I am in a position currently to (80-90% chance) have formal Salesforce Training, and I'd like input from those (especially Certified) SF Admins and Devs about this.

  • I am a lifelong computer "expert"
  • I never touched SF before Sept 2010 (now do Admin/Dev work full time for my company)
  • I have taught myself everything I currently know about SF (and in recent months have made great use of Stack Exchange especially)

I'm highly confident I would breeze though an ADM201 certification (even with whatever holes are in my knowledge since I only have my current company as my experience in the last 3 years; we don't use "every aspect" of Salesforce which I'm sure is common around the globe).

I'm fairly confident I could POSSIBLY pass an ADM301 certification (but the holes in my knowledge are probably more glaring there).

I currently write (in my opinion) low-level triggers, and am highly comfortable with Workflows and developing mechanisms within the GUI itself, I touch on Visualforce "as needed" (not heavily yet). I am a very logical and organized person overall.

From my understanding, DEV401 has little to do (if at all?) with Apex code, trigger writing, etc. I've been told it's really a "Super Advanced Administrator" versus "Developer" certification. So apparently I'm teetering, experience-wise, very slightly already into DEV501 territory (which is not a short term or even long term goal right now).

Given this information, what is your input on my choosing to take the DEV401 class (not having taken ADM201 or 301) given my 3 years of on the job experience and lifetime of overall computer knowledge? I don't want to short myself by ending up in something that is too far beyond me and which I don't benefit from (possibly wasting my company's monetary, time and ongoing investment in me in the process).

  • 4
    Interestingly, someone I know just passed the DEV401 after just 6 weeks exposure to Salesforce...(which in my view tells its own story). He didn't do any formal training, just self teach on the web etc. If it were me, I would try and pas DEV401 using a similar approach and see if you can get funding for DEV501 class if there is such a thing. I am not certified, so feel free to ignore me :) May 1, 2013 at 16:14
  • I have DEV401 and DEV501 and I didn't do a course. There is a DEV501 course offered. Maybe see if the company will pay your exam fee for DEV401 and consider putting you on the DEV501 course later?
    – Doug B
    May 1, 2013 at 16:20
  • 1
    the Dev401 exam is easier the Adm201 exam
    – greenstork
    May 1, 2013 at 19:41
  • The DEV401 course should help you tackle both certs, the 201 course is only 3 days I believe as opposed to 5 (or is it 4) on the 401. You also get the intro to VF, you've made the right decision in my eyes. May 1, 2013 at 20:27

3 Answers 3


I think it's important to note that despite the numbering of the certifications they aren't really a progression.
The administrator track goes ADM201 - ADM301
The developer track goes DEV401 - DEV501
Most developers that I know have not done the ADM exams. A typical first exam for a developer would be DEV401
I think it's great that your company are giving you the option of training. I would expect from your background that you will actually find the course too easy rather than too hard!

It sounds to me from the experience you have and the tasks you are currently undertaking that you could prepare for and sit the DEV401 without the class. If your company is offering to pay for the training though then go for it you may find something of interest on it.

  • I'm getting the impression by your (and @Mohith's) responses that it's not as tedious as I previously thought. I really was lead to believe that, despite the fact it's the lower end Dev Certification, that it was akin to Advanced Admin on Steroids. Apparently it's really more akin to Standard Admin, but with a different focus. Interesting. Thanks!
    – AMM
    May 2, 2013 at 19:12
  • No problem. I would say the Admin is a wider scope, the Dev more about the coding options available on the platform and when you might need to use them (or not use them).
    – Doug B
    May 8, 2013 at 9:36

I would strongly recommend you to take DEV 401 and let me remove your wrong impression that DEV 401 exam will consists of apex and visualforce page concepts.

The exam is pretty basic and it will test your knowledge on


2)approval process
3)whether you understand how to design a good data model(use of lookup,junction object and master details)
4)Familiarity with reports and dashboards
5)Concepts around security and sharing (OWD and Sharing model)
6)Use and need for external fields
7)basic questions on figuring validation rules
8)Oder of exceution of triggers and actual use case for triggers


With your vast experience and some homework and the training class i am sure you will be ok

  • Thanks for the input! (see comment above on @Doug's answer).
    – AMM
    May 2, 2013 at 19:13

I agree with what's already been said re ADM not being necessary for passing Dev401. In fact, I've just done exactly that.

Dev401 is, by all accounts, a narrower syllabus - so easier to focus your study on what you will be examined on.

Good luck.

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