Preparing for Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Exam

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There’s a reason that “big data” is a term that has gained so much popularity in the last few years. Our world creates a mind-boggling amount of data every day. People skilled at the manipulation and storage of that data are treasured by corporations around the globe looking to use that data to streamline their offerings and use their data to increase their bottom line. People with these skills are paid handsomely, fought over by head-hunters, and enjoy their pick of opportunities in the world.

One of the ways you can show the world that you are among those most skilled at managing data is to obtain certifications that show off your skills. The Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification signifies that you are experienced and capable of working with companies as a Salesforce developer to construct custom solutions for their data management needs. This Salesforce certification will showcase your ability to design and build custom applications, reports, and dashboards, for use across the various platforms that you can find Salesforce.

As a Salesforce developer, you’re trying to decide if you’re ready to take the leap and write the Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Exam, and this guide will help you discover if you’re ready, and ensure that you have a solid understanding of what to expect from the exam itself.

Am I Ready for the Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Exam?

Having experience working with Salesforce, and designing custom applications and solutions working with various datasets will ensure that you have a head start when preparing for your certification exam. As with most exams, it is always worthwhile to take some time to practice and review your skills, and for that, I recommend using the Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Practice Tests on Udemy. If you’ve already had enough experience to be confident you can pass the test, these tests will give your confidence the stamp of approval, and let you enter the Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Exam with the level of confidence you’ll need to ensure that you pass with flying colors.

If you have a lot of experience working with other data manipulation programs, your skills will be transferrable to the Salesforce platform. However, it is still worth it to take the time to practice with the Salesforce environment itself before attempting the practice tests. It is often demoralizing for people who attempt to do something too quickly, and I want you to succeed. If you have the time, even as an experienced developer on other platforms, take the Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Course on Udemy. You may find that you already have a strong understanding of a lot of the material, however, you’ll save time in your learning process being shown the quirks of Salesforce, rather than having to discover them by chance.

In general, an individual obtaining their Salesforce Platform App Builder certification has spent at least six months to a year learning about, working with, and designing custom content for the Salesforce platform. If you don’t believe you have that kind of experience under your belt already, you can start learning today with the Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Course on Udemy. This course will get you up to speed on all of the advanced concepts required for certification, as well as get you building apps for the Salesforce platform fast. Once you’ve completed the course and practiced your skills, move on to the Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Practice Tests. You’ll know you’re ready to try for certification once you’re confident in your ability to pass those practice tests!

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What Should I Know About the Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Exam?

The Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Exam consists of 60 multiple choice questions which you will have 105 minutes to answer. You must obtain a score of 63% to obtain your certification, and the exam can be taken either at a supervised testing center or in an online testing environment. The registration fee for the Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Exam is USD 200.00, and should you need to retake the exam, each additional attempt will be USD 100.00. Remember, you won’t be able to bring any reference materials into the exam and you must ensure you are entirely prepared before beginning.

It is highly recommended that you take a Salesforce developer course before attempting the exam. If you have enough experience you may pass regardless, but the confidence that you will obtain from having completed the course will help ensure that you will not panic during the exam, and you will not be taken by surprise by the content on which you are tested.

The material on the test itself will cover nine different subjects related to Salesforce App Development. Each of these sections will be relevant to a different aspect of Salesforce app development, and in the end, will provide a detailed picture of your ability as a Salesforce developer.

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Salesforce Fundamentals

This section of the exam makes up 8% of the total questions. You will be tested on your knowledge of how Salesforce objects behave and can be manipulated within the Salesforce environment. You will also be expected to understand how to modify the Salesforce environment, through the use of apps from the AppExchange, or through the development of custom tools, to accomplish a variety of hypothetical tasks.

You will be ready for this section of the exam when you can:

  • Describe the standard Salesforce object, and how they can be manipulated within Salesforce;
  • Propose the optimal solution to a novel problem, either through obtaining additional functionality by obtaining an App from the AppExchange or through the development of a new in-house tool; and
  • Determine the benefits that the various solutions available on the AppExchange, and how you would apply them to your organization to accomplish a task.

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Data Modeling and Management

Another 20% of the exam focuses on data modeling and management. You will be required to know how best to analyze a variety of different datasets. Understand the relationships between different types of objects and data, and the impact these relationships can have on the functionality of Salesforce. Lastly, you’ll need to understand how modifying the structure of your data, or how it is stored, can affect the different aspects of the Salesforce program.

