Salesforce Data Architecture and Management Designer Certification – Tips & Resources

Earlier today I took the Data Architecture and Management Designer certification exam. Happily, I passed! In this post, I wish to share some tips and lessons learned for anyone seeking to study this certification. 

Table of Contents

About the Exam

The certification is one of four pre-requisites to earn the Application Architect certification. The exam covers various topics. These range from:

  • Strategies to design a robust and scalable data model
  • Data considerations (e.g. migrating data, improving data quality and working with large data volumes) 
  • Data Governance (e.g. compliance considerations)
In short, the content is helpful for anyone who defines data architecture or works with data in complex Salesforce environments… or anyone who just wishes to learn more!

Exam Guide

At the time of writing (Summer ’21 exam), the key facts for this exam are:

  • Candidate Profile: 2-3 years of Salesforce Experience with 5+ experience in supporting/implementing data-centric solutions (i.e. experienced on the platform and familiar with data management)
  • Exam Format: 60 multi-choice questions to be completed within 105 minutes. 
    • Completed either at an official test centre or remotely via online proctoring 
    • The exam is closed-book (no supporting resources/notes) 
  • Exam Price: $400 USD + taxes, with retakes charged at $200 + taxes 
The exam outline consists of 6 sections, with different weightings:


SectionWeighting (%)
Data Modelling / Database Design25%
Master Data Management5%
Salesforce Data Management25%
Data Governance10%
Large Data Volume Considerations20%
Data Migration15%

If you are considering studying for this certification, please refer to the official Exam Guide for more information.

Preparation and Resources

I previously wrote a couple of posts on: 

  1. Salesforce Certifications: Why study them and are they worth it?
  2. Salesforce Certifications: How to Prepare and Study for them
Having completed the Data Architecture and Management Designer certification, I would say it was definitely worth the effort. It allowed me to further my knowledge in areas that I knew well, whilst permitting me to explore areas I had less experience in, such as aspects of Master Data Management. 


As with all certifications, preparation is key. Whilst I had familiarity with a number of the topics prior to studying, I chose to be methodical. I prepared over a number of weeks. This allowed time to reflect and ensure knowledge retention. Regular knowledge checks were also helpful (see Resources below). 

notebook, typing, coffee-1850613.jpg


TIP: I would strongly recommend trying to practice what you can in a Developer Org/Trailhead Playground. 


The main resources I used in preparing for the certification are outlined below. These are not in any particular order:

  • Books: There are two books I found useful in preparing for this certification. Both books cover a number of key themes and provide practical guidance for real-world scenarios:
    • Becoming a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect by Tameem Bahri
    • Salesforce Architect’s Handbook: A Comprehensive End-to-End Solutions Guide by Dipanker Jyoti and James A Hutcherson


  • Focus on Force (FoF): FoF is always a favourite of mine as the resources are always clear and concise. Be sure to read the additional resources to get a deeper understanding.
    • I found both the Study Guide and Practice Questions helpful. Whilst there is a cost (both the Study Guide and Practice Questions have a small charge), the content has been carefully curated and kept up to date. The Study Guide adopts a scenario-based approach, allowing you to think of answers, before providing a solution. The Practice Questions are extensive, with detailed feedback provided for each question.
  • Trailhead (Exam Guide): When preparing for any Salesforce certification, always start with the Study Guide. It is important you understand what you are hoping to study and that it is the right cert for you!
  • Trailhead (Trailmix): The ‘Architect Journey: Data Architecture and Management‘ Trailmix contains a number of great resources. This also includes a number of links to broader Salesforce documentation/guides, which are helpful for the exam, and beyond 
These resources are of course not exhaustive. Be sure to find resources which work for you and suit your own learning styles. However, I hope you will find these useful!

Exam Tips

Having taken the exam earlier today, I would recommend the following for anyone planning to take it in future:

  • Focus: Pay attention to the weightings in the exam guide. Data Modelling/Database Design, Data Management and Large Data Volumes combined account for 70% of the exam
  • Prepare well: I found the exam more detailed than others to date. I would recommend preparing thoroughly to give yourself the best chance for success – particularly focusing in key areas
  • Read the questions very carefully. This advice is almost a cliché, but remains true. Some of the questions are very detailed. The exam will test your understanding and depth of knowledge. Please take your time and read things carefully
  • Timing: The exam lasts for 105 minutes. I found this was sufficient to give each question plenty of consideration. Pace yourself accordingly
In terms of content, questions were very scenario-based. You need to ensure you are familiar with the themes outlined in the exam guide. You will need a detailed understanding of when to apply various techniques and strategies, such as options for large data volumes (e.g. when to use data virtualisation strategies). 


This certification is great to study if you are an experienced practitioner, or keen to learn more about data management and architectural design. However, if planning to take the exam, I would recommend preparing carefully, identifying resources which will help you and pacing yourself. 

There are a lot of detailed, scenario-based questions which will test your knowledge. That said, don’t be nervous of the exam – the questions are detailed/scenario based, but fair. With proper preparation, the exam is certainly do-able!

Bonus Penguin Fact

In the last post, we learned about the ‘colossus penguin’,  Palaeeudyptes klekowskii. This penguin reached impressive sizes, being up to 2m tall and weighing as much as 115kg. However, you may be wondering why this and other prehistoric penguins became so large? 

Current research indicates that the increased size of penguins such as Palaeeudyptes was in response to the mass extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous (approx. 66 million years ago). Up until then, predators such as mosasaurs and plesiosaurs had dominated the oceans. A new ecological niche was left open, allowing penguins to evolve rapidly into efficient divers and swimmers. Several groups independently developed larger body sizes to take advantage of new food sources. 

if you wish to learn more, click here.

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