How To Get Started And Certified As A Salesforce Admin

Just as you need to be a certified driver to safely and effectively travel on the roads of the world, you need to be certified to run the complexities of the Salesforce ecosystem.

How To Get Started And Certified As A Salesforce Admin
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If you’re thinking about starting out as a Salesforce admin as part of your career goals (or you are an uncertified admin), and you’d like to get that ‘gold star’ certification behind your name, look no further!

Who Is A Salesforce Administrator?

A Salesforce administrator is an individual who has the experience and thorough, broad knowledge of working with Salesforce's CRM products. A Salesforce admin is an individual who possesses a deep understanding of how the company operates, how it’s interlaced in making all departments efficient through process automations, and how this knowledge thus plays an integral part in running a smooth and lean business.

Salesforce administrators are the one person who is responsible for answering queries related to development processes, organizing data, executing reports, and training other employees on how to use Salesforce efficiently. 

In addition, admins can create useful tools in any organization – like informative dashboards, intelligent Workflows, and apps for some projects. Simply put, they possess a thorough knowledge of Salesforce and hands-on knowledge of its secondary products, services by Salesforce, and other third-party providers that are available for the platform.

Salesforce admins work hard with a motive to reduce any inefficiency and achieve better productivity from the team. Admins help keep Salesforce users well-trained and updated with the platform to handle complicated problems in the project and keep pushing the project in a forward direction.

Now, when an organization relies more on data and analytics for everything related to sales and marketing to planning and customer management, Salesforce administrators remain in demand in approximately all industries, from the software industry to banking or from healthcare to the entertainment industry.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate?

For anyone looking to start a career in the Salesforce world, the Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam is the best way to prove that you have relevant practical experience (or professional experience) and knowledge of the Salesforce platform.

It is also perfect for ‘newbie admins’ or anyone already working as a Salesforce admin (without certification).

If you are a Salesforce certified administrator, it will give employers a sense of confidence that you will be able to maintain, administer, and extend the Salesforce platform by utilizing the custom functionalities available on the platform.

The Salesforce Administrator Certification Exam also acts as a prerequisite for many other Salesforce certification exams, so it is advised to understand the basics of this certification first before moving to other certification goals that are more advanced.

Skills Required To Be A Salesforce Administrator

Salesforce administrators should be able to utilize their knowledge and experience of Salesforce to guide user adoption and generate a better return on investment in the implementation of Salesforce solutions.

An admin can be anyone, but some essential qualities would be helpful before diving into the role:

  • Good communication skills help work across the company and enable user adoption. It will also help a person share ideas and viewpoints effectively with users.
  • A person should be able to build reports and dashboards and work with Salesforce Flow.
  • An admin should be able to analyze data and handle sharing and security of data.
  • An innovative approach and open-mindedness to learn any new concept or functionality at any time.

What Does A Salesforce Administrator Do?

Since Salesforce, as a platform, can be used in multiple ways, the role that a Salesforce administrator plays will differ from organization to organization and from industry to industry.

However, there are some responsibilities that a typical Salesforce administrator handles while working in an organization.

User Profiles And Their Access Levels

Salesforce administrators are responsibile for the safety of an organization's data, which might include some critical information related to sales and marketing, products and services, customer demographics, and purchases.

Admins can create user accounts and assign access levels based on organizational roles and responsibilities. It usually includes onboarding newly hired employees who require some access to Salesforce.

Furthermore, Salesforce admins are responsible for handling off-boarding and removing access of former employees and others who no longer need to use Salesforce.

Import New Leads And Data

Since, in the real world, users add leads and other data to Salesforce from time to time, administrators must develop standards for these processes and newly added data to ensure data consistency across the organization, without affecting the existing solution.

Design And Develop Processes For Reporting

Salesforce administrators are experts in CRM data management because organizations depend heavily on Salesforce admins to keep their data clean and organized. Salesforce admins are also required to get the data whenever needed to support training efforts and justify business decisions.

Set Up And Run Different Tools

Over a long period, the contact data and user behavior can be replicated by users because of reasons such as web form submissions and imported lists. This means that it is the responsibility of Salesforce admins to run duplication tools to clean the data and remove duplicate records.

The frequency at which an admin needs to perform this task will vary depending on organization tools and their needs.

Some operate automatically in real-time, while others are triggered at a fixed interval to keep Salesforce running at its full capacity.

Updates In The Sandbox

Salesforce is designed to update regularly and automatically. However, a practice that is adopted by some of the best admins is to proactively test and install these updates in a sandbox to get familiarity with the changes.

They also explore the capabilities of the newly added functionalities in advance before updates go live. This practice usually helps ensure that the organization's data stays as secure as possible and that Salesforce runs at full capacity.