After you have completely prepared for this section of the exam, you’ll be able to:

  • Assign the correct data model given a hypothetical scenario;
  • Describe different data relationship types, and how they affect access to, and reporting of the dataset;
  • Understand the cascade of changes that will occur when you change the data type of a field;
  • Propose the ideal field type depending on the set of conditions provided;
  • Understand the schema builder and what it is capable of;
  • Decide between the various options for importing or exporting your data, and when to use each; and
  • Know when it is best to rely on external objects.

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Security

At 10% of the exam, security is an important aspect of being a certified Salesforce app developer. This is not an app made solely for entertainment, that if compromised will result in little more than the shunning of the developer. These are enterprise solutions that companies rely on to protect their data and the data of their clients. Should the security measures set in place by a Salesforce app developer fail and the data they were safeguarding become compromised, it is entirely possible that the company be penalized financially, and that rarely works out well for the developer.

This portion of the exam has you describing the various features available to control access to the data contained in your model. You will also be given scenarios with varying conditions, and you will have to determine the appropriate solutions for sharing the data among the required users.

You’ll be prepared for this section of the exam when you can:

  • Identify and describe how Salesforce can restrict and allow access to objects, records, and fields; and
  • Determine how best to share data with your users.

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Business Logic and Process Automation

This is the largest section of the exam at 27% and represents what I believe to be the bulk of what it is to be a Salesforce App Developer. It is in this section that you will demonstrate your knowledge of Salesforce, as well as your knowledge of data manipulation. This section is designed to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the various record types, formulas, rules, and processes available within Salesforce.

Consider yourself prepared for this section of the exam, when you can:

  • Provide uses for, and the capabilities of record types;
  • Indicated when and how you could use formula fields;
  • Show your understanding of summary fields, how they relate to roll-up preparation, and when to use them;
  • Identify when and how to properly make use of validation rules;
  • Implement approval processes if necessary, and understand how these processes function and vary from one another;
  • Describe when and how you would use Flow, workflow rules, and the Process Builder; and
  • Explain how updates to various fields through your automation may affect different aspects of your dataset and understand how to mitigate the risks involved.

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Social

Collaboration in the workplace is getting more and more complex all the time. Unlike in the past, a collaboration now can mean individuals on opposite sides of the continent pouring over the same data to help one another analyze and decipher how best to proceed. Whether your organization is consolidated within a building, spread out across multiple cities, or is comprised of an entirely remote team working from all over the country, the social features from Salesforce will be a consideration while you develop apps and solutions for your company and will represent approximately 3% of the exam.

There are a variety of social features available to be used within Salesforce, and with the AppExchange there are many more possible uses to be integrated. You’ll need to be able to describe these capabilities, and how you would use them within an organization to make your use of Salesforce, and by extension your organization, more agile and competitive.

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User Interface

UX or user experience is one of the most important considerations for an App Developer in any discipline. A poor UX mounted on top of the most useful program ever designed would see very little use as it would be difficult for anyone who has not designed the program to make proper use of it. As a certified Salesforce app builder you will need to have an understanding of the various user interface customizations that are possible. You’ll need to know when to use buttons, links, actions, or incorporate other components. Finally, you’ll be given a hypothetical situation, and asked to indicate how best to design the interface to meet the needs of your organization. This section’s questions make up 14% of the exam.

Preparation for this section of the exam will be complete when you can outline the various user interface customization options available within Salesforce;

  • Understand how to construct a user interface, and use buttons, links, actions, and various other components to construct a solution that the end-user will be able to understand and work with effectively;
  • Know the various possibilities for including Lightning components into your applications; and
  • Given a hypothetical situation, chose the best user interface for your solution.

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Reporting

Even though you’ll often be working with the more advanced aspects of Salesforce for the development of applications, knowing how Salesforce reporting works is still going to be a major component of your work, and as a result, 5% of this test is dedicated to your understanding of this feature. It should come as no surprise, as you will likely be required to automate the creation of reports or dashboards, and to be able to design a program to build something, you will have to have a thorough understanding of that process yourself.

When you’re ready for this portion of the exam, you will be able to describe the different features available when designing reports and dashboards, and when best to use each of them.

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Mobile

With the almost ubiquitous requirement for mobile versions of seemingly all applications, it’s no surprise that an understanding of the Salesforce mobile environment, and how you can customize it are featured on the Salesforce App Builder Certification Exam. More than just knowing how to port the features you need over to the mobile version of Salesforce you’ll need to describe how best to design the user interface on the mobile platform to optimize the Salesforce environment for user experience.

