The most useful certifications for Salesforce Admins career path

Find out the correct order of obtaining Salesforce certification for you to become an advanced Salesforce admin, a consultant, a developer, an architect, etc.

Salesforce is the number 1 CRM for the sixth consecutive year from 2018 to 2023. According to Salesforce’s latest report, they are serving more than 150,000 customers every day. These companies are diverse from multiple backgrounds and scales; some of them are small businesses, and some of them are Fortune 500 companies.

As the demand for Salesforce ecosystem jobs continues to rise, it is anticipated that there will be more than 9.3 million Salesforce-related jobs by 2026.

Currently, Salesforce learners have various career paths to explore, including Administrator, Cloud, Service, Sales, Marketing, Analyst, CPQ, Architect, Developer, Designer, and more. These paths can be categorized into three main groups: functional, technical, and generalist. Among these paths, Salesforce Administrators account for 16.3%, while developers hold a market specialization share of 72.4%.

It means if you are a qualified Salesforce Administrator (Salesforce Admin), there will be more than 1.5 million jobs that you can apply for in the US market with an annual growth rate of up to 148%. That high number doesn’t include the open positions outside the U.S.

With the high demand increase, this article is intended for:

  • An advanced Salesforce Admin aiming to specialize their Salesforce career path, such as becoming a Salesforce Consultant, Cloud Consultant, Platform Developer, System Developer, Salesforce Admin, or Cybersecurity Consultant.
  • A Salesforce Administrator seeking additional certifications for their Salesforce skills.
  • A beginner with limited or no experience in Salesforce

This article is designed to help you learn Salesforce and identify the most important and most in demand Salesforce certifications for your Salesforce Admin career. It will also explain what you should do before, after, and how to become a Salesforce Admin.

In short, here are the most useful Salesforce certifications for Salesforce Administrators (Salesforce Admin) in various career paths. We recommend you read all the articles to get Salesforce certifications in the right order:


1. What is a Salesforce Administrator (Salesforce Admin)

Salesforce Administrator is a person who brings innovation to practice and works as a bridge between business requirements and technology.

As a specialist, the Admin automates complex business processes and creates reports and dashboards to make sure the Salesforce platform works for the company’s requirements.

As a team player, the Admin helps team members work more efficiently and stay up to date on the latest tools for Salesforce.


2. What recruiters are looking for

When it comes to the desirable skills for Salesforce Administrators, according to Trailhead, the top skills recruiters look for fall into 2 categories:

The % implies the percentage of recruiters looking for that specific skill in an Admin.

General skills:

  • Communication: 47.5%
  • Project Management: 36%
  • Business Analysis: 30%
  • Stakeholders’ engagement: 25%
  • End-User Enablement: 20%

Technical and specialized skills:

  • Salesforce Platform: 80%
  • Business Process: 60%
  • Data Management: 75%
  • Process Automation: 30%
  • Formulas & validations: 30%
  • System Configuration: 40%

Salesforce Admins typically require strong communication skills to motivate users for smoother work and better adaptation to the Salesforce platform. They should also possess analytical skills to understand and creatively address security and data-related issues, thereby minimizing the exposure to and resolving major concerns.


3. Salesforce learning journey; the certificates that Salesforce Admin should have

TechTarget states that 71% of Salesforce professionals have at least one certification (2020). Additionally, 39% of respondents mentioned that their salary increased after their skills were certified.

Salesforce has numerous courses, and for beginners, finding the right ones and determining the correct order to take can be challenging. To simplify this process for you, we have structured these certifications in the best order to learn and master Salesforce easily.

We highly recommend following the sequence below when taking any Salesforce certificates and courses.

All the courses recommended in the article will be taken on Trailhead – Salesforce’s free online learning platform. Salesforce designed this platform to offer interactive and hands-on learning experiences for students. It covers a wide range of topics related to Salesforce products and services.

