The most useful certifications for Salesforce Admins career path

Huong Nguyen · July 07, 2022 · 8 mins

Salesforce is the number 1 CRM for the fifth consecutive year from 2018 to 2022. According to Salesforce’s latest report, they are serving more than 150,000 customers every day. These companies are diverse from multiple backgrounds and scales; some of them are small businesses, and some of them are Fortune 500 companies.

With the demand increase for Salesforce ecosystem jobs, it is anticipated that there will be more than 3.3 million Salesforce-related jobs by 2022, and 9.3 million jobs by 2026.

Currently, there are many career paths for a Salesforce learner such as Administrator, Cloud, Service, Sales, Marketing, Analyst, CPQ, Architect, and Designer… that can be grouped into 3 different categories: functional, technical, and generalist career path. Of these career paths, Salesforce Administrators occupy 16.3% and developers take 72.4% market specialization share.

It means if you are a qualified Salesforce Administrator (Salesforce Admin), there will be more than 538,000 jobs that you can apply for in the US market with an annual growth rate of up to 400%. That such a high number doesn’t include the open positions outside the U.S.

This article will be for:

    • An advanced Salesforce Admin who expects to step forward on the Salesforce career path, such as becoming a Salesforce Consultant, Cloud Consultant, Platform Developer, System Developer…
    • A Salesforce Administrator who wants to get different certificates for their Salesforce skills.
    • A beginner who has limited or no experience with Salesforce.

This article is designed to help you learn Salesforce and identify the most important and most in demand Salesforce certifications for your Salesforce Admin career. It will also explain what you should do before and after becoming a Salesforce Admin.

In short, here are the most useful Salesforce certifications for Salesforce Administrators (Salesforce Admin) in various career paths. We recommended you read all the articles to get Salesforce certifications in the right order:


1. What is a Salesforce Administrator (Salesforce Admin)

Salesforce Administrator is a person who brings innovation to practice and works as a bridge between business requirements and technology.

As a specialist, the Admin automates complex business processes and creates reports and dashboards to make sure the Salesforce platform works for the company’s requirements.

As a team player, the Admin helps team members work more efficiently and stay up to date on the latest tools for Salesforce.


2. What recruiters are looking for

When it comes to the desirable skills for Salesforce Administrators, according to Trailhead, the top skills recruiters look for fall into 2 categories:

The % implies the percentage of recruiters looking for that specific skill in an Admin.

General skills:

      • Communication: 47.5%
      • Project Management: 36%
      • Business Analysis: 30%
      • Stakeholders’ engagement: 25%
      • End-User Enablement: 20%

Technical and specialized skills:

      • Salesforce Platform: 80%
      • Business Process: 60%
      • Data Management: 75%
      • Process Automation: 30%
      • Formulas & validations: 30%
      • System Configuration: 40%

Salesforce Admins usually need good communication skills to motivate the users to work smoothly and adapt better to the Salesforce platform. They should also be able to analyze data and understand security issues in a creative and open-minded manner to reduce and solve major issues.


3. Salesforce learning journey; the certificates that Salesforce Admin should have

TechTarget states that 71% of Salesforce professionals have at least one certification (2020). Additionally, 39% of respondents mentioned that their salary increased after their skills were certified (2018).

Salesforce has numerous courses, and it may be difficult for beginners to find the right courses and the correct order to take them. That is why we have structured these certifications in the best order for you to learn and master Salesforce easily. We highly recommend that you take these Salesforce certificates and courses in the sequence below.


3.1 Salesforce Certified Administrator (Salesforce Admin certification)

In the beginning, you should aim to become a Salesforce Certified Administrator. Some perceive it as the highest level of distinction a Salesforce Administrator may achieve; some believe that Salesforce Certified Administrator is just fundamental certification that Salesforce Admin should have. This certification gives you broad knowledge of how to customize and configure Salesforce, manage user access and help your business get the most out of Salesforce. It provides you with a deep understanding of the Salesforce platform and a big leap in your insights into sales and customer relations.

The requirement to pass the exam is that you need to get 65% of the questions right, which means you must get 39 accurate answers out of 60. Normally, it takes six weeks on average to get Salesforce Admin certified if you spend 10 hours per week learning it.

Since this certification is vital, we will guide you on how to learn and get this certification.

Note: If you are an advanced Salesforce Admin or already have had this certification, you can skip this part and move to the next certification.

Phase 1: Self-study

You can start learning by visiting this full Trailmix build your Admin career on Salesforce course – an awesome platform that provides sound information and a learning system for starters. It includes the 5 main trails that you should accomplish:

Phase 2: Joining an instructor lead program (optional)

The Prepare for your Administrator Certification Exam (CRT101) will cost you 900USD for a 1-day training. It requires you to have an intermediate level of Salesforce skills.

This course will help you:

    • have a comprehensive understanding of the exam objectives and the weighting of the exam
    • find out where you should focus on to best prepare for the exam
    • approach the exam questions in the proper way
    • collect and reach the additional available resources to help prepare for the exam.

However, if you want to save your money, you can skip this one. Instead, take care to practice meticulously the exam questions via the sources below.

Phase 3:  Practice before the exam:

Before jumping on the exam, here are some good places for you to do the mock test.

Note: If you still have a hard time with the mock tests and do not feel confident enough to appear for the exam, then you may want to visit the Trailmix by Salesforce Trailhead – Prepare for Your Salesforce Administrator Credentials.

