Salesforce Certifications, Your Career And Your Time

As the number of available Salesforce certifications isn’t slowing down anytime soon and new ones seem to show up every year, I wanted to provide some alternative suggestions to continue to grow your Salesforce career as it relates to your time.

Before I get thrown to the lions by the certification emperors, I understand these points:

  • Personal development and continuous learning is extremely important – Certifications (and Trailhead) are a way to grow and demonstrate your dedication to the Salesforce platform
  • Salesforce partners have specific certification quotas to meet to remain in good standing
  • It MAY lead to an internal promotion or a possible job opportunity WHEN comparing you to another individual that doesn’t have a specific certification
  • You’re starting a Salesforce career for the 1st time and a stepping stone is needed
  • You are looking to be a highly specialized consultant/expert in a specific technology (CPQ, SFMC, FSL, etc.)
  • You’re pursuing your CTA and the preliminary certifications are necessary to receive that accolade
  • You’re unemployed or in between projects and want to continue to level up to help occupy your time

Alternatively, these situations are also true:

  • Customers experience problems within their org created by Salesforce certified consultants
  • Certified candidates fail interviews due to lack of hands-on knowledge and understanding
  • The marketing that goes on stating certifications lead to job opportunities is significantly overstated
  • The ability to retain what you’ve learned/passed on your certifications exams drops considerably (as much as 80% after just a few days), unless you’re consistently revisiting the curriculum

Therefore, let’s explore alternatives that I believe have a significant positive impact on your Salesforce career progression, especially if you’re burned out on certification studies or not considered a great test taker, but still want to advance professionally:

  • Focusing on leadership by reading, studying, learning and taking continuous action on becoming a better leader.

“There are 5 nonnegotiable characteristics that every effective leader must have: A sense of calling, an ability to communicate, creativity in problem solving, generosity and consistency”. ~John Maxwell (Leadership Expert)

  • Maybe you don’t consider yourself (and don’t care to be) a leader and rather enjoy making a greater impact by individual contribution. Therefore, write more to share your experiences and knowledge with others. This can have a profound impact to be a better analytical thinker by transposing your thoughts to written communication as well as allowing others to see, hear and learn from you.
  • Mentor junior level talent by providing suggestions and opportunities to help them grow. Throw new ideas their way to improve, this will also help you work on your emotional labor by: connecting, interacting, helping, and caring.
  • Think of ideas and insights to help your customer (whether internal or external) do their jobs more effectively/efficiently. Write these ideas down daily, weekly, monthly and present them to the stakeholders and management team to get buy in. There’s always room for improvement within an organization and you can stand out by bringing these ideas up rather than waiting for customers to make all the suggestions.
  • Volunteer to lead up a new group internally. Maybe a monthly Lunch N Learn or happy hour, form a committee to create a quarterly newsletter, be a part of external college recruiting events, start up a monthly volunteer program. This shows a sense of internal pride in helping to unite employees together.

In conclusion, when it comes to allocating your time, remember certifications can be gained by most and it’s an individual accomplishment, but it’s your ability to lead, teach, help, provide ideas and solve interesting problems that will help set you apart. By thinking of how you can provide consistent value to others, your career will continue to take strides, along with a feeling of greater internal satisfaction.

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