Sunday, 23 August 2015

Certified Salesforce Platform Developer

Certified Salesforce Platform Developer

Screen Shot 2015 08 23 at 16 04 36

(As always with Certification blog posts, please don’t ask for answers or post actual questions in comments etc. Doing so breaches the test taker agreement and devalues the exam for everyone)

Introduction

As a Certified Salesforce Advanced Developer, I was offered the chance to participate in the Platform Developer II Certification in July 2015. Anyone who knows me knows I can’t resist a cert, so I jumped at the chance. 

As is the case for every beta I’ve taken part in, the beta is double the length of the regular exam both in terms of questions (120) and duration (4 hours). The basic premise is that you get more time so that you can give feedback on every question, although the fact that there are twice as many questions means that you have to be keep a close eye on the clock. Personally I take the view that its only worth providing feedback for questions that stand out, for both positive and negative reasons - saying that a question is fine doesn’t really add much or help the certification team.

Preparation

The Study Guides from the Salesforce Certification site give chapter and verse on what you need to skill up on for the exam. I focused on the Visualforce, Apex and Lightning Developer’s Guides, plus a refresher on the latest versions of the metadata and SOAP API. I made sure that I knew the order of execution like the back of my hand and the usual Apex best practice suspects of bulkification, the various aspects of unit tests and asynchronous mechanisms. I also paid special attention to oauth and the mobile SDK. 

The Exam

As always, the exam is proctored, either in person on on-line - I chose the on-line variant as I prefer to do exams from home. For the first time, I had the proctor interrupt the exam to ask me to reposition my camera, which took a few attempts and consumed some time, taking me past the four hours in the end.

What struck me about this exam compared to the original Advanced Developer certification was that it felt like I was reading  less code and evaluating more scenarios based on descriptions. That said, I wouldn’t read too much into this as it could be that the questions I received in the original exam were not overly representative but just happened to skew towards code.

Four hours is a long time to maintain focus, and the bonus of a beta exam is that you don’t receive the results immediately. Instead you have to wait a month or so until all the results and feedback have been assessed and collated. Its also difficult to call, as you don’t know which questions will make the final cut, so questions you found easy to get right might not count, whereas those that you struggled with may count against you.

Results

Obviously I passed or I wouldn’t be drawing attention to the experience with this post! As an existing Advanced Developer, passing Platform Developer II also confers Platform Developer I, so my certs count increases by two. Unfortunately, having achieved the new certs means I have to relinquish my Advanced Developer credential, so the net effect is a increase of one, taking me up to 9 x certified. As the number of certs increases its getting harder to catch them all, especially with the new Marketer credentials.

Final Thoughts

Four hours and 120 questions requires a considerable amount of effort, and wonder how useful the final hour or so actually is to the Salesforce Certification team, both in terms of the feedback (most questions will feel tough by then, due to fatigue if nothing else) and performance (I’d expect more incorrect answers towards the end, again due to fatigue). A better way to run these betas might be to break them up into two exams of two hours/60 questions. Beta candidates would still be required to answer all 120 questions, but not in one solid block. I suggested this as part of my exam feedback, so maybe something will come of this. 

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18 comments:

  1. Salesforce is like Microsoft now, endless certification and hard to maintain, same culture crawling in

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    1. well, salesforce makes money from customers, how is it going to make money from a developer? here it is my friend.

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  2. I dislike salesforce from now on

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  3. Hi,

    I am planning to go for Salesforce Platform Developer-I Certification and looking for some tips and study material. It would be really helpful to me. Thanks.

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  6. Bob - great info on a confusing topic. I find it disheartening that the confusion around the updated developer certifications is causing frustration, and that many don't understand that the recent surge in salesforce certification restructuring is a result of responding to input from customer, partners and other providers of services.

    I can only offer my perspective as an independent Certified Training Partner and MVP, holding both original dev certs attained before I began teaching for salesforce, so am taking the liberty to add here.

    As a Certified Instructor, I have taught all the dev classes DEV401, 501, 502, 531 (now ADM231) since 2011, and have lost count of the number of students I have helped work toward certification during that time. I too was involved in the upgrade process for developer certifications as one of many subject matter experts in the effort to shape the direction of the new certification track.

    What so many out in the ecosystem don't realize is that the reason for the significant effort is simply that it is and has been needed for quite some time, driven by the evolution in technology, the market, the products and the needs of customers and partners. Any restructuring in a technical certification program is likely to cause both frustration and confusion, but is necessary if certifications are to have true value. They must consistently match the roles and required skills and experience of individuals in the marketplace, and provide evidence of capabilities that customers can truly trust. The dev certs have not changed in their general nature since before my foray into salesforce as a developer and consultant in 2010. Yet the development landscape of the product has evolved and increased exponentially in complexity, and the roles and skill requirements of those providing support and services to customers have evolved and split across domains and products.

    The dev certification track was split accordingly to match, pre-requisites removed where deemed unnecessary, complexities removed where found inappropriate, and new content introduced where needed. My belief is that it is no different for any of the other tracks, and especially needed for the CTA. I encourage everyone to find and read other posts on the changes in the process, and encourage all to use the new certs that will challenge anyone in the eco-systems to identify their area of expertise and assert their skills and capabilities in the marketplace.

    Thanks for a great post; hopefully it will help those in the community come to understand the added value of the changes.

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  7. Any body could tell me from when the new salesforce platform certification 1,2 came. I think before it was only force.com developer right??

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    1. It came out of beta in time for Dreamforce. Before that you had Advanced Developer, now that has been split into two exams - Developer 1 and Developer 2. Force.com Developer has been replaced with App Builder.

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  8. Hi Bob,
    I am a certified 401 salesforce developer. After these new certifications got introduced I am pretty much confused how to proceed with my next certification. Professionally i would like to strengthen my skills in development. Which certification do you suggest? Platform developer or App builder?

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    1. You can transition from dev to app builder via a short exam. If you are focused on dev then you would go for the Platform Developer certs.

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    2. That was helpful. Thanks Bob..!!

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  9. Agree with Harshit. Salesforce is introducing 'n' number of Certifications and charging more every year with 100 dollars. It doesn't look fair on Salesforce.com

    @SFDC Team, definitely needs your revise on it. Else, developers won't prepare Certifications going forward, hence customers may not chose sfdc.

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  10. I am planning to Give salesforce certification platform developer I.

    Can any body help with some material or topic.

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  11. I am new to Salesforce. What should I give: App Builder or Platform Developer I. Please suggest.

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    1. I'd go with app builder first - its a good grounding to the declarative aspects of the platform.

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  12. Hi, I am currently attempting the Platform Dev 2 Assignment. There is a requirement for Save functionality of a VisualForce that "All saves should be transactional". Since the page has parent-children relationship and all the of these records are getting saved in a single click, I believe the "All saves should be transactional" should mean that errors in saving children should not roll back the parent save. Please let me know if my understanding is correct. Thanks

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