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The unofficial guide to become a Certified Salesforce Administrator (ADM 201)



In my attempt at maximum certifications in 60 days, I completed Salesforce Certified Administrator exam on February 11th 2013

So you have decided to ramp up your career and take certifications in your hand. Good choice. It is also likely that this is the first time you have heard of Salesforce, certification and since your company has a vision of you completing the certification you have decided to do it.

At this stage it is likely that,

You have done extensive googling. You have received countless brain-dumps. And you have received plenty of advise from different types of users which ranges from Admin certification is easier than making coffee to Admin certification is tougher than building a rocket-ship to fly off to the moon.

The purpose of this guide is to give you a clear understanding of what to expect when you are expected to become Certified Salesforce Administrator. To bring sense to all the things you have seen so far and to clearly explain what to do and what not to do.

Salesforce Certified Administrator is the first step of understanding Salesforce. It is one step below Salesforce Certified Developer and one step above what you know about Salesforce.

Few things to know before you go further:

  • The exam is NOT called ADM 201. ADM 201 is the name of course that you have to give before taking the exam. In web-assessor you won't find ADM201 but look for Salesforce Certified Administrator.
  • Salesforce certified administrator tests your knowledge on Salesforce CRM and basics of platform. It is useful even if you are indirectly involved in Salesforce. 


These are some Do's and Don'ts for the certification that will help you get through it.

Do's:
  1. First and foremost is go through the certification website to explore the topics for the exam. This is a very important step and many fail to do so. For one, Salesforce keeps updating every 3-4 months. Every year there are 3 releases and that adds the syllabus. It is very likely that the material you have is outdated or has some topics missing.
  2. Where to get help? The first stop should always be 'Help and Training' link in your Salesforce org. If your org has Premier Success Plan enabled, then that is sufficient material to clear the exam. If you are a decision maker in your org, I will recommend you get one.
  3. Salesforce offers you a free Developer Org that you can use as a practice org. Make sure you do a hands-on of topics and not just mug up things.
  4. Read the questions that come in the exam very carefully. The questions are twisted and scenario based. It is very likely that if you have mugged the brain dumps, your answers are either outdated or wrong.
  5. Focus on security model of Salesforce. By no chance, should you skip security. If you plan to do some bizarre stunt by reading only one topic for the exam (really?) you should do security.
Don't:
  1. Don't mug up any brain dumps that are available on the web or are available with your colleague or that stranger on Linkedin who has gracefully given them to you. It may be just me, but mugging up brain dumps is not going to do you or anyone any good. Also look up Do's point 1.
  2. Give any mock exams available on the web, many answers are conflicting and are also wrong. 
  3. During the exam, don't waste too much time on a question. If there is a question you do know answer for, mark it for review and come back later. ATTEMPT all the questions in the exam without fail. There is no negative marking in the exam, so don't skip any question.
  4. Don't, and this is very important, don't be afraid if this exam. It is one the most easiest exam to crack. It is introduction to Salesforce and its products. If you have a good understanding of Salesforce, you can easily pass this exam.
Exam Giving tips:
  1. The exam consist of 60 multiple-choice question
  2. You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam. 
  3. You get roughly 1.5 minutes per question, don't utilize it completely at the beginning. 
  4. The questions whose answers are straightforward can be answered quickly. Don't waste too much time on any question at the start of the exam. Answer those questions which you have full confidence and mark others as review.
  5. If you do not know the right answer, try eliminating the wrong answers first. Whatever remains, however improbable it may be should be the right answer.
  6. It should not take you more than an hour to complete the whole exam with this method, that gives you half an hour to solve the difficult questions. Once you have reached question number 60, go back to question 1 and this time quickly skim through answered questions and spend more time on questions marked for review.
Hope this tips help. Do let me know when you become a Salesforce Certified Administrator.

Comments

  1. Congrats.. so what other certifications are u targeting?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am only left with Service cloud as of date, that should be done in couple of weeks.

      Delete
  2. Hi am working as Tech Support and using this Salesforce tool for justing dialing up and i have planned to do 1 certification i.e CCNA and in future i have planned to do ADMIN201 certification. But i want to know will this CCNA certification help me out for ADMIN201 certification. Plz help me out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you are utterly confused between the two certifications. ADM 201 is a Salesforce.com certification and the syllabus between both are vast different.

