The 300th Salesforce Certification: an interview with Tomasz Starzak

Photo by Tomasz Starzak

Salesforce technology consistently ranks very high on the list of trends in the IT industry. Confirmation of competence and experience in the use and implementation of this platform, are the relevant Certifications, and in Britenet the opportunity to obtain them have all Salesforce specialists.

One of them is Tomasz Starzak - Professional Salesforce Developer, winner of the 300th anniversary certification. In his latest interview, he decided to talk about his process of preparing for the exam and revealed why it's worth opting for such certification.

How does the Salesforce Certification prepare you to work with this technology?

I don't think certifications serve - or rather, they shouldn't - to prepare you to work in one of the Salesforce roles. That's what Trailheads help with, which are places where you can create a sample Salesforce environment for free and painlessly experiment on it, learn about it and mess it up while learning.

Certifications are a kind of confirmation of competence, already possessed knowledge and skills in certain areas of Salesforce. Of course, you can learn "dry" just the usual theory by reading documentation, but on the exam a lot of questions test practical knowledge and whether the examinee is able to use this knowledge correctly. The certificate can lay the foundation for a job in this technology - as an attractive part of your resume and portfolio, and as a concrete confirmation of your knowledge of the platform and knowledge.

In your case, what was the preparation process for passing the Certificate?

It took a long time, because there was a lot of material, and I couldn't devote half of the time that was left after work to studying - I have a family, a child, around-the-house responsibilities and simply couldn't drop everything for the certificate.

Certainly, the so-called Study Guide (available with every certificate) was very helpful, in which you can find a list of materials useful for studying. It is long, but not always complete, and it takes a while to tick off all the items. Nonetheless, it provides a good foundation and great motivation to get started and to get into the daily habit of "I'll study at least 30 minutes."

What was the most challenging part of the process of earning the Certificate for you?

The science itself, that is, the voluminousness of the material and the so-called Rabbit holes.

Despite the fact that each certificate comes with the aforementioned Study Guide, it was sometimes very difficult to decide what might actually be useful on the exam and what might not.

Of course, it would be best to study for years and learn all the secrets of this language (Java Script), but unfortunately no one has the time to do that. Learning should be targeted, and that was the most difficult part - clearly defining what I should focus on and what to learn.

Without a clearly delineated thematic framework, it's very easy to fall into the Rabbit holes already mentioned - each topic can be broken down into other, smaller topics, which, after all, can also be (or should be?) thoroughly learned. This behavior/approach most often leads to a million open tabs in the browser and the fact that we know a little more about everything, but really not much about what will be tested on the exam. And time is running out....

How does the exam for the Certificate work?

The Salesforce JavaScript Developer I exam is supervised by Kryterion and can be taken in-person or online. It consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. The database of questions is closed, and new ones appear practically every few months. The participant has 105 minutes to complete the exam. The passing score is 65%. The registration fee for this particular exam is $200.

No printed or online materials can be referenced during the exam - the exam is monitored by a supervisor via webcam. It is required to download software that will allow the examiner to view the screen while performing the exam. The supervisor may stop the exam if he or she suspects that a participant is not following the rules or is behaving suspiciously (e.g., holding his or her hand to his or her mouth or reading aloud).

The results are available immediately upon completion of the certificate. If the result is negative, you can take the exam again (correction is paid). If the result is positive - you should celebrate it somehow!

Why earn a Salesforce Certification and how does it affect your career path?

Salesforce is currently very popular and also trendy. Everyone wants to move their organization to this platform - demand continues to grow, and with it comes the need for experienced professionals who can effectively implement and optimize the platform based on the specific needs of the organization.

This kind of expertise and skills can be difficult for potential clients/employers to track down, and this is when certifications prove helpful. It is - perhaps not ideal - but nevertheless a way to determine the competence of a given specialist, confirming practical knowledge and experience with various Salesforce platforms, applications and tools. 

Certifications can help you get a better job, raise your salary - when evaluating two candidates with equal experience, an employer or client will almost always choose the certified candidate.