"SFDC should do for SFA's (SalesForce Admins) what Oracle did for DBA's, basically create its own job class."-- Quote from user comments (user "sandpcheryl" on May 14) on the Salesforce IdeaExchange community postings in response to the post "Salesforce.com Certification Program."
Touting what it calls overwhelming interest in certifications for Salesforce.com admins and developers, the CRM and most-recognized SAAS (software as a service) company announced four levels of certification. It's not cheap, but if it will create a job classification like Oracle database administrators (cha-ching) then I expect it to be very lucrative for those being certified, and those doing the certification.
The only minor issue I see is the cost, which is hefty compared with some of the other certifications that were being offered at the company's Dreamforce events, according to users on the InfoExchange boards. But if you are using it for a company, it's in your best interest to get them to foot the bill or negotiate for the money that would allow you to pay for the tracks you want and need. In the end, for those who already are doing it, this is a bit of a no-brainer.
"I signed up as a referral partner, with this you get access to the partner portal. There are 3 levels of certified consultant. Level 1 is basic, level 2 is advanced, and level 3 is for apex developers. I got the Level 2 one, and I got a nice little logo saying 'Salesforce.com Level II Ceritified Consultant' which I stick on my email footer. Cost $1000, but well worth it in my view," wrote user "ryan_hallman" on April 28.
It's not clear if the cost of the one mentioned here is for the same exact track as the programs now being offered by Salesforce. I certainly hope not for the costs described.
Here's a transcript of what was told to me about the program based on my questions (the PR company said I should attribute the answers to my questions to Eric Kelleher, vice president of Global Education Services for Salesforce.com ... OK, "Eric"):
Q. Are there various kinds of certification?
A. Yes. We offer two certification tracks -- for Salesforce CRM administrators and Force.com developers. We have announced the availability of our first four credentials:
-- Salesforce.com Certified Administrator
-- Salesforce.com Certified Advanced Administrator
-- Salesforce.com Certified Force.com Developer
-- Salesforce.com Certified Advanced Force.com Developer
Q. How much do the various levels of certification cost (if applicable), please?
A. Our certification packages (training courses + exam vouchers) are priced as follows:
-- $3,000 Administration Essentials (ADM 201) - preparation for the Administrator exam -- $4,000 Advanced Administration (ADM 301) - preparation for the Advanced Administrator exam -- $4,000 Force.com Essentials (DEV 401) - preparation for the Force.com Developer exam -- $4,000 Visualforce, Apex and DaaS (DEV 501) - preparation for the Advanced Force.com Developer exam
The $4,000 training courses are five days, and the $3,000 course is four days. These courses offer the best preparation for the certification exams. However, candidates who have already mastered the material (perhaps they are already a longtime Salesforce admin) can skip directly to the exams, which cost $200, for their credential. You can think of the exam as the SATs, and the courses as intensive prep courses from Kaplan or Princeton Review. More details are at http://www.salesforce.com/certification.
Q. Will you be farming out the certification to other training providers or is it solely run by Salesforce.com?
A. This announcement marks the availability of the first official certifications from Salesforce.com. The certification program is run by Salesforce.com and we develop and maintain all curriculum and examination materials internally. We also partner with experts in the training and certification industry where we feel their expertise can benefit our customers. For example, our testing center provider, one of the leaders in that space, allows us to offer convenient exam dates and locations. Through this partnership, we were able to offer over 150 test center locations nationwide from Day 1. We also leverage our Salesforce.com Authorized Training Centers, which host the preparatory training courses. These courses are offered in major cities in the U.S. and internationally. Classes are taught exclusively by Salesforce.com Authorized Instructors. These instructors are required to go through a rigorous, course-specific authorization process. They include our own employees as well as experts in our partner community. So as you can see, even though we are quarterbacking this program, it is definitely a team effort involving our partner community.
And so, when you're done with all these courses and exams and making huge money, riding around in your car made of diamonds, you can go and get certified in this, moneybags.