Salesforce Certification & Trailhead

Recently Salesforce has announced that Trailhead badges will form an integral part of Salesforce certifications. It’s an interesting development, here are some thoughts…

With the continued expansion of Salesforce it is important that the supply of quality Salesforce engineers to administrate, configure and develop is also grown to meet these increased demands.

With this expansion in the number of Salesforce professionals it is also important that high standards and quality are maintained.


Having Salesforce certified engineers is a great way of identifying that staff have the knowledge needed, however it not the only consideration.

Many of the certification tests are purely multi-choice questions; it is quite possible to swat up the notes and pass an exam without ever having logged into a Salesforce org. It’s not a very practical exam. Certs should be done after a period of hands on experience; it’s validating your existing skills. Who would you rather employ? Someone with certification but no experience or someone with loads of experience but no certs?


Trailhead has gameified Salesforce training, it’s a paradigm shift in making training materials more accessible, interactive and practical.

The student is able to choose their path to progress through structured and guided training while keeping energised earning new badges, unlocking superbadges and gaining trail rank.

Traditional drier tutorial content is combined and enhanced with practical examination on a real Salesforce instance with exercises tested and scored.

What path to follow?

So where should we spend our time? Completing certs or following the Trailhead path?


  • is bite sized
  • caters for all levels – beginners to expert
  • is accessible (without cost or proctored exam)
  • builds knowledge and practical skills

Trailhead tests / badges are not conducted under exam conditions. There is a risk that
people could user information from 3rd parties to pass badges. Users would only be cheating themselves and because badges are progress in complexity it would defeat the goals of the learning process.


  • more valuable on cv
  • for more experienced users
  • advanced knowledge needed
  • requires commitment in terms of cost and re-certification time
  • not necessarily practical or real life skills
  • proctored / trusted

Certifications are sat under controlled exam conditions and this rightly provides the qualification with integrity and value.

Best of both?

It makes sense to combine Certifications and Trailhead.
People don’t need to choose different paths – they benefit from the accessibility and practicality of Trailhead combined with the gold standard of certification.

There are legitimate concearns of allowing certification to include trailhead elements that are not tested under exam conditions. Salesforce can however, take measures to mitigate against that including randomising question set & and challenge scenarios.

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