Saturday 24 April 2021

Book Review - Becoming a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect

 (Disclaimer : I didn’t purchase my copy of this book - I was sent a copy to review by Packt Publishing)


Salesforce describes Certified Technical architects as follows:

Salesforce Technical Architects serve as executive-level strategic advisors who focus on business transformation with unrivaled domain expertise in functional, platform and integration architecture. They communicate technical solutions and design tradeoffs effectively to business stakeholders, and provide a delivery framework that ensures quality and success.

Based on that description, it's not surprising that there's a huge amount of interest in becoming one. The path isn't straightforward though, with an awful lot of candidates falling at the last hurdle - the review board. This isn't a new development - in the 12 months after I qualified I heard about two week review board events where all 20 candidates failed.  While that's obviously bad for the candidates, it's also not great for the judges - failing people isn't a fun job, and when you have to do it repeatedly the sessions become a chore. 

One reason people fail is that they haven't got experience of presenting a solution and being judged on it. That has improved with community efforts to come up with example scenarios and run practice review boards. While this is good experience for the day of the board, it's not overly helpful in terms of preparation. And that is where this book comes in.

The Book for When You Book

This is the book you want to buy when you are about to book your review board slot.  It won't turn you into a Technical Architect - you still need the experience and learning - but it will get you ready for the board. First off, it looks at what expertise you need to become CTA - if you don't recognise yourself here and spot gaps, maybe hold off for a little while. It then takes you through the structure of the review board session and gives some useful tactics for how to approach it.

Then there are a bunch of chapters around the various areas that you need to shine at in order to pass the board, with mini-scenarios that are worked through with you. Rather than reading straight through, I'd strongly advice having a go yourself and then compare your solution with the exemplar.If you have a different view, that doesn't mean you are wrong, just make sure you can justify it and your justification stacks up - it's highly likely that you'll be quizzed about the benefits of your approach over the other possible solutions.

The book then finishes off with a couple of full mock scenarios, with example solutions and presentation artefacts and script. Again, look to make the most of this by trying it yourself under exam conditions.

Allow Enough Time

I'm already a CTA so I didn't have to take on each of the scenarios and mocks, but it still took me a couple of months to read through the book in my free time and review it. Don't expect to skim this the night before the board, or to rip through it the weekend before. Set aside enough time to work through it properly and you'll reap the benefit.

The Key Advice

The most important piece of advice in the book, which crops up multiple times, is to own your solution. You've considered all the options and have come up with the best possible solution, so be proud of it when you present, and defend it with everything you have. 

In Summary

You can boost your chances of becoming a CTA with this book. It's as simple as that. Tameem Bahri has done a great job with it.

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