Salesforce Certification Pathways 2021 [Infographic]

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Salesforce is releasing more certifications than ever before, and if you’re like most Trailblazers, you just have an urge to “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”!

Here’s a map for where you can take your Salesforce career, showing the recommended experience and certifications you will need to progress to the next stage. Which path will you follow?

Read More: Complete List of Salesforce Certifications 2021

Dividing up the certifications into pathways was not an easy task. What this proves, is that a career with Salesforce can take different turns – Trailblazers can choose their next step from a range of options.

We chose the following paths, and gave them each a colour:

  • Admin
  • Developer
  • Consultant
  • Architect
  • Marketer
  • Designer

Although Trailblazers are able to choose their next step, there are some rules that need to be followed. Some certifications have prerequisites, other certifications that you need to pass before you can attempt your target certification. These prerequisites are what form the backbone of the pathways. A good example? Before you can take Advanced Administrator, you must have passed the Certified Administrator exam.

The dotted lines show which certifications are related to each other, but not strictly prerequisites. We didn’t want to leave these path options off the certification landscape!

You will find the recommended experience in months or years on each certification, in line with Salesforce’s suggestion. An important approach to certifications is for candidates to have the real-life experience working with these products; a certification may be one thing, but hands-on, tangible experience will be more valuable in the long-run. Something that is hard to test in a multiple-choice exam, but Salesforce have written their questions to oust out inexperienced professionals.

Notes on the pathways: as I mentioned, it was challenging to divide the certifications up into strict pathways. A couple of outliers spring to mind:

  • CPQ Specialist: neither core Administrator or Consultant.
  • Platform App Builder: part of the Architect pathway, but most popular among Admins.

39 thoughts on “Salesforce Certification Pathways 2021 [Infographic]

  1. Thank you for putting this resource together! One issue I did see, Platform Developer 1 is part of the Application Architect track, but not listed in the Infographic. I’m currently going for Application Architect, and I know this is listed in the Trailhead site as a requirement.

    1. Hi Christian, thanks for your comment 🙂 yes, you are right, and there is a line that goes from PD 1 to the architect track representing that it’s a prerequisite. This was the challenge we had to make a trade-off on – there are some certifications that overlap two categories. Hope this makes sense!

      Good luck on your Architect journey, let us know how you get on.

      1. cmhtechconsulting


        Agreed. I’d also put a dotted line from Advanced Admin to Data Architecture + Sharing & Visibility. For the truly master-level Admin leading a large global enterprise implementation of Salesforce, that level of knowledge is necessary; “Advanced Admin” is not enough.

        I’d almost group it a little bit by cloud, then branch by declarative-only vs. +programmatic. That puts Admin first, followed by a 2nd level which includes App Builder + Advanced Admin + Sales/Service Cloud, then the 3rd level which branches one way into specific clouds (incl. MC non-dev), and another way into the Application Architect/designer certs. At level 2 you also have PD1 when then branches at level 3 into PD2 or System Architect certs or product-specific (MC dev, Heroku, etc.). Then of course, the Application/System Architect pieces converge into CTA.

        1. Hi, thanks for taking the time to think this through and share your suggestion! After sitting down to digest and imagine it in my head, I have noted this down as a potential approach for our next version of the Cert paths. I will be in touch with you for any questions, if that’s ok with you?
          Many thanks, Lucy

      1. It depends whether you want to pursue a career as an Administrator (point and click/clicks not code), or Developer career (code).

      2. It depends whether you want to purse a career as an Administrator (point and click/clicks not code), or Developer career (code).

  2. Thank you very much for the detailed information . It’s very helpful for a person like me who wants to start a new career in salesforce.

    1. Hi! Thanks for pointing this out – it’s been added. It’s one of those lesser well-known ones, but now it’s on the map!

    1. Hi Kee, as there’s no certification for the Financial Services Cloud (FSC), currently you will need to pair up the standard certifications with real industry experience. Good luck with your journey, let us know how you get on

  3. Hi! I’m a beginner Trailblazer, thank you for clarifying the career paths for me!
    I was just wondering, I really want to get the Certified Administrator certificate, but how can I get the recommended real life experience under my belt if I only just started figuring out how to use Salesforce?
    Are there jobs out there that would actually let me try out and develop my skills as a beginner?

    Thank you for your answer!

    1. Hi Nina, how to answer this question isn’t straightforward. You can maybe volunteer your time for a nonprofit, but these organisations are normally using the Nonprofit Success Pack (that’s different from core standard Salesforce). Also, you have to be responsible to be Administering their Salesforce always with best practice in mind. There’s some advice in this post which you may find useful – if we hear of any organisations wanting support, we will let you know!

    1. It depends whether you want to pursue a career as an Administrator (point and click/clicks not code), or Developer career (code)!

  4. This is great article. Thanks Lucy.
    I am preparing for app builder and its helpful to see what I should cover.

  5. Hi Lucy,

    Thank you for the article. I’m about to take the B2B commerce Administrator certification and was wondering where it fits in the Infographic?

    Thank you

  6. Great article thanks Lucy – any chance you can make the diagram bigger? It is very hard to read, but it sums the learning paths up very well. Thanks.

  7. Hi, I’m new to Salesforce. I want to build my career in SF. Suggestions will be appreciated regarding which certifications are best for the beginners and the graphic shows the recommended experiences, how can I get the experience as a beginner.

  8. Hi, can we have an update with this infographic?
    The MC Admin is the pre-requisite to MC Consultant and the MC Email Specialist for MC Dev
    Also, can we include the new B2C Solution Architect.
    Thanks and more power to the team!

  9. Content here based on the salesforce certification pathways. Anyone searching for same topic may find their shelter here. I am sure many people will come to read this in future. Great blog indeed, will visit again future to read more!! You have done a great research for I feel, thanks for sharing.I have also found this resource useful and its related to what you are mentioning.

  10. Hi, can we have an updated version of this certification pathways?
    Specifically on B2C Solutions Architect and other new 2021 certs.
    Also, can we check the pathways on the Marketing certs, there seems to be an error on prerequisites of some.

  11. Very grateful that you have the recommended experience. It’s very helpful (I hope) for setting expectations for new SFDC user. As much as I love Salesforce (the company) some of the messaging sounds like “get a cert, get a job” and in a lot of cases, it’s not true.

  12. Hello – why is Platform App Builder a prerequisite for Marketing Cloud Email Specialist? Doesn’t make sense to me.
    Thank you

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