Last month, while at Dreamforce in San Francisco, I walked into a room at the Hilton, sat down, clicked a mouse for about 90 minutes, and then walked out as a certified Sales Cloud Consultant.
That was great, and it was definitely totally deliberate. But although taking and passing the exam wasn’t an accident, I do kind of feel that becoming a consultant was.
Because I’m not a consultant, am I? I’m an admin and, at a push, maybe a developer. I’ve only ever worked with end users, and my job title has never been anything grander than Salesforce Administrator. And I had no right even to take the exam, let alone to pass it, if you believe the official study guide, which says the certification is targeted at implementation experts, consultants, and business analysts with 2-5 years of experience. I’m none of those things.
But I took the exam because I’d gained a decent level of experience using, configuring and customising the Sales Cloud and, although that word ‘consultant’ unnerved me a little, I thought I had enough knowledge to scrape through.
And, having got through it, I think that in reality you have to take some of the Salesforce certification titles with a grain of salt. A Salesforce Administrator does a lot more than just administer and maintain an existing org; they help define its strategy, and they customise and extend its functionality. A Salesforce Developer doesn’t need to know any code or development languages at all. And, as I now know, a Salesforce Consultant needn’t have ever worked in a customer-facing business analysis and implementation role. Perhaps only the Advanced Developer and Technical Architect certifications truly reflect their audience in their titles.
So I have this message for anyone who’s thinking about trying for either the Sales Cloud or Service Cloud certifications but is also a little unnerved by the C-word and by those lines in the study guide: whatever your job title, whoever you work for, and however you view yourself, if a business pays and trusts you to be their Salesforce expert and to maintain, extend and improve their Salesforce org then, in a way, you are their consultant, you are their business analyst, and they are your customer. Just because you’re salaried rather than raking in a day rate doesn’t mean your knowledge is any less complete than anyone else’s.
So give it a go. I never thought of myself as a consultant but I somehow became one and, in doing so, I changed my view on exactly what a consultant is. Labels and titles aren’t important; knowledge and experience are.