      Delete
  3. Pls provide us some material for certification.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I have written on top, I have used only the videos in the help and training for certification.

      Delete
    2. Hi Siddhesh,
      Are you referring to "only the videos" in the basic support package or the Premiere Success support package with 100+ training videos)

      Thank you, in advance, for your help in this regard,
      TMM

      Delete
  4. Can you please mail me the required material for ADM 201 at neeraj.pumba@gmail.com .

    Best Regards,
    Neeraj S

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whatever I had is already written in the post.

      Delete
  5. Could you please share the videos you have with you. Thanks Sid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi PKR,
      The videos are part of Help and Training that comes with Salesforce.com.

      Delete
  6. Hi, I´m new to salesforce and are really interested in the admin certification. I´m curious about how much time would a person without knowledge need to prepare for the exam.

    Thanks and by the way great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a difficult estimation, my first concern would be why would a person without knowledge get prepared? Instead spend few weeks understanding Salesforce and maybe building few sample apps. Lookout for fundamental book that has step by step guide to build an app (no code). Once you are familiar with that it will take another couple of weeks to prepare for the exam.

      Delete
  7. Hi ,

    I am working in SAP ERP in functional. I am looking to take some certification in Ssalesforce CRM. Could you please let me know which Salesforce CRM i should take

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Sayantan, if you are looking for functional certification, ideally you should target Salesforce Certified Admin (course ADM 201) and then proceed for Salesforce Certified Advanced Admin

      Delete
  8. Hey Sidd!

    There are only nine videos in help and training:

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnobS_RgN7Ja6atRnIjbfRF0GnAC8rB_I

    Are you talking about these videos or some other videos. If you are talking some other videos, please tell where and how I can find them. It would be greatly appreciated if you can provide me a link or something to find them.

    Thanks,
    Surya

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suryapal,
      Most of the training videos I am referring to are premiere training package. You can ask your team to get you a subscription. They are self help videos that comes bundled in.

      http://www.salesforce.com/in/services-training/training_certification/

      Delete
    2. Thanks Sid!
      let's say...If I don't have access to those videos then what alternate study material do you suggest??

      Delete
    3. Alternately, if I was studying for it as I did for DEV 401, open the PDF look at the topics and click on Help and Trainings, go through each and every thing. Prepare a study plan and get the topics right.
      Also google for other unofficial guides, there are plenty out there.

      Delete
  9. Great site! I just got certified as SF Admin by self-study for a few weeks. I am wondering why the Developer exam seems more like Admin? Not sure if I should take Advanced Admin or Developer next. I am also learning Java, Apex and VF (self-study.)I have some professional SF Admin/Developer experience, but it seems recruiters want more. What is a good way to get a foot in the door?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Developer exam is just like Admin, there is some 5-10% difference in both. Well its a valid choice between Advance Admin or Developer. The question you should ask is, what do you see yourself doing 5 years from now? Do you see yourself as a developer or Admin. While developer certification will open the door for development recruiters, Advance admin will do the same for Admin recruiters. Having just an admin will give you advantage over someone who doesn't have any certification, nothing else.
      Btw. Sales Cloud and Service cloud has less people certified

      Delete
  10. Okay, I believe I've found the right resource to finally get my certification. Companies do not, I repeat, DO NOT want to hire an Admin, or Analyst unless they are SF certified. There are many hot jobs available in my area and no one is even willing to talk to me unless I have that dang certificate under my belt. And since I can't afford the $4K course I have to rely on self study. I spent years as the SME in my organization on utilizing the SF interface, creating reports and dashboards, importing mountains of data, end user training, custom HTML email template set up, etc...but I wasn't considered an Admin. I was a super user and had all the access I needed to do my work and then some. I can't tell you how many times my hand was slapped for doing something that the Admin Team is responsible for, like creating a new document folder or creating a new report type or adding a user to a private reports folder. Something I could do on a moments notice for my users that would take over a week to get the admin team to complete. I honestly wouldn't consider myself a true Admin. I don't know how to create workflows for example, but understand how they work. I know I can learn my way around the system, on the job, but since hiring companies nowadays require you to be certified, I have no choice but to dive in and learn as much as I can on my own, take the test, pass it, and get a job!

    Anyway, I won't bore you any longer. I plan to bury my nose in these study guides and I also found a printable tips sheets site on the Help & Training section from the help.salesforce.com page. Hopefully those will help me enough where I can pass the exam, FIRST attempt.

