Salesforce is a vast system with many features. Despite this, it is often not the only system in a business. This means we often need to integrate. Sounds simple, right? On the surface it is, but there are many things to consider. For example, what options are available to integrate with Salesforce? How do we do this securely, whilst ensuring performance? What about scalability? Why do we need to maintain an integration and how we monitor it? If these questions are of interest, the Integration Architect certification is right for you!
Earlier this weekend, I took and cleared the Integration Architect certification. In this post, I’ll share my experiences of the certification to help you gauge:
- Why do I need to know about integration?
- Who is the exam for?
- Exam format and structure?
- Resources and tips available to pass the exam.
- Is the Integration Architect certification worth it?
Why should I learn about integration?
Before we look at the certification, let’s answer an important question. Why should you invest time in learning about integrations? The short answer is it will probably help in projects and your career.
Depending on circumstances, often Salesforce does not exist in isolation from other business applications. Eventually, there will almost certainly be a need to connect Salesforce with another system. There are various reasons for this, including:
About the Exam
As per the Integration Architect exam guide, the exam format in the Spring ’23 release is:
- 60 multi-choice/multi-select questions.
- Pass mark: 67% (40 out of 60).
- 105 minutes long.
- Closed book (online or onsite proctored).
The exam structure takes you through the end-to-end process of building integrations in Salesforce. Content ranges from understanding the existing landscape, requirements analysis, design, build, testing, and ongoing maintenance.
Three sections account for 73% of the marks: Design Integration Solutions (28%) Build Solution (23%) and Translate Needs into Integration Requirements (22%). That said, it would not be wise to ignore the other sections. For example, as with other architect level exams, questions are very scenario driven. There are also crossovers between sections. For example, I found it important to review ‘constraints’ in the exams from differing perspectives, which linked the content together.
Check out the ‘exam outline’ in the exam guide for additional information.
Per the exam guide, there are no prerequisites for this certification. However, I would recommend studying ‘Platform Developer I’ before this exam. This will provide useful background to the content you will learn to prepare for this certification. More on this below.
Resources and Tips
Let’s now look at some resources, and tips to help you prepare for the certification.
Resources for the Integration Architect Exam
There are three resources that I used to prepare for this certification:
- Salesforce Architect’s Handbook: A Comprehensive End-to-End Solutions Guide. This is a brilliant book for anyone seeking to study Salesforce architecture. Chapter 6 on Integration Architecture was helpful for this exam.
- Focus on Force (FoF): Study guide and practice exams. The FoF study guide breaks the content down into key take-home points. The practice exams provide detailed feedback on the questions which are invaluable in preparing for the exam.
- Architect Journey: Integration Architecture Trailmix: This is the official Trailmix provided by Salesforce. It covers an array of topics for the exam. Various modules are hands on, allowing some practical experience.
For me, all three resources played a role in helping me prepare.
Tips for the Exam
Here are some final tips to help you prepare for the exam.
If you do not have a lot of experience with integrations, be prepared to spend a reasonable amount of time studying for this exam. Despite working in the Salesforce ecosystem for ~12.5 years, there were many topics I have not explored in-depth before. This provided me a great opportunity to expand my knowledge, but also meant I had to commit. For example, you will want to know certain topics such as OAuth authorisation flows and integration patterns thoroughly.
Hands-on practice makes perfect.
Depending on your background, getting hands on may be a good idea. For example, the Platform API Basics module provides a high-level overview of tools such as Postman and SoapUI. This helps to bring to life topics such as Bulk API 2.0 and what is meant by HTTP methods such as POST, PUT and PATCH, etc.
Prepare for some long questions.
Some questions in this exam can be long. Be prepared to use your time wisely and make the most of the ‘shorter’ questions. On average, you have ~1.75 minutes to answer each question. For the longer questions, strategies such as reading the answers first can help. By doing so, you can identify the pertinent information from the question itself more easily.
FoF’s Practice Exams were very helpful in preparing for this exam. Go through as many questions as possible. Pay particular attention to the supporting articles and screenshots. Think through the questions and scenarios carefully; it will help you with the actual exam and, of course, real-world scenarios!
Don’t give up!
If things don’t work out the first time, do not give up! For example, on my first attempt, I tried for this exam too soon. It also didn’t help that I attempted the exam late at the end of a working day (unless you are a night owl, not recommended)! In that attempt, I fell just short. However, it allowed me to identify gaps in my knowledge, refocus, and then comfortably pass the next time.
Is the Integration Architect certification worth it?
For me, yes, absolutely. Studying for this certification taught me so much; topics and themes I may have not learned otherwise. Whilst it was challenging and required commitment, I feel more able to have an informed opinion about integrations and the pros/cons of the various options available.
However, if you are new in your Salesforce journey, I would not recommend this certification to start off with. There are probably other certifications which may be worth studying first, such as Platform Developer I.
Regardless, if you are reading this and planning to study this in the future, or already started, I hope you find the topic as eye-opening as I have.
How do I register?
In this post, we’ve walked through the Certified Integration Architect’s format, structure, and pre-requisites. I’ve also covered several resources and tips which I hope will help you prepare for this exam.
Until next time, thanks for reading!
Bonus Penguin Fact
Penguins come in all shapes and sizes. However, some historic penguins would dwarf the penguins of today! Recently, two new species of giant penguin have been found in New Zealand. These date back ~50 million years. One species, Kumimanu fordycei, is believed to have weighed as much as 150 kilograms! This would mean it was heavier than a Giant Panda! Click here for more information.
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