The Journey to Admin: Tips for Becoming Salesforce Certified

Jenna Trott

5 min read | MAY 17, 2023


Salesforce has once again been recognized as the world’s #1 CRM for the 10th consecutive year, solidifying its position as the leading cloud-based CRM platform. As more and more businesses adopt Salesforce, the demand for skilled Salesforce professionals is skyrocketing, making the role of Salesforce admins increasingly critical. With over 79,000 Salesforce employees worldwide and a projected 9.3 million new jobs set to be created by 2026, there has never been a better time to pursue a career in Salesforce. In this blog post, we’ll be exploring the role of Salesforce admins, delving into what it entails, and sharing our top tips for becoming certified. So if you’re looking to take your career to the next level in the dynamic world of Salesforce, keep reading!

What is a Salesforce Administrator?

Before we get started, let’s review what exactly a Salesforce Administrator is and what they do. Administrators, known affectionately within the Salesforce community as #AwesomeAdmins, are responsible for managing and maintaining the day-to-day operations of a Salesforce org. This can include tasks such as creating and managing users, setting up security and access permissions, creating and customizing objects and fields, configuring workflows and process automation, and generating reports and dashboards. In essence, a Salesforce admin acts as a critical bridge between the business and the technical aspects of the Salesforce platform, ensuring that the system is optimized to meet the organization’s unique needs.

Getting Started

Embarking on any new journey can be daunting but especially so when faced with numerous uncertainties. However, the world of Salesforce offers a reassuring advantage: an abundance of accessible resources and comprehensive guides that help to demystify the unknown. With just a laptop, tablet, or cellphone and a reliable internet connection, you can begin to carve out your path toward obtaining a Salesforce certification. In this guide, we’ll break down key things to note about the preparation and process for earning your Salesforce Admin Certification.

Who can take the Salesforce Administrator exam?

The Salesforce Administrator certification exam is open to anyone who’s interested in validating their knowledge and skills in Salesforce administration. So whether you are an aspiring Salesforce administrator, an existing administrator looking to enhance your expertise, or a professional from a different field seeking to transition into Salesforce administration, you’d be eligible to take this certification exam. It’s designed to assess your proficiency in various areas of Salesforce administration and validate your ability to manage and customize Salesforce orgs effectively. It is recommended by Salesforce that candidates have 6 or more months of experience performing typical Salesforce Administrator objectives prior to sitting for the exam.

What can I expect?
  • Prerequisite Knowledge: None; though course attendance is highly recommended.
  • Exam Content: 60 multiple-choice/multiple-select questions and 5 non-scored questions
  • Time Allotment: 105 minutes
  • Passing Score: 65%
  • Registration Fee: $200 USD
  • Fees for Repeating Exam: $100 USD
  • Delivery options: Proctored exam delivered onsite at approved testing centers or in an online proctored environment. Click here for more information.
  • References: No hard copy/online materials can be used as references during the exam.
What topics does the exam cover?

Configuration & Setup: 20%

  • The ability to describe information found in the company settings (ex: company settings fiscal year, business hours, currency management, default settings, etc).
  • Have a clear understanding of the declarative configuration of the User Interface, distinguishing its administration aspects (ex: managing UI settings, app menu, list views, global actions, and utilizing the Lightning App Builder to customize the user experience).
  • Showcase your competence by effectively setting up and maintaining users in accordance with given scenarios (ex: creating user accounts, assigning appropriate roles, and managing user permissions).
  • Be able to understand and explain the various organization Security Controls (ex: Setup Audit Trail, Login Hours, Session Settings).
  • Demonstrate your proficiency by applying the appropriate security controls based on user request scenarios and the features of the Salesforce sharing model (ex: public groups, org-wide default, sharing: roles, subordinates, hierarchy, report, and dashboard folders).
  • Given a scenario, determine the appropriate use of a custom profile or permission set using the various profile settings and permissions.