Run Maintenance Reports

Another duty of a Salesforce administrator is that they are responsible for executing tests and reports to ensure that the database remains in an efficient working state. Some of these tests and reports might even include field utilizations, Apex tests, role and profile-specific reports, and other industry-specific reports per the requirement.

The Salesforce administrator's system knowledge and access to data make them a most demanded resource for these kinds of tasks. They can also automate the tests and reports when needed.

Solve Issues And Challenges As They Arise

When new issues arise with Salesforce, the admin is responsible for figuring out what is happening and finding a fix for the issue according to its root cause. This is so that complete solutions are not affected.

In addition, admins are also responsible for training and guiding old and newly added employees on updates, changes, and processes. They might also conduct surveys from users and management to get new ideas and plan, build, test, and execute them into real-world working solutions.

Optimization Of The Processes

Salesforce is a powerful tool that is generally used for sales and marketing. If used effectively, it can give you astonishing results.

To ensure that an organization is utilizing the application's functionalities to its limit, admins are responsible for developing contact sequences, A/B tests, designing processes for data entry automation, and making reports to check the efficiency of sales and marketing initiatives. Then according to the reports and analysis, admins will optimize these processes to make them even more effective.

Special Responsibilities

Salesforce is used by different organizations in different industries, indicating its potential to handle diverse tasks. For instance, an admin in the medical industry will have to acquire knowledge of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) data protection requirements in addition to their Salesforce expertise.

Other sectors also have specialized requirements, so a good admin must understand both Salesforce and industry-specific requirements to handle users' needs effectively.

At the end of the day, hiring managers and other HR experts will maintain up-to-date lists of the skill sets and expertise that Salesforce admins must have. However, it is not an easy task to separate candidates with in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience from those candidates who have little experience.

To address this problem, Salesforce has created a set of certifications that will measure an administrator's knowledge and experience with the platform in an effective manner.

And here's the catch: these are more challenging-to-complete certifications. In addition, each certification requires thorough studying and work to master the relevant skills.

How To Become A Salesforce Admin?

To become an administrator, a person does not need any prior knowledge or experience with the Salesforce platform.

If you want to become a certified admin, having a reliable internet connection and a working laptop or a computer, are the only tools that will be required to start your career.

To start working as a Salesforce admin, the first thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the platform and its basic working.

The exam for Salesforce Administrator Certification is conducted via Salesforce Trailhead. The Salesforce Trailhead platform is the first stop to Salesforce's official training resources, documentation, and a wide array of Salesforce exams.

It is a user-friendly platform that contains course modules and other learning materials and tools that a person can use to better understand the concepts while preparing for the actual exam.

However, these tools alone might not be enough to prepare and pass the exam, especially when someone is new to the Salesforce environment. As a result of this situation, many new candidates end up signing up for more comprehensive Salesforce administrator programs. These courses comprise interactive projects, personalized feedback from professionals, and career support.

When you are looking for a Salesforce administrator certificate program, it is advised that you should select the program that Salesforce consultants created in collaboration with Salesforce Trailhead.

The Salesforce Administrator Certification Exam Pattern

The Salesforce Administrator Certification Exam is designed to measure the individual's knowledge and skills related to various features and functionalities of the platform. The test contains several topics with defined weightings:

  • 20% of the questions are related to configuration and setup.
  • 20% of the questions are related to object manager and Lightning App Builder.
  • 12% of the questions are related to sales and marketing applications.
  • 11% of the questions are related to service and support applications.
  • 7% of the questions are about productivity and collaboration.
  • 14% of the questions are from data and analytics management.
  • Lastly, 6% of the remaining questions are from Workflow and process automation.
To pass the exam, you must correctly answer 65% of the questions within the 105-minute time frame.

Hence, it is advised to dedicate most of your time and efforts to the topics that make up the larger portion of questions to improve the chances of scoring high.

In simple terms, you should not spend the same amount of time studying productivity and collaboration (which is only 7% of the exam) as you spend learning about the object manager and Lightning App Builder (which is 20% of the exam).

Salesforce provides you with both options for giving in-person exams and online exams. If you’re taking the exam online, you will be required to download software that sets up your machine for taking the exam and allows the proctor to see yout screen as you attempt your exam.

Salesforce Administrator Certifications

Salesforce offers four basic certifications designed for Salesforce administrators. Getting certified for any of them would demonstrate that you have mastered specific skills and have knowledge of the Salesforce platform.

In addition, getting one or more of these certifications indicates that you have the required skills and knowledge needed to support an organization's Salesforce solution.