    I will let you know when I get certified! The sooner the better!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Dear Siddhesh,

    I am preparing for Administrator Certification. Which release should I focus on - Summer '13 or Winter '14 as I see Winter '14 Release Notes and New features are released. Please suggest.

    Regards,
    Seno.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is the date for your exam?

      Delete
    2. I haven't booked a slot yet but I am planning to complete it before 10th of September.

      Regards,
      Seno.

      Delete
    3. According to certification.salesforce.com site currently the exam is Summer '13 version and then the first week of November they will be updated to Winter '14. You can check our certification site for the exact dates.

      Delete
  12. I was going to register for the exam at (https://www.webassessor.com/wa.do?page=publicHome&branding=SALESFORCE) but one of the required fields is "Company" and I am currently unemployed. Does this mean I can't get certified until I'm hired? It's a catch 22 if that is the case. I can't get hired unless I'm certified and I can't get certified if I don't work for anyone.

    This will put a huge damper on me getting certified if I need a job first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not think that having a job is any requirement for the job. I know many people who are unemployed that have taken up the certification. Why don't you just put in 'NA' in that field and register.
      AFAIK this field is required later on if you wish to link your certification with the partner portal for any company that hires you, you can change it later.

      Delete
  13. Okay, great. I didn't want to give false information, but if it's not required then NA will suffice. Or I could use my own companies name (I'm not doing business at the moment but I have a registered business name).

    Thanks for the quick response.

    I'll be taking the exam online and I know there are restrictions on referring to documentation during the exam. I also know there will be an active webcam during the time I take the test. Are they really REALLY strict about this? Meaning, if I truly adhere to the rules of not referencing anything, but my eyes glace away from the camera and I'm truly not looking at notes or a 4,000 page manual, maybe I look away for a few seconds because there's a UFO outside my window, will they figure that as I'm cheating? Staring at a computer for 90 minutes without blinking or adjusting my eyes a few times I would think should be acceptable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes you can do that I think use your company name, however if you are not very unsure, log a case on certifications site, you will get the official response.

      About the restriction on taking it online, unfortunately I cannot help you much on this. I prefer taking it at the proctored center because you get a sense of seriousness at the center. Although if there is indeed an UFO outside the window, cheating on the exam would not be your biggest problem, will it? ;)

      Delete
  14. I work for a small business and we will be using Salesforce as a Customer Relationship Management tool. We want to be able to use SF to help manage sales cycle, in field and corporate performance, relationship management as an interface between customer service and the sales team, marketing event ROI and control of key documents, financial management and metrics reporting. We also will use SF to integrate with a number of our existing operational systems.

    I have been given the task of training the company on SF because none of us know anything about it. I plan on teaching myself and creating modules for the company as I go along. Do you think it's worth my time getting certification after I have trained myself? Do you have any recommendations on training a team on SF? Any advice you have is appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Khadija

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kj,
      Good thing to connect. It is always recommended to have a training program structured around certification. That will give you a proper evaluation of the effectiveness of the training. Certification also will give you credibility of what you are teaching others is aligned with the Salesforce certification plan.

      In my daily job, I ran two programs, one for campus hire developers who would be trained in Salesforce certified developers and end-user customer training that was structured around Certified Administrator. Ideally, ill prefer a two weeks to one month training program starting from Basics of CRM, Cloud and how the system aligns to their daily job. You could also do the train the trainer approach where you select few people from each department and explain them the module best used for their daily job.

      Delete
  15. Hello,

    I wanted to know what about the people who are looking out for a career in implementation for sales force....which certification will be better for them and from where can they get the study material as the link mentioned above gives information which is not sufficient.

    It would be great if somebody can guide me on that.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Adam,
      To start with Certification, I am compiling a set of question that will be answered in this week. I will answer few more questions with links on that blog

      Delete
  16. Hi Siddhesh,

    Your articles are very informative and really love the way you present them. Thanks for your effort in sharing what you know!!

    -RP

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm looking into becoming a salesforce administrator in Charlotte NC, thanks for the guide. Hopefully this helps me out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi sid..
      am from mba hr background.. now am prepairing for adm201. my doubt is that am i eligible to learn salesforce? pls gimme rep sir..

