Salesforce Certification Program and its Cloud Focus

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

A very large number of organizations with substantial sales staff use Salesforce tools and even customized software built upon the Salesforce platform to give them a competitive edge. This makes Salesforce technical savvy incredibly valuable; enough so that Salesforce certifications can -- and will -- open doors and confer job opportunities upon IT professionals.

When people hear about Salesforce.com, they think primarily of the company’s well-known and highly regarded customer relationship management (CRM) product. But Salesforce is also very active in the general areas of software-as-a-service and social media for enterprises, which both implies and delivers a profound cloud-oriented set of services and capabilities.

Today, Salesforce’s offerings go well beyond CRM to include a battery of mobile apps, content and knowledge management and delivery, workflow, help desk and technical support operations, and -- as the old Popeil advertisements always used to proclaim "much, much more!" All of this goes a long way to explaining why many Salesforce client companies are using the company's platforms and services to create their own, highly-customized cloud-based environments (and even value-added services of their own atop the Salesforce mega-platform).

Salesforce Certifications

Salesforce certification interest and pursuit are exploding in the marketplace right now.

In turn, this rising tide of interest, adoption, and use explains not just why Salesforce now has a multi-faceted and –tiered certification program, but why its certifications are in ever-increasing demand. In fact, Salesforce offers four different sets of certification credentials by job function in the following areas:

  • Administrators: those who install, configure and maintain Salesforce and its applications can pursue a basic Administrator and Advanced Administrator credentials.
  • Implementation Experts: those who implement cloud-based solutions in customer facing roles can choose between Sales Cloud Consultant and Service Cloud Consultant credentials. On the Sales Cloud side, this covers designing solutions to meet business requirements, applications to boost user productivity, and manage data and design analytics to track metrics; on the Service Cloud side, this entails designing contact center solutions using cases, knowledge bases, and portals, creating interaction channels and interfaces to make contact agents effective, and also managing data and design analytics to track important metrics.
  • Developers: those who seek to build custom applications using the platforms ADE capabilities, to design data models, user interfaces, business logic and security for such applications, and to build reports, dashboards, and portals for those applications can pursue basic Developer and Advanced Developer credentials.
  • Architects: aims to identify technical system architects who can assess Salesforce customer architectures and environments, and design secure, high-performance technical solutions atop the Force.com platform. Such individuals must also be able to explain costs and tradeoffs inherent to specific potential solutions, and to design delivery frameworks and mechanisms to meet business needs. Architects usually manage solutions across the entire lifecycle, and guide design and implementation throughout.

All in all there’s quite a bit of technical heft to their program offerings, and a nicely elaborated certification ladder for those who seek to design or develop Salesforce applications, as well as to shepherd them through the development and implementation lifecycles. Salesforce exams cost $200 - $500 depending on credential level, and retake fees are a generous 50% of the first-take costs involved. This looks like an excellent set of cert offerings, with some real appeal in today’s IT marketplace.

To learn more about Salesforce certifications and to get started in the program, visit certification.salesforce.com.

Ed Tittel is a 30-year-plus veteran of the , who’s worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written and blogged for numerous publications, including Tom's Hardware, and is the author of over 140 computing books with a special emphasis on information security, Web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.

Check out Ed's Tom's IT Pro blog Making It in IT - Certification & Training.

See here for all of Ed's Tom's IT Pro articles.

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