Becoming a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA) is soon going to become a lot harder. Hang on….it is already difficult, I hear you say. Yes it is. However, the step up from either the consultant or advanced developer exams was widely recognised as being too steep.

Salesforce has recognised this and aims to address this with the formation of the Architect Academy. For more details see here.

As a Salesforce Architect, I am in the process of preparing for the review board. I have completed part 2 of the CTA certification, and I have been working on the platform for over 6 years now. So when I got the chance to sit the first of the Architect Academy certification, I jumped at the opportunity. The exams I sat where

  • Salesforce Certified Integration Architecture Designer Exam
  • Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle & Deployment Designer Exam
  • Salesforce Certified Data Architecture & Management Designer Exam

I was actually expecting the exams to be very difficult, however I think all three are straightforward if you have been doing a senior dev / team lead / architect role for at least 2 years. All you need to do is review the respective study guides to ensure there are no gaps in your knowledge. Here are my top tips for each exam.

Salesforce Certified Integration Architecture Designer Exam

  • Understand common integration design patterns
  • Understand all the possible ways to integrate Salesforce with other systems, not forgetting the under utilised Outbound Messaging
  • Always take into consideration the impact on security and data volumes

Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle & Deployment Designer Exam

  • When to use ChangeSets vs Force.com IDE vs Metadata API
  • Sandbox types vs Release planning and Test planning (i.e. when to use a full copy sandbox)
  • Change management and project governance (i.e. when to engage with a steering committee)

Salesforce Certified Data Architecture & Management Designer Exam

  • Data modeling, management and archiving
  • What is considered LDV and the impact on the platform
  • Data migration patterns

My experience was that if you have experience of making these types design decisions on a daily basis then the exam will be a breeze. I actually found this easier than some of the more feature specific certifications because the questions and answers are not necessarily based on obscure platform features, rather good old engineering. Yes you need to know the platform limits and quirks, of course you do…otherwise it wouldn’t be a Salesforce exam right!

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