      Delete
    2. @Prashanth
      I am not aware of any condition for ineligibility for the certification. Unless you come across any, anyone can learn Salesforce. You need to know what job function you want to serve consultant, developer or Admin to take up the task.

      Delete
  18. HI Sid,
    Thanks for the information

    please let me know chances to get a job in SFDC admin or Developer..
    i am at 0 level ..
    i need to learn which is the best to get a job ..(developer means does we need to developer the code..)

    what is responsibilities of admin ..
    if i certified , then how much chance to get a job..

    please reply sir..


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are two aspects for your question. Yes, Developer job description requires you to have programming knowledge. Ideally you should start with Java but if you are at level 0, you can start with Apex. Secondly, developer certification does not include coding but on Salesforce coding starts at the very later stage and you need to know configuration before you take up coding.

      Now about the job, yes, statistically you have a better chance in landing a job if you are certified. If there is a job you are applying as a Salesforce developer, having a certification will improve your chances.

      Delete
  19. Hi Siddhesh,

    I have got Salesforce experience for about 8-9 months. I worked as PM for 4-5 E2E implementation. Now, I plan to move to Australia. I know I wont be able to get PM role there. Since I have got some knowledge of salesforce and have worked as PM cum BA for my projects, I think I should try for Salesforce Business Analyst job in Australia. Which certification I should go for?

    Do you provide any training also? I think I dont need a complete training. I need a crash course.

    Can you please help me?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bharati,
      For a BA role you should target for the Consultants certification. Sales Cloud Consultant and Service Cloud consultant should be your ultimate goal. These require an Admin certification and if you are up for it, go for Advance Admin along with it.

      No I do not provide any training, all material I have to share is in public domain on my blog.

      Delete
  20. Hi siddhesh,
    I dont have the programming knowledge and coding knowledge now i wish to join in sales force admin course in chennai. can u sujjest to which course can i take for job oriented.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Siddhesh,
    What are the videos that are informative in 'Help and Training - premier online help' for DEV 401 certification ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you have received the videos you wanted. Ill see if I can find one. i took my DEV long before I got access to premier online help, so didn't refer them.

      Delete
  22. Hi Siddhesh,

    I am totally new to this world of Salesforce, Could you please guide me how can I start learning this technology. What are the requirements before I start with this course.


    Regards,
    Adarsh

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Siddhesh,
    Could you please assist in providing any notes/pdf/links to the training videos to achieve the certification (ADM201), Help and training section withing my org, is have stuff related to it.
    Please assist.
    Thanks very much, keep with the amazing work.
    Sonil

    ReplyDelete
  24. Find salesforce training through this blog www.sellinginthenewage.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Siddhesh,
    You are a life saver, please please please answer my question...and after reading your responses above i'm sure you will do. I have been working as an admin for last 3 years, i have recently moved to a company again for a admin job...the thing is...i want to move for a business analyst or consultant profile in SFDC....i have taken care of entire customization, configuration, integration, automation and management of SFDC for my previous company for 2.5 years and in my current company i am doing the same things from last 6 months...will i be considered for BA or consultant roles?......i am planning to take admin and DEV 401 certifications soon and if required i will take the Sales cloud consultant certification also...How tough is this exam....i am quite sure that i can clead DEV 401 and ADM 201...but not sure about sales cloud....please throw some light on sales cloud exam and show me the path to become a SFDC consultant...Thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nitesh,
      You should open discussion with your manager or supervisor about your aspirations to become a functional consultant. I am sure, he would mentor you in the right direction of your company.

      As far as certifications are concerned I would recommend you start with ADM and DEV. I have written an article on Sales Cloud (http://force.siddheshkabe.co.in/2013/05/salesforce-certified-sales-cloud.html) that should help you with the certification.

      Delete
  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Sir,

    I have following doubts on salesforce to take up this ....Basically i am network administrator, having 6 years experience . I would like to change career to salesforce admin Job please help by clarifying below doubts
    1. I don't know programming languages, still shall I work as salesforce admin ?


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are two parts to becoming a Salesforce admin. One is the configuration (using clicks not code) where you have to understand the system. Other is using customizing which could mean little coding. For the first part you need not know any programming language, for the second part it is helpful if you know JAVA (but not compulsory) but having a fresh start on Apex/Visualforce code can also help.

