Certified Salesforce Platform Developer
(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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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