What Are the Best Salesforce Certifications and Badges to Start Your Career?

Dec 13, 2018
  • Salesforce Careers

UPDATED October 2021

If you’re a qualified candidate searching for a Salesforce career, you’re not alone. The demand for certified Salesforce talent is on the rise, with an anticipated two million new vacancies over the next five years.

Not only is the job market hot, but candidates are better educated than ever before. According to an industry leading Salesforce Salary Survey, 77% of Salesforce professionals have at least one certification, and many have completed additional Salesforce modules to hone their expertise and expand their knowledge base.

What’s more, those with a Salesforce certification earn more money. For example, a junior-level Salesforce certified administrator earns on average around $99,000, but those who have done advanced Salesforce admin certification courses report salaries of well over $120,000 annually.

With the plethora of certifications and Salesforce trails to choose from, it might seem overwhelming figuring out where to start. In this article, we will walk you through how to select the best Salesforce badges and certifications to both give you the education you need, and the skills to stand out in your Salesforce career.

What Are Salesforce Certifications?

Salesforce certifications are a standardized way to verify that you are knowledgeable in specific areas of the Salesforce ecosystem. These certifications cater to one of six major types of skill sets with 25 certifications and Salesforce provides over 100 training resources to achieve them. These robust, industry-recognized courses walk you through everything from the basics to advanced practical applications of the technology. The Salesforce Certification tracks and certifications include:
  • Administrators
    • Administrator
    • Advanced Administrator
  • Architects
    • Application Architect
    • Data Architecture and Management Designer
    • Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer
    • Identity and Access Management Designer
    • Integration Architecture Designer
    • Mobile Solutions Architecture Designer
    • Sharing and Visibility Designer
    • System Architect
    • Technical Architect
  • Developers
    • Commerce Cloud Digital Developer
    • Platform Developer I
    • Platform Developer II
  • Consultants
    • Community Cloud Consultant
    • Field Service Lightning Consultant
    • Marketing Cloud Consultant
    • Pardot Consultant
    • Sales Cloud Consultant
    • Service Cloud Consultant
  • App Builders
    • Platform App Builder
  • Specialists
    • CPQ Specialist
    • Marketing Cloud Email Specialist
    • Marketing Cloud Social Specialist
    • Pardot Specialist

Depending on your desired career path, you may want to pursue one or more of these certifications. When combined with Trailhead learning paths, it’s possible to develop in-depth knowledge and a specialized skill set in a unique niche or a broad topic. For more details on the various tracks and certifications, download this handy Salesforce Certification Path guide.

What is Trailhead?

In addition to the formal certifications offered by Salesforce, you also have learning opportunities through Trailhead.

Named for its similarities to the access point for a network of hiking trails, Trailhead is a portal where Salesforce users can come and follow a learning path to expand the depth and breadth of their knowledge on over 100 different topics.

Here, you can focus your expertise and glean new product knowledge, expand your leadership training, or delve deep into new business trends.

Every trail you follow and course you complete will earn you a new badge, and these credentials can be added to your LinkedIn profile or resume to showcase your skills.

How to Use Trailhead

Although there are over 100 different trails to choose from, it’s simple to start down the right path and earn the best badges to enhance your skills for your Salesforce career.

You’ll need to set up an account to get access to the free courses. After that, there are a few ways to ensure you’re following the best path. Salesforce has dedicated a significant amount of time, energy, resources, and aligned industry experts in training, course development, and digital learning to put together predefined trails to help newer Salesforce professionals blaze their trail.

When you first go to Trailhead, they have a dedicated guide depending on your career goals or journey to get started on the right path.

Once you log in to Trailhead, you have a few choices. You can start with a module, which is a bite-sized course that allows you to learn that subject matter piece by piece in whatever order you prefer. You could also elect to start with a project, which is an intensive hands-on training that will give you real-life experience with a defined problem and guided solution.


A third option is to begin with a trail. Here, you’ll get a step-by-step guided journey that’s based on your career goals. When you use a trail, you’ll have an opportunity to learn the basics of the platform as you expand your knowledge base and can branch out further once you’ve completed it.

For example, if you want to enhance your Salesforce Administrator certification, then you could start with the admin beginner trail. You could then take admin intermediate, and finally admin advanced while also sprinkling in courses that interest you through the user-created option, Trailmix.

You could follow a similar path if you have a Salesforce Platform Developer certification or want to develop expertise in one of the other areas, like Sales Cloud, Pardot, or Mobile Solutions Architecture.

Superbadges are the gold standard in Trailhead. These six to eight-hour intensive projects are challenging and difficult to attain, but these projects are worth more points than a traditional module.

Want Even More Training on Starting Your Salesforce Career?

Get your very first badge when you complete the official Trailhead module, “Career Development Planning,” created by the experts at Salesforce.


Trailhead Tips

Trailhead is designed to be super intuitive and easy to use, but there are a few tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your learning experience.

Use Filters

There are a ton of different trails on Trailhead, which means it can feel a bit overwhelming to find precisely what you want. Fortunately, there are a plethora of filters that can help you whittle down the list to what matters most to you.

The 34 different filter criteria let you sort your options by your level, role, the product, and more. This makes it easy to pick a path that suits your experience and understanding of the technology. For example, if you’re a Salesforce beginner or new to Trailhead, you can filter for beginner-friendly courses to get you started.

Create Your Own Trailmix

Following a pre-defined trail is the simplest way to navigate Trailheads. However, you also have the option of building your own learning path with Trailmix.

Just like when you create custom playlists on Spotify, with the Trailmix platform, you can hand-pick modules, projects, trails, and superbadges that most interest you. This is a great way to take control of your own learning and integrate yourself in the Trailblazer community.

Pro Tip: Trailmixes can also be used to onboard a new employee and help them become familiar with the Salesforce technology and modules that are pertinent to their new role.

Final Thoughts

There’s no wrong way to pursue Salesforce certifications and badges, but there are some best practices to make the most of the resources available to you.

Salesforce Trailheads are an innovative way to make learning accessible, and the content that’s available is designed for a wide array of users at every experience level.

Not only can these courses help you become a Salesforce master, but they can also give you skills and knowledge to get started in a successful Salesforce career.

Ready to put your Salesforce knowledge to use? Start searching VALiNTRY360’s Salesforce CRM jobs today.