This is not a large portion of the exam, but I would state that it is more important to your career than that would imply. Mobile versions of enterprise software are everywhere, and the more prepared you are to work with it, the more employable you become.

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App Development

In this final section, representing 8% of the total exam, you will be tested on what sets you apart from the regular Salesforce users. Your skills and knowledge around App Development. You will be tested on your understanding of the process that occurs when an app is in development. What to consider when building the foundation of your application, and the various methods of deploying your application throughout your organization.

Consider yourself having mastered this section when you can:

  • Describe the application development lifecycle and the lifecycle of an application that has been deployed;
  • Describe the differences between the various sandbox environments available in Salesforce app development;
  • Indicate when and how to use changesets;
  • Describe unmanaged packages and potential uses for them; and
  • Chose the best possible deployment plan given a set of conditions.

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Official Resources

Please check out the links below, they are linking to the official resources.

BUSINESS LOGIC AND PROCESS AUTOMATION – 27%

Describe the capabilities of and use cases for record types.

Describe the capabilities of and use cases for formula fields.

Describe the capabilities of, use cases for, and implications of roll-up summary fields.

Describe the capabilities of and use cases for validation rules.

Describe the capabilities of and use cases for approval processes.

Describe the capabilities of and use cases for workflow, visual workflow, and Process Builder.

Given a set of business requirements, recommend a solution to automate business processes.

Describe the ramifications of field updates and the potential for recursion.

DATA MODELING AND MANAGEMENT – 20%

Given a scenario, determine the appropriate data model.

Describe the capabilities of the various relationship types and the implications of each on record access, user interface, and reporting.

Identify the considerations when changing a field’s type.

Given a set of requirements, identify the considerations and select the appropriate field type.

Describe the capabilities and considerations of the schema builder.

Describe the options and considerations when importing and exporting data.

Describe the capabilities of and use cases for external objects.

USER INTERFACE – 14%

Describe the user interface customization options.

Describe the capabilities of and use cases for custom buttons, links, and actions.

Describe the declarative options available for incorporating Lightning Components in an application.

Given a scenario, determine the appropriate user interface design.

SECURITY – 10%

Describe the features and capabilities available to restrict and extend object, record, and field access.

Given a set of business requirements, determine the appropriate sharing solution.

SALESFORCE FUNDAMENTALS – 8%

Describe the capabilities of the core CRM objects in the Salesforce schema.

Given a scenario, identify the boundaries of declarative customization and the use cases for programmatic customization.

Identify common scenarios for extending an org using the AppExchange

APP DEVELOPMENT – 8%

Describe the key milestones and considerations when managing the application lifecycle.

Describe the differences between and considerations when using the various types of sandboxes.

Describe the capabilities of and considerations when using change sets.

Describe the use cases of and considerations when using unmanaged packages.

Given a scenario, determine the appropriate deployment plan.

REPORTING – 5%

Describe the features and capabilities available when creating reports, report types, and dashboards.

MOBILE – 5%

Describe the declarative customization options available for the Salesforce mobile application user interface.

Given a set of requirements, determine the appropriate global and object specific actions and action layouts to optimize the Salesforce mobile application user experience.

SOCIAL – 3%

Describe the capabilities of and use cases for social features.

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Are You Ready to Get Your Salesforce App Builder Certification?

Assuming you’ve followed our breakdown of the exam, and at least taken a peek at the various learning resources we have suggested, then you may very well be ready to earn your certification. Building business solutions in Salesforce is a skill to be treasured in the workplace, and you’re almost ready to show the world just how capable you are.

If you have any doubts whatsoever about the test, be sure to make use of the Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Practice Tests on Udemy. They may cost a bit up-front, however, they will prove an invaluable asset in your preparation for this exam.

Further, if you have any further questions about the various portions of the exam, don’t leave it to chance! Get yourself the Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Course on Udemy. It will prove more economical than having to rewrite the exam if you feel that there is any chance you are not yet prepared.

I wish you good luck with your exam and with all your future Salesforce app development. In no time at all, we’ll see your name, or maybe even your start-up’s name as the developer on apps on the Salesforce AppExchange in no time!

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Important Reminder

Remember, as with most certifications, when they age, they become less relevant. The Salesforce App Development Certification requires that you complete up-training throughout the year to remain certified. Three times a year you will be required to complete a certification maintenance module. If you fail to complete a module before the deadline, your credential will expire, and you will have to begin the process all over again.

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