Filed under: Administration June 30, 2011

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A common question has been the benefits of becoming a Salesforce Certified Administrator and also possibly getting one of the Consultant Certifications. This article starts with the most common reasons and progresses to the less common ones.

Required to Become A Consultant

Most consulting firms will require the Administrator certification as well as the Sales Cloud or the Service Cloud Consultant certifications. Many firms are measured based on the number of certifications that their consultants have. Some will sponsor or train but there will be the expectation of becoming certified.

Being Considered For A Job

It is arguable that a certified person is more qualified than a uncertified person since there is more to any job than simply codified knowledge. However, certification does set a baseline of knowledge that the job applicant knew at one time. Salesforce’s certification exams also have a reputation as being difficult.

The certification is probably most valuable as a flag on a resume more than what it actually represents. Companies can receive an overwhelming number of resumes for every job posting. The current economy has many people looking for work. Job posting sites have made it very easy to find and respond to job postings in a few clicks.

Companies need a way to filter through all those resumes. The Human Resources Department is probably the first stop and reviewing the resumes has probably been delegated to the most junior HR analyst. It has become more common that a computer program is actually screening them. Neither the HR analyst or computer program is capable of evaluating the totality of a resume so they need a simple screening criteria. Identifying certifications is as easy as it gets. Most likely, once the initial screen is done, then the actual hiring manager will get to evaluate your entire resume or at least more of it.

Improving Your Current Job Outlook

Additional responsibility, promotions, pay raises, and similar job goals can depend on going the extra mile. However, before committing to getting certified, you should confirm that certification will actually lead to these goals.

As mentioned earlier, being certified does not necessary make you more qualified at your job. However, “signal value,” is the main goal. Certification takes effort in addition to your regular job responsibilities. Going this extra mile sends a signal to your supervisors that you are serious about your career.

Even if the company pays for a training class, only a rare company will pay for the additional studying time and exam fees. Those companies that do probably require you to pay for everything upfront and then reimburse you after successfully passing the exam.

Improving Yourself

There is something to be said for studying for the certification itself. The exam is not trivial and you should be truly interested in improving yourself. Otherwise, you are unlikely to actually pass the exam and will have wasted your half hearted efforts and not get any of the benefits mentioned above.

Also, there are subsequent maintenance exams and fees after you pass the main certification exam. Without true commitment, the certification will expire and any benefits will be temporary.

Finally, there is some pride and camaraderie amongst certified peers. It puts you in a separate class and there are congratulations in order when an exam is passed. It can additionally qualify you for groups such as the Salesforce Certified Professionals Group on LinkedIn.

Final Thoughts

This article mentions several benefits from becoming certified. They are mentioned in this particular order because most people (IMHO) are interested in the ones at the top.

However, to truly benefit, you should start with the last item first. Consider your true interest in Salesforce to see if it is worth the effort. Just as a sample gauge, I spent roughly 50 hours preparing for the Administrator exam although I was starting from scratch.

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