If you have completed the Salesforce Administrator Certification, you may wonder what to do next. One option is the ‘Advanced Administrator’ certification. Recently, a colleague of mine, Chris Sheppard, did just that. In this post, we share our experiences to help you gauge:
- The difference between Administrator and Advanced Administrator
- Exam format and structure
- Is the Advanced Administrator certification worth it?
- Resources and tips available to pass the exam
About the exam
The Advanced Administrator certification seeks to test:
Administrator vs Advanced Administrator
The Administrator and Advanced Administrator certifications differ in several ways:
- Experience: Candidates taking the Advanced Administrator Certification should be ‘experienced admins’. Hands-on experience is highly advisable. As a general guide, you will ideally have at least 1 to 2 years’ experience. You can take (and pass) the exam with less.
- Content: Arguably, the content of the Advanced Administrator is not as broad as Administrator. However, there are new topics to explore, as well as additional depth in others.
In short, Advanced Administrator is a natural progression from Administrator. It draws upon the experience and knowledge you gain from working on the platform, addressing more complex business challenges.
In the current release (Winter ’23), the exam consists of:
- 60 multi-choice questions
- 5 additional, non-scored questions
- 65% pass mark (39 out of 60)
- Duration: 105 minutes
- Closed book (no resources can be used)
- Exam is proctored. Taken at a test centre or online, via webcam
As with the Administrator exam, the Advanced Administrator consists of 7 sections with varying weightings:
Three sections account for 59% of the marks: Process Automation (20%), Security and Access (20%) and Objects and Applications (19%). Each section is heavily ‘scenario’ based. You will need to apply your understanding to particular business challenges. For example, the Administrator certification expects you to know the capabilities of automation tools. In Advanced Administrator you should understand how automation can be used in complex scenarios, any trade-offs and how to troubleshoot issues which arise.
The remaining 41% cover a variety of other topics. Whilst not as heavily weighted, they provide extremely valuable knowledge as a professional. For example, ‘Auditing and Monitoring’ is only 10%, but covers valuable areas such as debug logs and setup audit trail. Equally, ‘Environment Management and Deployment’ is 7%, but invaluable for real-world org management, as well as providing a useful background for other certifications.
Check out the ‘outline’ in the exam guide for more information. Pay attention to the command words. For example, the Administrator certification uses ‘Describe’ frequently. Advanced Administrator uses ‘Explain’, ‘Given a scenario’ and ‘Understand’ more often. This reflects the additional depth of knowledge expected.
The only official pre-requisite is that you hold an active Salesforce Administrator Certification. to give yourself the best chance of experience, hands-on experience is highly advisable.
Resources and Tips
Let’s now explore some resources and tips to help you pass the Advanced Administrator Exam.
Resources for the Advanced Administrator Exam
As with the Administrator exam, there are various resources available. However, there are slightly fewer options, particularly in relation to ‘free’ practice questions from Salesforce.
Check out these resources (in no particular order):
- Blogs (free/paid). Various blogs provide guidance on the Advanced Administrator certification
- Focus on Force (FOF) (Paid). Provides cost-effective study and exam guides.
- Online courses. There are various online courses for the certification. Check out platforms, such as Udemy and Pluralsight, etc to find the one which is right for you
- Salesforce: fewer resources available than for the administrator certification:
- Salesforce Certification Days (free). Free instructor-led webinars to help you prepare. Ideal for revision
- Salesforce Trailhead (free). Self-learning. Check out the Trailmix for hands-on preparation.
- Salesforce – Trailhead Academy (paid): Check out ADX211, ADX-211E and CRT211
- Training Programmes (paid). There are also third-parties who provide training. As always, be sure to do your homework and ensure the course matches your expectations
Tips for the exam
Here are some final tips to help you pass the exam.
It is not uncommon for people to say this exam is ‘easier’ than Administrator. That said, do not under-estimate it. There may be less breadth, but there is depth in certain areas. Hands-on experience is highly recommended. If you give yourself plenty of hands-on experience (ideally in real-world scenarios), it’ll make this exam much simpler.
Consider Platform App Builder
Taking the ‘Platform App Builder’ certification in-between Administrator and Advanced Administrator certifications can be helpful. Both Chris and I had done this and from our experiences, found this invaluable. This is because knowledge gained from Platform App Builder directly helped with concepts needed for Advanced Administrator.
As with most Salesforce multi-choice exams, there are certain techniques which can help:
- Read questions carefully. Treat scenario-based questions with care. As in the real-world, the context will determine what is the best fit for your use case
- Process of elimination. Identify the answers which are clearly ‘wrong’ and focus your efforts on remaining choices
- Mark questions for review. Unsure of an answer? Mark it for review and come back to it later. This helps you use your time wisely and pick up marks elsewhere, before revisiting trickier questions
Where possible, it is advisable to practice answering questions. This is where authoritative and accurate practice questions / answers can be helpful to fine-tune your technique. See resources for more information.
Pace yourself and don't give up
Unless you are experienced and familiar with the content, it is better to view the certification as a marathon than a sprint. Whilst it is possible to pass certifications quickly, remember that you are learning a skill. Give yourself time to learn, reflect and grow.
Most importantly, if things don’t go to plan, give yourself time, but don’t give up!
How do I register?
The exam currently costs $200 USD, with retakes costing a further $100 USD. This can be taken either at a test centre, or online. Refer to the exam guide for more information.
In this post, we’ve explored the Certified Advanced Administrator’s exam format, structure and pre-requisites. We have also looked at resources and tips to help you prepare. Hopefully, this will help you earn the credential!
A big thank you to Chris Sheppard for your contributions to this post!
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Until next time, thanks for reading! 🐧
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