Thursday, 10 March 2016

My Experience with the Salesforce Platform Developer I Certification

While soaking in the glory and accolades of my peers after passing the Platform Developer 1 Certification, quite a few people asked me for preparation tips. And suddenly it struck me! My experience could be of value to a lot of guys out there! Result… this blog, where I share my preparatory regime, experience and some tips (if you can call them that!) to help you appear and pass the certification exam.

Platform Developer I: a little Background

Last year, Salesforce announced changes to their Salesforce Developer Certification roadmap. The previous structure of the developer certification track was from Dev – 401 certification to Dev – 501 certification. However, from September 2015, Salesforce no longer offers Dev – 501 credentials to new applicants. The new certification structure enables an individual to advance through the Salesforce track in a step - by - step manner, from the Dev – 401 certification to Developer I (Programmatic) & Developer II (Advanced Programmatic) certification.


Former Structure

New Structure


Note: There are no changes in the syllabus; Salesforce has simply split the entire syllabus into two parts:
  • Platform developer 1 exam (Basic apex concepts)
  • Platform developer 2 exam (Advanced apex concepts)

Exam Format

You will find a lot of similarities here with the 401 exam but a little more time! ☺
  • 60 multiple-choice questions  
  • 105 minutes allotted to complete the exam (i.e. you have a little less than 2 minutes per question!)
  • The passing score is 68%, meaning you have to get at least 41 correct answers out of 60, which in turn leaves you with a margin of getting up to 19 questions wrong! Trust me, this was one of the most comforting factors!)
  • Registration fee: USD 200; Retake fee: USD 100
  • Delivery Option: Proctored exam delivered onsite at a testing center or in an online proctored environment, as mandated by Salesforce
  • Result: Provided immediately upon submission of exam as an on-screen text and by email.

Preparation

The Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I credential is for individuals who have knowledge, skills, and experience of building custom applications on the Force.com platform. This credential covers the fundamental programmatic capabilities of the Force.com platform to develop custom business logic and interfaces to extend Salesforce using Apex and Visualforce.

Anyone who's been working on the Salesforce platform for a while and has substantial experience on the OOTB (Out of the box) as well as custom development areas, can easily clear this exam by just revising the topics listed in the certification guide.


Topics

The questions are pretty much taken from the topics listed in the certification guide and the % of questions from the topics are similar to what is mentioned in the guide.

Sr. No.

Topics

Weightage (%) as per Salesforce Guidelines *

Weightage as per My Experience

1

Multi-tenant environment

3

Low

2

MVC architecture

3

Low

3

AppExchange

3

Low

4

Data Model & Management

12

Medium

5

Logic and Process automation

46

High

6

Visualforce (User Interface)

6

High

7

Lightning

4

Low

8

Testing

12

Medium

9

Debug & Deployment

10

High



Multitenant Environment

Tips:
  • Read benefits & constraints of sharing a single instance with multiple clients, and how enforcing limits helps to share the resources between the clients
Topic Content:
  • Benefits & constraints of sharing a single instance with multiple clients

MVC Architecture

Tips:
  • Questions simply ask which part of the Salesforce platform is related to Model / View / Controller
Topic Content:
  • Model / View / Controller architecture concepts

AppExchange

Tips:
  • A thorough understanding of managed and unmanaged packages, along with their usage covers most of the bases for this topic.
Topic Content:
  • Uses of managed package vs unmanaged package

Data Model & Management

Tips:
  • Questions were scenario based but quite simple. Concentrate more on object relationships (i.e. Master-Detail / Lookup) and different scenarios around them.
Topic Content:
  • Lookup and master detail relationships and security information
  • Usage of External ID fields
  • Import / Export data concepts
  • Operation (Create / Delete) of Schema builder
  • Evaluate the impact of schema design and its modifications, on Apex development

Logic and Process Automation

Tips:
  • Almost all questions will be scenario based or code snippet based!
  • Save execution order of apex triggers (Very very important!!). Questions will be tricky.
Topic Content:
  • With sharing and without sharing concepts (Container class / Inner class)
  • Container class, inner class and interfaces
  • Describe call information
  • Representation of picklist, multi-select picklist values in Apex
  • Exception handling
  • Sharing setting information with Anonymous block execution
  • Use of collections – List, Set, Map
  • Best practices of development, such as avoiding queries inside a loop; and avoiding DML operations inside a loop
  • Usage of normal DML operations/Database DML operations
  • Error handling concepts
  • SOQL and SOSL -  return type of both queries
  • DML statements and associated query limits
  • Workflow rules, validation rule, roll-up summary field, formula field, process builder (Note:  Using process builder, we have the ability to update child records!)

Visualforce (User Interface)

Tips:
  • Force.com page execution life cycle: basic questions would be there around what executes first
Topic Content:
  • Visualforce email template tags
  • Usage of standard controller, standard set controller, custom controller, custom extension and sharing information
  • Usage of Controller constructor or component constructor
  • Usage of Controller constructor or Apex: page action method
  • Merge fields, data binding between your VF page and Controller properties and methods
  • Usage of custom setting

Lightning

Tips:
  • If you have completed your trailhead badges on basic lightning experience, you are good to go! If not, well, what are you waiting for?
Topic Content:
  • Controller logic
  • Resource bundle
  • Benefits of lightning components

Testing

Tips:
  • Scenario and code snippet based questions
  • Best practices of test code development
Topic Content:
  • Considerations for test code development while carrying out production deployment of apex code
  • Test code for an inbound email handler class
  • Access modifiers of test classes, importance of @istest, @istestvisible, startTest and stopTest methods
  • Creating & Accessing Pricebook and product data in test methods
  • Process to store test data and load them in test method for bulk testing
  • Different places to run test classes and check their results

Debug & Deployment

Topic Content:
  • Usage of Sandbox and different types of Sandbox
  • Different ways for Deployment
  • Go through the log filters, know how to set the filters on apex classes & triggers
  • Usage of checkpoint window and debug log tab in Developer console
  • Possible source & destination in a change-set, deploy / rollback in a change-set, deployment connections

Important Reference Links


There are both scenario based questions as well as code snippet based questions. Most of the code snippet based questions were fairly straightforward without much twists.

Pro Tip: If you get stuck, try to reverse engineer from the answers available and match it back to the flow of code to see which option is the right fit for the given code.

Out of 105 minutes, it took me close to 75 minutes to complete all the 60 questions. I took 15 minutes to revise all the answers, ensured I didn't leave any question unanswered, and focused on the questions I had marked for review. Please make full use of the time available to review and confirm your correct answer.


What’s Next?


This exam is prerequisite to the Salesforce Certified Platform Developer 2 exam so I have already started my preparation for that! Be assured folks, I am going to keep you posted!

ALL THE BEST :)





Written by Yogesh Sharma, Salesforce Developer at Eternus Solutions

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