bullet points are:

  • Describe how to programmatically access and utilize the object schema.
  • Describe the capabilities and use cases for formula fields.
  • Describe the capabilities and use cases for roll-up summary fields.

Looking at those, you can see that you need to understand some general Salesforce functionality. Formula and roll-up summary fields are not development related, but need to be understood in order to accurately make recommendations and changes within Salesforce. If a roll-up summary field can be used instead of a trigger, you should recommend that. But in order to make that recommendation, you need to know the capabilities and limits of that field type.



  • Describe how to programmatically access and utilize the object schema.
  • Describe the capabilities and use cases for formula fields.
  • Describe the capabilities and use cases for roll-up summary fields.
  • Describe the capabilities of the declarative process automation features.
  • Describe when to use declarative automation features vs. Apex classes and triggers.
  • Describe how to declare variables and constants in Apex and how to assign values using expressions.
  • Describe the primitive and complex Apex data types and when to use them.
  • Describe how to use and apply Apex control flow statements.
  • Describe how to write and when to use Apex classes and interfaces.
  • Describe how to use basic SOSL, SOQL, and DML statements when working with objects in Apex.
  • Describe the basic patterns used in triggers and classes to process data efficiently.
  • Describe when to use and how to write triggers.
  • Describe the implications of governor limits on Apex transactions.
  • Describe the relationship between Apex transactions, the save order of execution, and the potential for recursion and/or cascading.
  • Describe how to implement exception handling in Apex.
  • Describe how to write Visualforce controllers.
  • Describe when and how to use standard Visualforce controllers vs. Apex custom controllers and controller extensions.
  • Describe the programmatic techniques to prevent security vulnerabilities in Apex and Visualforce.
  • Describe how Apex impacts the ability to make declarative changes.
    • Not a good article here, but the idea of this is that code = technical debt.
      • Failing Unit Tests in Production will block deployments.
      • Any API Name referenced in code (Object, Field, etc.) cannot be changed.
      • Triggers can interact poorly with Rollup Summary Fields, Formulas, Process Builder, etc. It doesn’t prevent you from making the changes, but it can cause issues, broken or unexpected results, etc.


  • Given a set of requirements, determine the appropriate data model.
  • Describe the capabilities of the various relationship types and the implications of each on record access, user interface (UI), and object-oriented programming.
  • Describe the impact of schema design and modifications on Apex Development.
  • Describe how to visualize and create entity relationships.
  • Describe the options for and considerations when importing and exporting data into development environments.





Ready for the Exam?

Book your exam now, even before you start studying. There’s no better way to drive you to study than booking your exam.

For the Platform Developer I exam, I highly recommend hands-on time working with code. Trailhead is indispensible for this. Not only will it prepare you for the exam, but it will set you up with valuable skills. When studying, pay attention to limits and numbers. When an article calls out a 50 query limit, take note to remember that. Those kinds of limits will likely appear in the exam somewhere.

If you have questions during your exam preparation, please feel free to reach out. I’ll do my best to respond with some help and guidance.

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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11 thoughts on “Platform Developer I Resource Guide

  1. Hi Chris,

    I am wondering if i should go through sub topics of the above resources, for example SQL has
    more than 10 sub- topics ? should i go through them as well ?

  2. Hi Chris,
    I was curious, did you pass on your first try Platform Developer I? Did you have coding experience prior?

    1. I did pass Platform Developer I on the first try, but I have failed plenty of other certs. I had just over a year of experience in Salesforce development, and about 5 years of general development experience when I took the exam. I recommend about 6-12 months working with Apex before attempting the exam.

  3. Hi Chris,

    First of all i would like to thank and let you know that i went through these documents along with Trailhead and pass it alhamdollah

    wish u a very great day 🙂

  4. Hi Chris,

    Very nice guide. I wish I had found this guide earlier. I have been working with sf for 2 years now and I’m going to take the exam in 2 weeks. I am not at all self-confident heheh. I have 0 problems in questions related with code but other theorical questions…I’m f***** I hope this guide could help me with that.

    Have a nice day

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