I had planned to take the Salesforce Certified Data Architecture and Management Designer exam at the beginning of 2020, but between a major change in the exam’s structure in March and challenges to both study and work from home since then I have delayed until now. After passing the exam this weekend I wrote down some thoughts:
This exam had a lot of multiple ‘Correct’ answers, requiring you to select the ‘best’ one. This made me uncomfortable, but my strategy was just to choose the answer I would use in real life and not try and second guess what the examiner was thinking.
Many questions were helped by my real life experience of large and complex orgs. In fact it would have been extremely hard to pass this exam by study alone. Some questions I had not studied for at all, and just knew from my own experience.
Maybe I’m now used to these exams, however I found the questions clearer and easier to parse than in my previous Salesforce exams. I didn’t even write down on the (supplied) paper pad anything to deconstruct them this time..
Areas to consider:
- The difficulty of the questions varied significantly, from really basic to really hard and nuanced. If you find yourself despairing then really just push on, you will get to easier ground soon enough. The pass mark is 59%, and I’m sure that you can get within striking distance by just answering the easy ones first.
- Many question topics were also covered by the Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer exam. Many people say that exam was harder, so I was well served by having completed that already. I would suggest putting in the study for that exam as well, even if you do not intend to take it yet.
- Be across your Salesforce licensing and usage limits. Yes, Salesforce can do it, but does your org have the licensing to back it up?
- Integration! When is it best to use Salesforce Connect, Data Loader, REST/SOAP API, or third party ETL tools? Think about scenarios where your users need to access data held in another system.
- Some questions were not clear if the best solution was a Salesforce tool or a third party tool. It is a Salesforce exam, so obviously you are going to be tempted to go with the Salesforce option with all other things being equal. Not sure what to recommend other than go with what you think is right.
- When to use a managed package from the AppExchange? This is challenging because many of these products charge by the amount of users, and if you have thousands of users then it is non-trivial to suggest your business procure a managed package in real life if it can be avoided. Salesforce does however recommend implementing custom code as a last option, so just bear that in mind.
- The Focus On Force exam preps and practice exams were valuable and good value. I feel that although they won’t help you pass the exam by themselves, they will nevertheless bring you to a higher level after you finish the trailhead materials.
The worst thing about these exams (not specific to Salesforce) is that there is no way to go back and discuss what the right answer should have been for some of those borderline questions. It would be great if Salesforce allowed us to flag and give feedback on each question as we go through. The one text field at the end doesn’t really help for this (at this point you have committed and just want the results already!).
There you have it. Good luck on your exam and reaching Certified Application Architect!