If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA), this post will help you understand how the new certification path works, and what you can do to make it happen. If you’re a Salesforce expert and want to specialise in a certain area, Salesforce now has 6 new designer certifications and 1 new consultant certification for you to choose from. If you are just entering the Salesforce world, this post may also help you understand the foundations of Salesforce and how you can gain more knowledge about the platform.
Salesforce World Tour recently came to Sydney and some of our technical consultants attended The New CTA Journey Hands-on Workshop held by Salesforce University. The session was run by Amit Malik, Delivery Manager of Salesforce, along with 2 Certified Technical Architect guests who were also from Salesforce.
If you want to become a Salesforce CTA, you can start by following the below pyramid:
There are 7 mandatory certifications (4 on each side, with 1 in common) to achieve before you are qualified to attend the review board for CTA, which is run by Salesforce experts through a presentation (solution design based on the scenario provided on the day) + QA setup.
Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer
1 – Salesforce Certified Identity and Access Management Designer
2 – Salesforce Certified Integration Architecture Designer
3 – Salesforce Certified Data Architecture and Management Designer
4 – Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer
5 – Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I
6 – Salesforce Certified App Builder
These 7 certifications require no prerequisites, which means you can choose whatever you are strongest at or interested in to start with.
From looking at the pyramid, we can also notice that there are actually 2 stages of qualifications. Before becoming a fully certified technical architect, one can first achieve 2 domain architect certifications: Certified Application Architect, and Certified System Architect.
These 2 certifications are offered upon completion of the required prerequisites and do not need additional exam.
After passing these exams:
1– Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer
2 – Salesforce Certified Identity and Access Management Designer
3 – Salesforce Certified Integration Architecture Designer
4 – Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I
Salesforce will grant you the Certified System Architect certification automatically.
After passing these exams:
1 – Salesforce Certified Data Architecture and Management Designer
2 – Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer
3 – Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I
4 – Salesforce Certified App Builder
Salesforce will grant you the Certified Application Architect certification automatically.
After getting the above 2 domain architect certifications, you are only one step away from the ultimate certification.
To be fully prepared for the final review board, knowledge of 2 optional certifications are recommended:
1 – Salesforce Certified Community Cloud Consultant
2 – Salesforce Certified Mobile Solutions Architecture Designer
By achieving the total 7+2 certifications, you will prepare yourself for the challenge from the review board and also acquire valuable knowledge to deal with your daily jobs along the way.
Salesforce recently published 9 free ebooks to help you go through The Salesforce Architect Journey.
If you still have questions about this new journey, I have listed some notes from the Question & Answer session of the workshop below. The answers were giving by CTAs from Salesforce, who were system/solution architects before switching to Salesforce and received their certification while working at Salesforce.
Q: How much time should I expect to completed the CTA journey?
A: It will take a good 2-3 years.
Q: How much time did you spend before going for the review board?
A: 4 months of study, 2 hours a day (5 days a week).
Q: How do I prepare for the review board.
A: The review board will provide you with a 50-100 page scenario and a white board. You are asked to analysis the scenario and present your solution to the review board within several hours. After the presentation, there will be a QA session. (During the presentation, no question will be asked, you will keep talking yourself). You should expect the members of the review board to be more knowledgeable than you in Salesforce. For the question you get, try to provide short & clear answers.
What I have done before the review board is complete at least 10 times of the mock review board practice so that I feel comfortable on the actual day and know what to expect and what to do, because reading such long scenario and giving a presentation in such a short time is unusual.
Q: Do we have mock review board to attend/recordings to watch?
A: Now – No. Future – Maybe.
Q: Can I become a CTA by passing all the certifications but without architect experience?
A: No. Salesforce wants to recognize great experience and not devalue the certification.
Q: I am so busy with my daily job, how can I prepare?
A: Identifying your weakness during the day then study at night and try to apply new knowledge acquired the next day. Try to work on different projects and start thinking like an architect and act like an architect.
Q: I don’t know how to program in Apex, can I become a CTA?
A: If you are not interested in coding, that is fine. Not every Salesforce specialist is expected to become a CTA. We need people with all sorts of techniques and people of all levels. If you do not want to be a master of Salesforce everything, you can still work on a single certification, for example, the Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer and become an expert for this field.