Salesforce Certified Administrator (SCA)

The Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam is the first step many professionals take to start their journey in the path of Salesforce administration. It is a good choice for those individuals who have experience with the Salesforce platform and want to help organizations get the most out of their CRM software.

Individuals who pass this certification can apply for Salesforce administrator jobs in different organizations. To earn this certification, a person must have:

  • Good knowledge of the platform's processes and capabilities.
  • Understand different cloud apps, such as Sales Cloud and Service Cloud apps.
  • Must know how to design advanced reports and dashboards and automate business processes using Salesforce.
  • Admins should know how to create custom configurations, utilize various platform apps, and create a good experience for end-users.

Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator (SCAA)

The Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator Exam is specifically designed for professionals with a significant amount of experience working as an admin who want to take their skills to another level.

It will require a lot of hands-on experience in implementing the core concepts of Salesforce administration. These candidates should be able to:

  • Define record and field data access.
  • Create custom objects inside the platform.
  • Have an understanding of Salesforce's forecasting capabilities.
  • Configure Salesforce apps.
  • Move data between different environments, and use dynamic dashboards and dashboard filters effectively when required.
An advanced administrator candidate should be able to demonstrate expertise in the entire set of Salesforce features.

They should be able to utilize all the functionalities of Salesforce to solve complex problems for their organization.

CPQ Specialist

This certification is best suited for candidates with a decent amount of experience working with the Salesforce CPQ software. Salesforce CPQ  (“configure,” “price,” and “quote”) is a sales tool within Salesforce that helps administrators provide accurate pricing of their organization’s products.

This certificate will help administrators showcase their capabilities while designing, developing, and implementing workflows for product price configuration. 

Administrators with this certification can help their organizations earn the trust of their clients with better estimation and pricing processes.

Platform App Builder

Some organizations require customized applications within the Salesforce platform. In this situation, Platform App Builder certification helps administrators to prove their skills and ability to design and develop custom apps inside the Salesforce platform with the customization capabilities of Salesforce.

Resources To Help You In Your Preparation

If you look for web resources, they are available to help you prepare and pass the various Salesforce certifications. However, if you want to learn from genuine and trusted sources, the following resources will help you.

This is the starting point and home for all resources of Salesforce-related certifications. Here you can find official information about the platform and certification.


This is Salesforce's training resource for Salesforce programs. Here you can find training modules, community discussions, learning process paths, and more to help you learn about Salesforce certifications better.

Salesforce Admin YouTube Channel

Another official yet widespread training resource that many people turn to as it has vast videos of concepts is the official YouTube channel of Salesforce. You will find a lot of information from industry experts who offer expert insights. But since the information targets a larger audience, it might not be useful for the actual exam you need to take.

Practice Test

To get a rough idea of what topics the test covers and the pattern, you can go through the practice exams or a mock test provided by Salesforce. There are options to take a timed version (where you won’t be given extra time) of the test that mimics the actual test, and an untimed version of the test that gives you more time to go through the test thoroughly. This process will allow you to become exam ready.


This tech-industry training resource is an online learning platform with 15 in-depth additional learning courses designed to help a person learn about the Salesforce platform and prepare them for the certification exam format. They also offer bite-sized learning.

Exam Strategy

Whenever you feel that you are ready with your preparation and are confident enough to take the exam and its real questions, go to Trailhead, choose the respective role you want, and register for the exam by clicking "Schedule Now." Then follow the next steps to schedule your exam. Here are some of the tips that might help you in your exam for Salesforce certifications:

  • Firstly, if there is any concept you feel you are not confident in, just go through that topic once before you take the exam. It will not only stay in your mind for some time, but this process will clear a sense of fear from your mind before the exam.
  • Go through each question thoroughly in the exam before answering it. If you need to, use the pen and paper provided (when giving an exam in person in a testing center) to help you visualize the answer better. For scenario-based questions, clues will be provided to you to get the correct answer, you just need to observe them carefully.
  • Try to use the elimination method to erase incorrect answers. Salesforce usually likes to throw in answers that are made up of features. You can figure out answers by simply focusing on standard Salesforce concepts and features.

What Happens After The Exam?

Finishing the exam guide and earning a certification is not the end of the road. Salesforce is continuously updating itself, so keeping yourself and your Salesforce admin certification updated is important.

Salesforce will notify you before your certificate is about to expire, so you can schedule a slot to retake the exam.

You Are Ready To Get Certified

The Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam is a must for all individuals who want to go through the certification process to start their journey in the Salesforce world.

It will give you and employers the confidence that you can successfully and responsibly work with Salesforce.

Once you get this certification, you will be confident enough to make your next move in the path of learning Salesforce.