For all Salesforce learners, Trailhead is a great kickstart to becoming a Salesforce professional in the future. And it’s mostly free of charge. Why not give it a try?

In Trailblazer, the more you learn, the higher rank you receive. Trailblazer Ranks showcase where you are in your Salesforce learning journey. You will get a suitable badge when you reach the requirements points. Visit Trailblazer ranks for more information.

Alright, let’s dive into the courses to go further in your Salesforce Admin career path.


3.1 Salesforce Certified Administrator (Salesforce Admin certification)

In the beginning, you should aim to become a Salesforce Certified Administrator. Some perceive it as the highest level of distinction a Salesforce Administrator may achieve; some believe that Salesforce Certified Administrator is just fundamental certification that Salesforce Admin should have.

This certification gives you broad knowledge of how to customize and configure Salesforce, manage user access and help your business get the most out of Salesforce. It provides you with a deep understanding of the Salesforce platform and a big leap in your insights into sales and customer relations.

The requirement to pass the exam is that you need to get 65% of the questions right, which means you must get 39 accurate answers out of 60. Normally, it takes six weeks on average to get Salesforce Admin certified if you spend 10 hours per week learning it.

Since this certification is vital, we will guide you on how to learn and get this certification.

Note: If you are an advanced Salesforce Admin or already have had this certification, you can skip this part and move to the next certification.

Phase 1: Self-study

You can start learning by visiting this full Trailmix build your Admin career on Salesforce course – an awesome platform that provides sound information and a learning system for starters. It includes the 5 main trails that you should accomplish:

  • Admin Beginner: You will learn the basics of customizing Salesforce.

Phase 2: Joining an instructor lead program (optional)

The Prepare for your Administrator Certification Exam (CRT101) will cost you 900USD for a 1-day training. It requires you to have an intermediate level of Salesforce skills.

This course will help you:

  • have a comprehensive understanding of the exam objectives and the weighting of the exam
  • find out where you should focus on to best prepare for the exam
  • approach the exam questions in the proper way
  • collect and reach the additional available resources to help prepare for the exam.

However, if you want to save your money, you can skip this one. Instead, take care to practice meticulously the exam questions via the sources below.

Phase 3: Practice before the exam:

Before jumping on the exam, here are some good places for you to do the mock test.

Note: If you still have a hard time with the mock tests and do not feel confident enough to appear for the exam, then you may want to consider visiting another Trailmix and completing any additional courses you haven’t taken yet

Phase 4: Exam:

When you are fully prepped, register for the Salesforce Certified Admin exam.

  • Fee: 200 USD
  • Time: 105 mins
  • Retake: 100 USD
  • The reference during the exam: no hard copies or online material can be used
  • Prerequisite: None.


3.2 Platform App Builder

After you get the Salesforce Admin certification, the next certification to obtain is Platform App Builder.

This certification is similar to the Salesforce Admin certification. Whilst the Salesforce Certified Admin certification concentrates on helping, taking care of, and shaping your Salesforce organization, the platform app builder certificate focuses on implementing custom applications and using the declarative customization capabilities of Salesforce.

The Platform App Builder certification is highly recommended as the next step. It equips you with the skills to build and customize custom applications on the Salesforce platform using clicks but not code. It serves as a solid foundation for your future development work.


3.3 Different certifications for different Admin career paths

Once you complete the two above certifications, it is time to choose the continuation path that suits you the best.

We like to distinguish three main paths:

  • a functional career path: Ideal for those aspiring to take on roles such as Admin or Consultant
  • a technical career path: Tailored for individuals interested in becoming a Salesforce developer, architect, cybersecurity specialist, solution engineer, integration specialist and more
  • a generalist career path: If you find that neither the technical nor functional career path aligns with your goals, this path is designed for you.


3.3.1 Functional career path – Admin advanced route

If you expect to update your knowledge in using the advanced administrator capabilities, designing advanced reports, and dashboards, customizing fields as well as automating processes, you can follow the Admin advanced route and take the Certified Advanced Administrator course.