Object Manager and Lightning App Builder: 20%

  • Provide an overview of the architecture of standard objects and the relationship model, including parent/child relationships, master detail/lookup/junction relationships, and the usage of record types.
  • Explain how to create, delete, and customize fields and page layouts for both standard and custom objects. Understand the implications of deleting fields to maintain data integrity.
  • When presented with a specific scenario, demonstrate the ability to create and assign page layouts, record types, and business processes for both custom and standard objects, ensuring effective organization and streamlined workflows.

Sales and Marketing Applications: 12%

  • Analyze a given scenario to recognize the capabilities and implications of the sales process (ex: sales process, opportunity, path, and forecast impact).
  • Implement the relevant sales productivity features based on a specific scenario, utilizing opportunity tools (ex: dashboards, lead scoring, Einstein opportunity scoring, and leveraging the home page assistant to enhance sales efficiency).
  • Explain the capabilities of lead automation tools and campaign management, highlighting functionalities like lead management, lead conversion, lead assignment rules, and managing campaigns and campaign members.

Service & Support Applications: 11%

  • Explain the functionalities offered by case management (ex: case creation, case assignment rules, and case queues).
  • Demonstrate the process of automating case management by leveraging features like support processes, case auto-response rules, and case escalation in a given scenario.

Productivity & Collaboration: 7%

  • Outline the functionalities and capabilities of activity management.
  • Highlight the key features and functions provided by Chatter.
  • Describe the capabilities and features offered by the Salesforce Mobile App.
  • Identify various use cases and scenarios for AppExchange applications.

Data & Analytics Management: 14%

  • Discuss the factors to consider when importing, updating, transferring, mass deleting, exporting, and backing up data.
  • Explain the functionalities and implications of data validation tools.
  • Describe the available choices for creating or customizing reports and report types.
  • Discuss the influence of the sharing model on reports.
  • Describe the various options for creating and modifying dashboards, including dashboard components, data sources, chart types, Subscribing, and specifying the running user.

Workflow/Process Automation: 16%

  • Determine the suitable automation solution based on the capabilities of the tool, considering a given scenario.
  • Describe the functionalities and potential use cases for Flow.
  • Disuss the capabilities and potential use cases for the approval process.
Salesforce Admin Certification FAQ

We all know that preparing for an exam is one thing, but actually taking it is an entirely different experience. Even when you feel fully prepared, unexpected surprises may arise. Access Global Group had the opportunity to interview one of our awesome interns who recently took (and passed!) the Salesforce Administrator Certification exam to see what her experience was like and to offer insight into her perspective on the exam.

How long did you study for?
It took me a total of 4 months since first being exposed to Salesforce to feel prepared for the exam.

Did you find that you needed any Salesforce admin experience before becoming certified? What experience did you need before getting your certification if you didn’t?
Salesforce doesn’t require work experience to become certified, so simply becoming familiar with CRM platforms can prepare you for your exam.

What resources helped you to become more prepared?

I used the following:

Which trailheads did you complete in preparation?
Prepare for Your Salesforce Administrator Credential – Trailmix by Salesforce Trailhead

What would you say helped you the most?
TRAILHEAD! It’s not only free but makes studying fun!

What was something you wish you had known before starting the certification process?
You don’t need to have an IT background to become a Salesforce Administrator; it truly is open to everyone.

What was your biggest challenge?
Managing Multiple Orgs.

What are your top tips for success?
Trailhead! Trailhead! Trailhead! Be committed but remember to have fun along the way!

How has your certification helped you understand Salesforce more?

A Salesforce certification gives you an in-depth understanding of the platform and also increases your insight into sales and customer relations in general. In fact, as you delve deeper into the platform, you will discover various tools that you wouldn’t have before, despite your expertise and years of practice!

Taking the Exam

As the day of the exam draws nearer, it’s normal to feel that all too familiar tinge of nervousness (and even self-doubt). But try not to stress – easier said than done, we know! Before taking the exam, take a moment to review any challenging concepts so that they’re fresh in your mind. Having a pen and paper handy can be beneficial for drawing diagrams or visualizing solutions and when faced with multiple-choice questions, pay attention to the question context and use the process of elimination if needed. Try to stay calm and take a deep breath; remember that if you don’t pass on your first try it’s not a failure – only an opportunity to learn more and try again!

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