3 Reasons for pursuing AWS certifications & how I passed

I’m very proud to say that I’ve passed 2 AWS Associate exams and I am now a certified AWS Solutions Architect and AWS Developer. Click on the questions below if you need answers to them:

1. What is AWS?
2. What are the AWS certifications that are available?

But, why did I even attempt to go for the AWS certifications if I’m in the Salesforce world?

In my attempt to become a Salesforce Technical Architect, I felt my journey required knowledge of other platforms for 3 reasons:

  1. to allow me to create solutions for clients that could meet their requirements (if their requirements included other platforms). This will be very valuable in my professional life.
  2. The review board hypothetical scenario can include integrations into other systems and other platforms so it made sense to expand my knowledge.
  3. I generally didn’t want to put all my eggs in 1 basket and only have knowledge of the Salesforce platform.

I plan to get a few more certifications on the AWS platform in the near future but let me tell you the resources/materials I used to prepare for these 2 exams

  1. A Cloud Guru – this site has been created by Ryan Kroonenburg (and other members of the ACloudGuru team) and developed further off his Udemy courses to help prepare people to take the AWS exams.
  2. Cloud Academy – this covers the same content as number 1 but I also felt that getting the content delivered by other instructors helped me to learn the information better.
  3. AWS Whitepapers (with additional cert prep) – these are very thorough and it is important that you read through these carefully. There will be questions on the exam where the answers can be found in these whitepapers and that’s why both courses in 1 and 2 above recommend that you read these.
  4. AWS documentation – there’s a lot of detail in these but I would recommend that you pay particular attention to Service Limits + Provisioned Throughput for the Developer exam and VPC + Networking for the Solutions Architect exam.

I hope the above content helps you pass the exam (if you decide to go down this path) as it did for me.

As always, should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter

Next stop: Platform Developer I…

Destination: Architect!

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How I Passed the App Builder Transition!

As you understood from the title, I passed my App Builder exam!

It was the 5th of the 5 Salesforce exams I passed on the same day, but I covered each one in a different blog post.

As it was a transition exam, it was 20 questions and 30 minutes. I didn’t feel that there was too much different from the original Force.com Developer exam (or more commonly referred to the DEV401 – this is actually the code for the Salesforce-run training).

The only part I felt that I needed to focus on more was on Lightning App Builder, Lightning Components, and Packaging. The study materials that is provided on the transition study guide are excellent resources to prepare for the exam. This is a certification that requires you to have some experience on the platform though to understand the scenario based questions better.

Studying tactics and practice exams have been covered by others such as David and Ben, so I won’t go over them again. My advice: Learn, Practice, Practice, and Practice again. It’s not just about memorising the material, it is also about understanding how to apply them in different scenarios and provide the appropriate solution to each problem your (internal/external) clients may be facing.

Next stop: Platform Developer I

Destination: Architect!

How I Passed the Pardot Consultant exam!

As you understood from the title, I passed my Pardot Consultant exam!

It was the 4th of the 5 Salesforce exams I passed on the same day, but I will be covering each one in a different blog post.

If you have used Pardot before, or you have already studied for (or passed) the Pardot Specialist exam, then great, you’re over half-way there!There is a lot of overlap, but now you will be building on your existing knowledge and understanding on how to apply this to external clients as a Consultant.

If you haven’t, don’t worry, you can still pass the exam. My tactic was to

  1. go through all the material that I could find on the Pardot Knowledge Base site, based on what was required for the Study Guide.
  2. Go through every video on the Pardot Specialist eLearning site

There is no official Salesforce Pardot course and the Premium Training videos are the same as those I provided the eLearning link for.

I hadn’t come across this whilst I was preparing for this exam, but there is a guide created by Ben Edwards that I would particularly recommend that can really help you get started:

  1. Pardot Consultant Study Notes

I was able to use a lot of the Marketing principles and CAN-SPAM content the Email and Social Specialist exams, and the Pardot Specialist exam. Use the above content I provided and you too can pass the exam!

As always, should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter

Next stop: App Builder Transition (since I already have the Force.com Developer certificate)…

Destination: Architect!

How I Passed the Pardot Specialist exam!

As you understood from the title, I passed my Pardot Specialist exam!

It was the 3rd of the 5 Salesforce exams I passed on the same day, but I will be covering each one in a different blog post.

If you have used Pardot before, then great, you’re over half-way there! If you haven’t, don’t worry, you can still pass the exam. My tactic was to

  1. go through all the material that I could find on the Pardot Knowledge Base site, based on what was required for the Study Guide.
  2. Go through every video on the Pardot Specialist eLearning site

There is no official Salesforce Pardot course and the Premium Training videos are the same as those I provided the eLearning link for.

I hadn’t come across this whilst I was preparing for this exam, but since then, there are two guides that I would particularly recommend that can really help you get started:

  1. The Study Notes created by Ben Edwards
  2. This Succeed with Salesforce Blog post written by Mayank Srivastava

If you’ve already covered any learning material for the Pardot Consultant exam, don’t assume the same content will be covered. There is a lot of overlap, but think of it more like the Pardot Specialist being the Salesforce Admin of the Pardot platform, and the Pardot Consultant being close to the Sales/Service Cloud Consultant certifications.

