Salesforce Certifications: Why study them and are they worth it?

Salesforce Certification Logo
Salesforce Certified Professional Logo

Each year, Salesforce’s products expand. The number of certifications also increases. With so many certifications (~40) to choose from, the options can seem bewildering! 

Recently, a friend of mine, Adam Lawrence and I discussed certifications. This covered two themes:

  1. Why study them and are they worth it?
  2.  What resources are available?

This post looks at our thoughts on why you would study a Salesforce certification and whether it is ‘worth it’.  

Table of Contents

What Salesforce Certifications are available?

Salesforce helpfully categorises these into different roles & products. As of May 2021, these include:

Each area allows you to specialise in a product or skill. With the Salesforce’s portfolio growing, the options available are likely to increase. This provides more opportunities to enter or grow within the ecosystem.

Understand your Motivation

Light-bulb moment. Understand what motivates you

Whether you’re a seasoned pro, or starting up, studying for Salesforce certifications is a commitment. They require you to study topics, pass an exam and keep your knowledge up to date. The latter is important, as Salesforce has 3 major releases each year.  

For example, I passed my Salesforce Administrator exam in August 2011. My knowledge from then would be very outdated now! You need to keep up with changes in the platform.

Understand what motivates you. Why do you want to study a certification? When we discussed this, we thought of the following. 

Reasons to Study for a Salesforce Certification

This is far from exhaustive. However, understanding what motivates you is important. Learning is an investment in yourself. Whether it is self-fulfilment/drive (i.e. intrinsic) or a desire to obtain a reward or outcome (extrinsic), understanding your motivation is essential. It will help you keep yourself focused to achieve your desired goal. 

Tip: If you are unsure what motivates you, check out this short article on Extrinsic and Intrinsic motivation

Are Salesforce Certifications 'Worth it'? 'Blaze Your Trail'

Certifications can help shape your journey, but are not the end

When asking yourself if it is ‘worth it’, consider what you are seeking to achieve. Salesforce provides the means for everyone in the ecosystem to ‘blaze your trail‘. From our conversation, we realised that Certifications are one key part of this. Salesforce is a vast platform. This represents challenges for learning. 

Certifications shouldn’t be viewed as the ‘end’ of the journey. They help you find a path to follow and develop the skills needed to add value to your clients. As with any skill, the more you use and apply your knowledge, the more you’ll develop. 

In short, if you are seeking to develop a career in Salesforce, certifications are often worth pursuing. However, be sure to reflect on what you are learning and ensure it is helping you towards your goals. 

Tip: Reviewing reports such as the Mason Frank Salesforce Salary Survey can provide some interesting insights too. 

Don't forget to Practice

Remember, most Salesforce certifications (although there are a few notable exceptions!) are multi-choice exams. Learning solely theory to pass a multi-choice exam will not help in the long-run. You need to be able to apply that theory. 

Where possible, get ‘hands-on’ with Salesforce. Whether that be in real-world projects, Developer Edition Orgs or Trailhead Playgrounds, take every opportunity you can to try out what you are learning. Not only will it help with your certification goals, it’ll better equip you for working on a real project. 


There are many Certifications available within the Salesforce ecosystem. Before starting to study, consider your goal and motivations. If you decide studying for a certification is right for you, go for-it! Keep your goals in mind to help motivate you to your success. Also, be sure to apply what you are learning wherever possible. 

In the next post in this series, we’ll take a look at some of the resources available to help you study for a certification. 

Lastly, I would like to thank Adam Lawrence for his time in contributing to this post. 

Bonus Penguin Fact

 Greak Auk

The first bird to be called a “penguin” is the now extinct Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis), which isn’t actually related to penguins at all! Penguins were discovered later and were named as such owing to their close resemblance to the Great Auk.

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