At Salesforce Training, we get a lot of requests from individuals who reach out to us with a very simple request – they want to learn Salesforce. It’s usually accompanied with a question about how much will it cost. We wrote this guide with a focus on steering you in the right direction and giving you a list of resources to consider, no matter your specific situation or budget.
So here are some questions to consider first.
Are You Training a Team?
As a Salesforce Training company our primary focus is customized corporate training programs. So, if you are reading this and you have a sales, marketing, or customer service team, business analysts, Administrators or developers that need to learn how to use Salesforce properly, then simply schedule an appointment with us to discuss your training needs.
“This training was excellent. Mark was a great trainer and I have made this known to my manager. I have even suggested they use him to train the business. I believe this would be very helpful to them and give them a better understanding of how the application works.”
Business Analyst, Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Are you just looking to improve your own knowledge of Salesforce and perhaps get certified?
If you’re an individual looking for guidance on how to learn Salesforce so that you can possibly become a Salesforce professional, find a new career, and/or get certified, then read on.
First off, you need to understand that Salesforce is a massive piece of technology. No one person knows it all. You have to decide what area do you want to focus on and then pursue that path. Now, given that many people reaching out to us want to understand basic Salesforce Administration first, which is actually the best first step, I’m going to provide you with all of the information you need for that, including steps to get your certifications.
Option 1 – Instructor Led, Live Training
This option is really the Cadillac of training solutions. For many reasons, nothing beats Instructor led training, and the best provider of public Salesforce courses out there are our friends at Stony Point. They have a wide range of Technical (think: Administrators and Developers) and End-User (think: Sales and Service reps) classes. Here is a link to their course calendar. They run a one-week long (Mon-Fri), 40-hour class, Salesforce Administration and Configuration in Lightning Experience each month.
Positives: Instructor led means lots of supervised hands-on activities, immediate answers to your specific questions, focus is on prepping for certifications, and a strict schedule means you finish in 1 week.
Drawbacks: Pricey, but given that it’s the best training option available, not surprising. And actually, a bit less than what Salesforce charges for their public courses.
Tip: If you’re signing up for one of their courses, tell them you came from Salesforce Training and they’ll reward you with a discount.
Option 2 – Instructor Led, Recorded and Live Training
Another option for Instructor led training is Mike Wheeler of Mike Wheeler Media. Mike has recorded a series of video tutorials to watch and learn Salesforce at your own pace. His courses cover many different areas primarily for Administrators, Developers and Consultants. He has recently added live training segments to his offerings. His courses focus both on becoming a better Salesforce user and also how to pass certifications. Mike is a super instructor and takes difficult concepts and makes them easy to understand. I’ve been a Salesforce Trainer myself for over 12 years, and I have benefitted from Mike’s classes.
Positives: Less expensive, videos allow you to watch at your own pace.
Drawbacks: Live sessions are scheduled, meaning that you just need the discipline to show up for class, but then it’s over in a week. Video sessions require more discipline to stick with it, and no interactive back and forth with the instructor to answer questions.
Option 3 – Self-paced Learning
You’ve probably heard of Trailhead, by Salesforce.
Trailhead is a series of online tutorials that lead the user down various “trails” or learning paths. Lessons are presented in a specific sequence, so the user has a predefined path to follow and a “guided, curated” experience. Some of the modules are simply literature that you read with a short quiz at the end, while others are more hands-on where you would actually play within your own developer edition of Salesforce. The user gets a badge after completing each module and can achieve various status levels based on number of badges and points they accumulate. The ultimate achievement is Ranger status.
Positives: It’s free! Also, you can learn when and where you want. Also a great resource to get you familiar with the certification process and suggested learning paths.
Drawbacks: Well, same as the positive. It’s free! (So basically what we’re saying is, you get what you pay for. Having said that, Trailhead is very well done and easy to use.) All learning is solo. Simply relying on Trailhead to learn everything requires a lot of internal motivation to keep at it. Plus, there is a TON of material. Can be hard to know where to start, although there are recommended “trails” for various certification option.
Option 4 – Certification Practice Exams
This isn’t so much of a standalone option, but rather something you should consider in addition to one or more of the above options. In my experience you really should test yourself against official practice exams. Here are some of my favorite resources for practice exams:
Focus on Force, www.focusonforce.com
Certified on Demand, www.certifiedondemand.com
Salesforce Ben, www.salesforceben.com
Positives: None of these are very expensive, and the questions are all validated, and provide thorough and detailed reasoning and references behind why the answers are correct or incorrect.
Drawbacks: None, really, but you should not just study by writing exams. Focus on learning the material first, and then use the test exams as a final preparation for writing the real test.
Warning! I would strongly caution anyone from using the Salesforce certification ‘exam dumps’ that you can find, if you look for them, on the web. These go against the entire premise of Salesforce’s certification programs, and frankly, they lower the value of certifications for everyone. Generally, they are poorly written, cannot always be trusted to provide the correct answers, offer no guarantee that you’ll ever see the exact question again on any exam, and don’t provide rationale or explanations for the answer. More seriously, if you are caught using them, Salesforce can rescind any of your certifications. Just trust me on this…stay away from exam dumps!