Note: it is a prerequisite to have the Salesforce Certified Admin certification first.

3.3.2 Functional career path – Consultant route

This route will suit those who love to work on a short project, communicate with people, and provide clients advice with a strategic roadmap for future use rather than work too much on technical aspects (such as the Admin advanced route). You should learn this consulting course first before you continue further.

Once the consulting course is completed, you can follow up with some great certifications for the Admin Consultant by specialization:

The courses above will be a launching pad for you for the future also if you wish to continue various other paths, like that of Salesforce architect, Architect Level certification for example.

The order of salesforce certification that you should take – functional career path diagram


3.3.3 Technical career path

If you love to build apps (applications) or if you work with the Service or Marketing cloud, outside the ordinary cloud computing environment, this is a great opportunity for you.

The following are the next two certificates you should obtain:

  • Platform developer 1: This certification provides knowledge to leverage the Salesforce Lightning Platform’s programmatic capabilities to develop and deploy business logic and user interfaces (UIs).
  • JavaScript developer 1: This course will help you develop front-end or back-end JavaScript applications for the web stack.

The above two certificates give you the necessary information to become a developer. It is time to think about whether you want to be an advanced platform developer or if you want to go down the system and application path.

If you want to take the road of an advanced platform developer, continue to the platform developer 2 courses. This path will be tailored for those who wish to get extensive knowledge of the Salesforce platform’s programmatic capabilities and data modeling to construct, develop and deploy complicated business logic and interfaces.

If you want to become a system developer, take these two courses:

  • System Architect (first): This one will benefit those who like concentrating on developing off-platform systems, integrating systems, securing access between systems, and managing governance and testing capabilities.
  • Application Architect (second): This course offers you an intensive understanding of Salesforce’s native features and functionalities. You learn to optimize the role hierarchy, data model, and appropriate sharing mechanism.

The order of salesforce certification that you should take – technical career path diagram


3.3.4 Generalist career path

If you think that the technical or functional path might not be for you, then you can pursue the following path:

Salesforce Certified Administrator (Administrator) -> App Builder -> Advanced Administrator -> Sales Cloud -> Service Cloud

After completing the above ones, you can sharpen your competencies by also enrolling in one or more of the following courses. These certifications are fully optional.

With Admin orientation:

App Builder orientation:

  • Security Specialist: increases the security of data by setting permissions and tracking changes.

Billing Specialist orientation:

  • Billing Specialist: makes sure payment collections are accurate and configured correctly in the Revenue Cloud.

The order of salesforce certification that you should take – generalist career path diagram


4. Salesforce community

During your learning process, it’s great to be part of a Salesforce community, which is designed to help you learn, grow, and share experiences. Many times, people give up and lose all motivation to continue following their career path; this can be minimized if you have friends and communities to stand by your side and guide you on the right career path.

Consider exploring various trailblazer communities to find the one that aligns best with your interests and goals.


5. Conclusion

In a nutshell, there are the functional path, technical path, and generalist path available for a Salesforce Admin. It’s a good idea to get the Salesforce Certified Admin and App Builder Certifications before kicking off your journey as a Salesforce Professional.

Based on some personal tips, to enhance your learning process, we believe that one of the best ways to learn is to teach someone, sometimes you can be your teacher. You can create your own video podcast to capture your whole knowledge gain. This way helps you not only memorize things faster but also document your learning contents and understandings for future reference.

We hope that in this article, we have helped you find suitable certificates for your Salesforce learning journey. If you are interested in documents and collaboration on Salesforce, you should check out the following articles:

the sequence diagram of certifications to learn Salesforce

The sequence diagram of Salesforce certifications in your Salesforce career path


With the help of pre-defined workflows and built-in tasking, collaborative document creation, and customizable document automation capabilities, Documill helps Salesforce-powered enterprises to digitalize their core sales processes.

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