Salesforce System Architect: Tips, Role, and Responsibilities

Interested in becoming a Salesforce System Architect, but still have some questions about it? Travis, a System Architect in our West Virginia office, has the answers.

Is the Salesforce recommended material enough to prepare me for the Salesforce System Architect certification?

Yes. I think that in the beginning, it may be a little overwhelming. Make sure you understand the content well and don’t get discouraged. If some of the details seem like a little too much to memorize, just have a general understanding of everything. If you have excellent general knowledge, you should be okay on the exam. Some of the exams do get more specific than what you would ever actually need in a working situation, like the Identity and Access Management Designer exam in particular. So there are some things that you have to memorize, but I think that if you have a good understanding of all the content, you should be okay.

Is the System Architect certification a prerequisite for another certification, or is it the end of the career path?


The next step for a Salesforce System Architect is to become an Application Architect and then a Technical Architect. For the Salesforce System Architect and Application Architect, you need to pass four exams per certification. Once you get the certifications, you’re considered either a System Architect or Application Architect, depending on your achievements.

Becoming a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA) is a little bit different. There isn’t an exam as far as questions and answers that you go online to take. It’s actually like sitting in front of a board of people who have achieved the Salesforce CTA. They ask you questions about the solutions you present and then decide whether you should be a CTA as well.

Do you recommend following some particular order for the certifications?

I recommended starting with Salesforce Platform Developer I certification to understand the basics of Salesforce. They’re so specific compared to the other exams, so it is better to start with that one. Also, none of the other certifications build on the other. All three are separate topics.

How long does it take to become a certified Salesforce System Architect?

It depends. Things were a little different for me. It took me one year, which is probably a little unique. Salesforce says it typically takes three to five years and requires working with the Salesforce platform. But I kind of jumped through things a little bit as I didn’t have to learn much about the background and best practices because I already had experience with that. In my case, I was just learning the Salesforce platform and how to put that together with my experience. It’s going to depend on how much time you have to study, and what your regular work is. If your regular job involves many things related to the exam, you’re going to gain that knowledge more quickly. It just depends on your situation.

What other certifications or technologies would you recommend learning to be a well-rounded Salesforce architect?

As far as the certifications and Salesforce go, there are Certified Consultant certifications for different areas like Sales, Service, and Experience Cloud. You can get those and obtain a deeper knowledge of Salesforce and the technologies they offer. 

The MuleSoft certification is something I’ve seen a lot about lately. I’ve been studying MuleSoft quite a bit because many customers and Salesforce team members are using it. I recommend learning anything popular with your customers and your work area.

The big thing is just having a perfect understanding of the Salesforce platform and the fundamentals because you can apply those fundamentals to anything the customers need. 

Did you use other materials besides Trailhead from Salesforce?

I did for a little bit right before I took the exam. I looked at some practice exams just to know what I should expect. I found some excellent pages but others were out of date. You have to be careful, there is lousy information floating around that can encourage you to make mistakes.  

Some useful resources:

What makes a good Salesforce System Architect?

If you want to become a good Salesforce System Architect, you need to:

  • Understand the customer’s requirements and how to translate those into actual functional tasks.
  • Be able to work with others. Most of the time, architects are almost consultants within a company. You’re not just going to start a task, then sit back and work on it in isolation for a month. You need to be directly involved.
  • Communicate well. Whether it’s the people on your team or your customer, you need to learn how to give the best advice in a way they understand.
  • Have patience. Never jump into things too quickly. Always take your time and investigate. It’s okay to have questions. In those situations, it is better to say: ‘I’m going to do a little research. And I’ll get back to you.’

If you want to learn more, we highly recommend watching our webinar about Travis’ experience.

Top Salesforce Developer Certifications for 2021

Salesforce is one of the most powerful business technologies on the market, which makes Salesforce certifications a great way to gain expertise and enhance your career as a developer. At Oktana we are committed to the professional growth of everyone on our team. That’s why we have a specialized training team that guides and prepares our entire squad to tackle new challenges and to help them build expertise across the Salesforce ecosystem and across a range of languages, frameworks, and platforms. 