I couldn’t believe my luck after passing both the Email Specialist and Social Specialist exams and I was able to use a lot of the Marketing principles and CAN-SPAM content the Email Specialist exam covered in the Social Specialist exam. Use the above content I provided and you too can pass the exam!

As always, should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter

Next stop: Pardot Consultant…

Destination: Architect!

How I Passed the Marketing Cloud Social Specialist Exam!

As you understood from the title, I passed my Marketing Cloud Social Specialist exam!

It was the 2nd of the 5 Salesforce exams I passed on the same day, but I will be covering each one in a different blog post.

This exam had less content to use in terms of preparation, but don’t let that fool you! The video content is about an hour long, but there is a lot more detailed information that you can find on the ExactTarget Documentation site.

I hadn’t come across this whilst I was preparing for this exam, but since then, there are two guides that I would particularly recommend that can really help you get started:

  1. The Study Notes created by Ben Edwards
  2. This Succeed with Salesforce Blog post written by Mayank Srivastava

In my opinion, experience using Social Studio is not really required for you to understand how Social Studio works and pass the exam. My tactic was to

  1. go through all the material that I could find on the ExactTarget Documentation site, based on what was required for the Study Guide.
  2. Make sure to cover Social Studio Mobile features/functionality
  3. Watch the Social Studio eLearning videos on YouTube
  4. Watch the Social Studio February ’15 Release Feature Review on YouTube. There’s lot of content covered in here that isn’t covered in the eLearning videos I mentioned in number 2. Some of this will come up in the exam, so I was happy I went through it.
  5. Make sure to watch the Social Studio November ’15 Release Webinar. Like the February ’15 Release Webinar, the content in this Release will come up in the exam.

Also, the official Salesforce Social Studio course or the Premium Training videos are another great way of learning the material and preparing for the exam.

Just like the Email Marketing exam in my previous post, this is not an exam on every piece of Salesforce Marketing Cloud functionality.This exam focuses solely on Social Studio. Don’t get distracted when you’re on the ExactTarget Documentation site and just stick to Social Studio Marketing functionality.

I was on a real high after passing the Email Specialist exam and I was able to use a lot of the Marketing principles and CAN-SPAM content the Email Specialist exam covered in the Social Specialist exam. Use the above content I provided and you too can pass the exam!

As always, should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter

Next stop: Pardot Specialist…

Destination: Architect!

How I Passed the Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Exam!

As you understood from the title, I passed my Marketing Cloud Email Specialist exam!

It was the 1st of the 5 Salesforce exams I passed on the same day, but I will be covering each one in a different blog post.

I personally found this to be quite a difficult exam. Not just because I’m not a Marketer (and therefore some of the terms were new to me), but mainly because there is so much ExactTarget Documentation to go through.

I hadn’t come across this whilst I was preparing for this exam, but since then, there are two guides that I would particularly recommend that can really help you get started:

  1. The Study Notes created by Ben Edwards
  2. This Succeed with Salesforce Blog post written by Mayank Srivastava

My tactic was to go through all the material that I could find on the ExactTarget Documentation site, based on what was required for the Study Guide. This is a certification where experience using ExactTarget would really benefit you, but if you don’t have any, you can still do it. Also, the official Salesforce Email Essentials course or the Premium Training videos are another great way of learning the material and preparing for the exam.

Remember, this is not an exam on every piece of Salesforce Marketing Cloud functionality (although a new certification for this might be created one day – Marketing Cloud Consultant?), but this is specifically focused on ExactTarget email functionality. So it’s not about Journey Builder or Predictive Intelligence. The ExactTarget Documentation does have a lot of information on all pieces of Marketing Cloud, but be focused and stick to ExactTarget Email Marketing functionality.

I’m really happy I passed this one, as it was the one I was least confident about. As always, should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter

Next stop: Marketing Cloud Social Specialist…

Destination: Architect!

Next Stop: Preparing for the Salesforce Pardot Specialist Certification

I’ve decided to tackle the Pardot certification next.

Salesforce have now split the Pardot certification into two: Pardot Specialist and Pardot Consultant. Neither have any pre-requisites but they are aimed at two different job roles. The Pardot Specialist certification is aimed at the Administrators and Super Users of the Pardot platform (the Pardot equivalent of the Salesforce Administrator). Whereas the Pardot Consultant certification is aimed at those individuals who implement Pardot for clients or implement Pardot solutions internally/externally (again, the Pardot equivalent of Salesforce Sales/Service Cloud Consultant)

Now you know more about the Pardot certifications, you might wonder why I would want to attain those if I’m aiming for the Certified Technical Architect (CTA).

Even though the road to Certified Technical Architect (CTA) can probably be done without knowing too much about Pardot, I felt that having a deep understanding of all Salesforce products will help me architect solutions in a more effective manner.

In the Certification Diagram, I have thus far focus my efforts towards the certifications on the left hand side. I want to balance myself out with those on the right hand side, before I tackle the more programmatic certifications in the middle. Again, if you’re following this path, you don’t have to but that was my preference.

I’ve added the resources I will be using on the Pardot Specialist page, so please have a read through that.

Now it’s time to study, before the train can depart this station.

Next Stop: Passing the Salesforce Pardot Specialist Certification

Destination: Architect!