Certification Success with Sophie Westbrook

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Certification is a big part of success and today we’re talking to Sophie Westbrook, senior marketing manager at Salesforce University, who says that there are twenty-three possible Salesforce certifications you can master.

Her marketing team is about two years old, and Sophie’s role revolves around brand, messaging, and evangelism for Salesforce University. She is all about building Salesforce fans and believes that there are endless opportunities out there for Admins. We are excited to pick Sophie’s brain about all the different qualifications you can acquire as a Salesforce Admin and technical architect.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Sophie Westbrook.

What Salesforce University means.

Salesforce University is the official training program of Salesforce. It focuses on in-depth instructor-led training where a customer can come into a physical or virtual classroom to interact with students, peers, and a certified Salesforce instructor who walks them through various exercises.

“There are a number of other programs that Salesforce University has. There are private workshops that they can do for training credits, an admin proficiency pack (a fast-track to becoming an administrator), and the whole certification component,” Sophie explains.

This year, there are twenty-three certifications, whereas last year there were ten. Salesforce has drastically grown the number of certifications that they offer due to new products and demand for roles.

Volunteer to get experience.

Sophie advises that you should have at least six months of experience with an application before testing for certification. However, getting the experience you need to take on a Salesforce role is a bit of a Catch-22.

Sophie’s advice? “Volunteer your time at a non-profit organization. Trailhead is also a great way to show some of that expertise as you work your way towards a certification, and you can show that you have these badges to start to prove your expertise in that way.”

She also believes it is vital to network with the community. “Try and get people to help with tips and tricks on how you can work towards certification,” she says.

The certification journey.

Salesforce University has come up with an excellent way to help people develop the base knowledge they need to get certified.

“We’re starting to provide a lot more resources. We just recently introduced something called Certification Journeys. They’re free and are basically a guided approach to helping you on your way to getting certified. We’ve curated a bunch of resources including free online training, trails, and help topics that we are pointing people toward.”

You can find these exam guides through downloadable e-books — they start with the basics and work up to more advanced concepts, because Sophie understands that not everyone is on the same Salesforce journey.

Be mysterious about your exams.

These certification exams can be quite difficult, so Sophie advises Admins not to share the news. “Don’t tell people you’re going to sit for the exam. That’s just more stress when you get back to the office.”

Another very helpful tip from Sophie to take on this certification challenge, “Download the exam guide and start going through it. In it, we basically outline what is covered in the exam from an objective perspective. You see the weighting of the exam as well. Go through that exam to see what’s being covered, and from there start looking for your resources. We have training that supports that preparation.”

For more insights, make sure to follow Sophie on Twitter @srwestbrook  as well as Salesforce University @SalesforceU.

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