During recent months we have published many articles about Salesforce certifications.  They are compiled here to help you figure out which option is the best to boost your career:

1. Salesforce Certified Administrator


  • Exam Duration: 105 minutes
  • Questions: 60 multiple-choice questions + 5 non-scored 

The Salesforce administrator certification helps you better understand Salesforce CRM fundamentals and demonstrates your expertise and abilities in the platform. You should be able to maintain a Salesforce org,  support common business requirements and inquiries, and last but not least, execute Salesforce administrative tasks. 
Not sure what Salesforce admins do? Start with this Trailhead module: Salesforce Admin: Quick Look. (10 min)

2. Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I


  • Exam Duration: 110 minutes  
  • Questions: Content: 60 multiple-choice questions + 5 non-scored 

Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I is probably one of the most important and complete certifications that Salesforce offers. Additionally, it is a prerequisite for many other certifications such as the Salesforce Certified Platform Developer II and it is the first step to becoming a system architect. It is an excellent way to demonstrate to your peers and customers that you have the required skills to complete a successful development project.

3. Salesforce Certified Platform Developer II


  • Exam Duration: 120 minutes  
  • Questions: Content: 60 multiple-choice questions 

The Salesforce Platform Developer II certification exam may seem daunting at first, but with some studying and determination, you’ll have that certification under your belt in no time.

It’s important to mention that to achieve this certification you must have already obtained the Salesforce Platform Developer I certification. During your preparation for this certification, you will learn how to leverage the advanced programmatic capabilities of the Salesforce platform and data modeling to include more complex business logic and UIs in applications.

4. Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud Consultant


  • Exam Duration: 90 minutes  
  • Questions: Content: 60 multiple-choice questions 

This certification enables you to design and implement solutions that are maintainable, scalable, and meet nonprofit business requirements. During your preparation for this certification, you will build a solid understanding of data management and database concepts, understanding of internet technologies and cloud computing, and more. If you are interested in earning this certification, you must first become a Salesforce Certified Administrator.

5. Salesforce JavaScript Developer I


  • Exam Duration: 105 minutes  
  • Questions: Content: 60 multiple-choice questions 

The Salesforce JavaScript Developer I certification, introduced in 2020, is an excellent way to demonstrate experience developing with one of the most popular web programming languages. JavaScript developers work with front-end and back-end development and even related technologies like Salesforce’s Lightning web components. This credential is a great way to further your development career.

6. MuleSoft Certified Developer – Level 1 (Mule 4)


  • Exam Duration: 120 minutes 
  • Questions: Content: 60 multiple-choice questions 

MuleSoft streamlines the process of integrating various systems, like new APIs, Salesforce, ERP, or legacy applications. It is a unique technology that makes it easier to integrate systems and manage the entire lifecycle of your APIs, including building, testing, deploying, and managing.

Even though there are no prerequisites for this certification, our team recommends having background knowledge of REST API services, the basics of web concepts, HTTP requests, and knowing how these work from a server perspective.

7. Tableau Desktop Specialist Certification


  • Exam Duration: 1 hour 
  • Questions: 30 multiple-choice questions 

Tableau is a visual platform that transforms the way we use data to solve problems. It empowers people and organizations to make the most out of their data. In 2019, Tableau was acquired by Salesforce, but its mission remains the same: to help people see and understand their data. 

Our team highly recommends this certification. Companies like Amazon, Experian, and Unilever trust Tableau business intelligence (BI) and analytics software to explore, visualize and securely share data in the form of workbooks and dashboards. Tableau is very user-friendly with drag-and-drop functionality. Tableau Desktop Specialist allows you to quickly clean, analyze, and visualize your data.

8. Informatica Specialist 


  • Duration: 90 minutes 
  • Questions: 70 multiple-choice questions 

Okay, it’s not an official Salesforce certification, it’s more like a complementary certification. Informatica enables you to migrate data from different data sources and transform the data according to business requirements.

Informatica certification is in heavy demand by enterprise companies that have large databases they would like to connect to Salesforce. If you work with Salesforce, this certification will expand on the methods you know to integrate Salesforce plus enable you to provide additional value to your internal teams or clients. 

Interested in working on Salesforce projects? We are now hiring! Check out our open positions.