      Delete
  28. Hi Sir,

    I am a sales professional with 7 years of experience in online international sales. I have knowledge about Wordpress, Opencart, magento, joomla, Domains Hostings, Microsoft CRM, Corporate mailing solutions etc. We use sales force CRM in our company to manage our sales and projects. I would like to be a Sales force admin. I would like to know what is the scope in terms of career. It will be a field switch for me and would like to know if its worth it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Divya,
      I am a Salesforce loyalist and have been working on this platform for past 5 years. In terms of career I think Salesforce would be a good opportunity to learn new things and explore it in depth. It is a booming technology and more and more people are using the platform. So platform wise I think the opportunity is ripe for you to move on, if it fits your personal ambition or goal, ill say go for it.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Siddhesh for your valuable comments. So what what would be the first step? How to start? From where can i find the study material/ guides etc.
      And I am truly glad, i found your blog to give me best directions :)

      Delete
    3. Thanks Siddhesh for your valuable comments.
      So how to proceed and what will be the first step? How to start studying and from where can i find the study material/ guides.

      I am truly glad I found this blog and you to guide me with the right directions :)

      Delete
  29. Hey There,
    Advise needed : I have been working on an Sales cloud app for a few months now ( professional ) , took a training session before that. Im thinking of studying all the material needed for DEV 401 and take in on Dec 23 rd, so i have 13 days , do you think its doable ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Tamara,
      Personally, Ill say doable. I have seen people to clear the exam studying only for 3 days, so yes it is doable. I studied for a week before appearing for the exam. Focus on few key parts like security and object model and you should be good.

      Delete
  30. Good to hear ! .. Thank u for all the tips on ur blog.
    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi , I.m a marketing and sales guy and recently my company has got this CRM where I'm managing all the data related to the accounts ...would it be beneficial for me .. Kindly enlighten me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maruti,
      Yes, doing a ADM certification will make you a Salesforce Ninja. As a Sales guy you are really good at your job but when it comes to using a system, you will find a few tasks cumbersome and overhead on your daily work. Doing a Certification will help you use the system efficiently and extend your skills beyond your daily job.

      Delete
  32. Siddesh,

    I am taking this next month. I have been preparing since 15 days. I went to certification website and downloaded their PDF. Under exam outline, there are topics that have been outdated by Salseforce in their recent releases. Similarly, newer topics haven't been included in outline.

    My question is, what to do about these topics?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thanks for sharing valuable information and it is useful for Sun it labs provides the best Sales force Online Training classes.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Siddesh

    Thanks for this post... its a life saver for many...

    I am due for my certification exam on 9th Jan 2014. My company does not have a premier success plan because of which I have practically no study material to go through. Please guide me on some alternative as I am sure my company will not get the success plan just for me.

    Are there any other reading materials available?

    Thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi,
    I am new to salesforce and coming from a QA Project Manager background trying to shift my career to salesforce. Don't want to spend a lot for training as my company does not have salesforce implementation and will have to look for opportunities outside.
    Admin or Dev? No Dev background. Please suggest a study material to refer and how can i get access to the salesforce application as i think just reading the document and preparing for certification is not enough.
    Kindly suggest

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Siddesh ,

    Just want to know that to begin with saleforce , which certification is better to give first a) ADM 201 -admin or b) DEV 401 -developer cetification .

    Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Siddhesh,

    I am looking to appear for the Sales cloud Consultant certification , Can you provide me if you have any related study guide or reference links as we have for Dev401?


    Thanks,
    Santosh

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi Siddhesh,

    Can you please advise approx. how long (devoting 2 hours/day) will it take to learn Apex/Visualforce coding knowledge for somebody having knowledge of intermediate level of SQL?

    Secondly, will knowledge of Apex/Visualforce help if one wants to go for the SFDC BA or SFDC Dev track?

    Lastly, which is relatively easier - Apex/Visualforce code OR Intermediate level Java, in your opinion?

    Thanks a lot.

    Regards

    ReplyDelete
  39. I just failed the Salesforce Administrator exam recently. Any study tips or helpful guides would be greatly appreciated. You can e-mail me at my personal e-mail address at andrewbishup@gmail.com. Thank you all for your support.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thank you provide valuable informations and iam seacrching same informations,and saved my time SAS Online Training

    ReplyDelete
  41. writing exams is a tough time and requires a lot of tiny writing aspects that help you to write ultimate essays.
    You can learn cool techniques here

    ReplyDelete

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