Talent Hub met with Devendra Dhaka, a 501 and Platform II certified Architect/Developer at Tquila ANZ to find out what advice he would give to people looking to take the new Platform I and II certifications.
Devendra has worked in India, America and now Australia and has experience on enterprise scale implementations in both a technical and functional capacity. He holds the Salesforce Administrator, Sales cloud, Service cloud, 401 and 501 certifications and sat the transition paper for Platform I and Platform II very recently. Devendra is well placed to give insights on what to prepare for, what are thekey differences and if companies can use the new certs to hire better people.
When did you achieve your Salesforce 401 and 501 certifications and were they challenging?
I first secured my 401 certification in February 2012 and did not find this one too challenging. The 401 was relatively easy to achieve and was more of an administration certification than Development. As long as you had a basic understanding of the platform and knew some of the technical limitations, then the 401 is achievable.
I completed all stages of 501 certifications in July 2014. By this time I had a few years of experience with the platform and had worked on a number of full implementations, so I had all of the practical experience required to pass. The 501 exam is not about implementing the correct solution, it’s about using the right process and coding practices to implement it. I have seen candidates failed the exam with a note
“Your solution is complete and working perfectly, but is not of production quality.”
What was the process to transition from 401 and 501 to Platform I and II?
As I was already holding an advanced developer certification, I only had to pass a transition exam to achieve Platform I AND II. These new certifications were more focused on Lightening Components, Lightning Connect, Developer Console enhancements, Process Builder, APIs, Mobile and all new SF features.
What have Salesforce changed with the introduction of the Platform I and II certifications?
Although I wouldn’t say they have changed the complexity, but there were more questions on a wide range of SF features such as Lightning framework, Flow, mobile etc., which will be new for the majority of Developers. Previously lots of people could pass the 401 as it was easy to get access to the practice questions but it will now be more difficult for people to pre-empt what to expect as there is little Lightning knowledge around in the market.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to sit the new certifications soon?
I would advise that people get up to speed with some of the newer features of Salesforce such as communities and lightning framework. The Platform I is now less about configuration and more focussed on process builder, people should familiarise themselves with this.
Some companies rely heavily on certifications as a way of establishing a Salesforce Developer’s credentials. Do you feel that the new certifications can be used to determine the skill level of potential hires?
Definitely not. I would still advise that anyone looking to hire a Salesforce Developer should go through a vigorous technical interview process. The 401 and Platform I certifications can still be achieved with a little bit of revision and without much practical experience so putting people through a hard-core technical test and scenario based questioning should be essential.
What is next for you in terms of certifications?
I have completed the self-assessment for the Technical Architect certification and hope to complete the multi choice exam by mid Feb. This certification is extremely challenging and only a small percentage of people pass, but I am feeling confident to add it to my profile.
How are you studying for this certification?
I am going through the study material provided by Salesforce on the Certification page and trying to touch base each and every topic I have worked so far. I have to brush up all concepts about authentication security, integration best practices, a bit of solution architecture etc.
Additionally, we have an in-house CTA Program, where Jsun Pe [Our CTA] is conducting some technology sessions for us.
What do you hope achieving the Technical Architect Certification will mean for your career?
It will be a great achievement for me, professionally and personally, if I pass this exam. It will definitely give a boost to my career to become an Enterprise architect and work on some challenging implementations.