Phase 4: Exam:

When you are fully prepped, register for the Salesforce Certified Admin exam.

    • Fee: 200 USD
    • Time: 105 mins
    • Retake: 100 USD
    • The reference during the exam: no hard copies or online material can be used
    • Prerequisite: None.


3.2 Platform App Builder

After you get the Salesforce Admin certification, the next certification to obtain is Platform App Builder.

This certification is similar to the Salesforce Admin certification. Whilst the Salesforce Certified Admin certification concentrates on helping, taking care of, and shaping your Salesforce organization, the platform app builder certificate focuses on implementing custom applications and using the declarative customization capabilities of Salesforce.

The Platform App Builder certification is highly recommended in the next step. It will help you build and customize your custom application on the Salesforce platform using clicks but not code. It is a great foundation for your development work in the future.

3.3 Different certifications for different Admin career paths

Once you complete the two above certifications, it is time to choose the continuation path that suits you the best.

We like to distinguish three main paths:

    • a functional career path: You are headed for an Admin or Consultant role
    • a technical career path: This one is for those who want to be a Salesforce developer, architect…
    • a generalist career path: If you think the technical or functional career path is not tailored for you, this path will be yours.

3.3.1 Functional career path – Admin advanced route

If you expect to update your knowledge in using the advanced administrator capabilities, designing advanced reports, and dashboards, customizing fields as well as automating processes, you can follow the Admin advanced route and take the Certified Advanced Administrator course.

Note: it is a prerequisite to have the Salesforce Certified Admin certification first.

3.3.2 Functional career path – Consultant route

This route will suit those who love to work on a short project, communicate with people, and provide clients advice with a strategic roadmap for future use rather than work too much on technical aspects (such as the Admin advanced route). You should learn this consulting course first before you continue further.

Once the consulting course is completed, you can follow up with some great certifications for the Admin Consultant by specialization:

The courses above will be a launching pad for you for the future also if you wish to continue various other paths, like that of Salesforce architect, Architect Level certification for example.

Infographic of learning and getting Salesforce certification - suitable for business people

The order of salesforce certification that you should take – functional career path diagram


3.3.3 Technical career path

If you love to build apps (applications) or if you work with the Service or Marketing cloud, outside the ordinary cloud computing environment, this is a great opportunity for you.

The following are the next two certificates you should obtain:

    • Platform developer 1: This certification provides knowledge to leverage the Salesforce Lightning Platform’s programmatic capabilities to develop and deploy business logic and user interfaces (UIs).
    • JavaScript developer 1: This course will help you develop front-end or back-end JavaScript applications for the web stack.

The above two certificates give you the necessary information to become a developer. It is time to think about whether you want to be an advanced platform developer or if you want to go down the system and application path.

If you want to take the road of an advanced platform developer, continue to the platform developer 2 courses. This path will be tailored for those who wish to get extensive knowledge of the Salesforce platform’s programmatic capabilities and data modeling to construct, develop and deploy complicated business logic and interfaces.

If you want to become a system developer, take these two courses:

    • System Architect (first): This one will benefit those who like concentrating on developing off-platform systems, integrating systems, securing access between systems, and managing governance and testing capabilities.
    • Application Architect (second): This course offers you an intensive understanding of Salesforce’s native features and functionalities. You learn to optimize the role hierarchy, data model, and appropriate sharing mechanism.

Infographic of learning and getting Salesforce certification - suitable for technical people

The order of salesforce certification that you should take – technical career path diagram


3.3.4  Generalist career path

If you think that the technical or functional path might not be for you, then you can pursue the following path:

Salesforce Certified Administrator (Administrator)  -> App Builder -> Advanced Administrator -> Sales Cloud -> Service Cloud

After completing the above ones,  you can sharpen your competencies by also enrolling in one or more of the following courses. These certifications are fully optional.

With Admin orientation:

App Builder orientation:

Billing Specialist orientation:

    • Billing Specialist:  makes sure payment collections are accurate and configured correctly in the Revenue Cloud.
    • Advanced Billing Specialist: demonstrates your expertise in advanced billing processes, invoice generation, and CPQ management.

Infographic of learning and getting Salesforce certification - suitable for all people

The order of salesforce certification that you should take – generalist career path diagram


4. Conclusion

In a nutshell, there are the functional path, technical path, and generalist path available for a Salesforce Admin. It’s a good idea to get the Salesforce Certified Admin and App Builder Certifications before kicking off your journey as a Salesforce Professional.

Based on some personal tips, to enhance your learning process, we believe that one of the best ways to learn is to teach someone, sometimes you can be your teacher. You can create your own video podcast to capture your whole knowledge gain. This way helps you not only memorize things faster but also document your learning contents and understandings for future reference.

We hope that in this article, we have helped you find suitable certificates for your Salesforce learning journey. If you are interested in documents and collaboration on Salesforce, you should check out the following articles:

Infographic of the order of learning and getting Salesforce certifications

The sequence diagram of Salesforce certifications in your Salesforce career path


With the help of pre-defined workflows and built-in tasking, collaborative document creation, and customizable document automation capabilities, Documill helps Salesforce-powered enterprises to digitalize their core sales processes.


Huong Nguyen

Written by

Huong Nguyen

Huong is a Marketing Specialist at Documill. She recently joined Documill with the personal goal of mastering the back end of marketing: keywords, data, integrations, and automation. Huong is now working with the analytics and advertising aspects of marketing.

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