I'm an ex-Salesforce developer passionate in learning Salesforce to the best. Currently I am not working on Salesforce but have 1 year of real Salesforce project experience. Can I complete Salesforce Dev 501 Exam with just self preparation and with 1 year of prior experience? I would like to know the study plan of any successful certified Dev 501 programmer.

  • That is a very subjective question. 501 is a challenge, and I often think, that if you still need to ask what to do to make it .. you're not ready yet. Oct 25, 2013 at 13:15

2 Answers 2


I cannot tell whether you can pass the exam or not, but this is what i am doing to achieve that! I have 1.5 years of experience in Salesforce Platform.

  1. I started contributing to the StackExhange community. You would be surprised how much you could learn by just logging on to this site. I would suggest you to do so too.
  2. Watch all the recommended videos and read the study guide for 501.
  3. Follow MVPS and super contributors on twitter,blogs.
  4. Keep an eye on blogs.developerforce.com

If your scope is to just pass the certification, you might, but at least for me, its gonna take some more time.

  • Agreed, SFSE is a great place to learn and learn hands on as opposed to reading documentation. Real world experience is the key to passing any of the exams. If your comfortable with the platform and use it often and try to learn new things as much as possible, the exams will not be an issue. Oct 25, 2013 at 14:14
  • This probably goes without saying, but if you're not completely comfortable with everything in the Force.com Apex Code Developer's Guide, then you're going to want to spend time getting comfortable with any material in there you don't feel you know well because that's what you'll be tested on.
    – crmprogdev
    Oct 25, 2013 at 14:22

NOTE: this answer pertains to the 401 (configuration-based) exam, not the 501 (coding-based) exam

I passed the DEV 401 exam prior to actually being an SF developer/admin, purely through self-study (though I did fail my first attempt.

As you probably know, the 401 exam doesn't test Apex/Visualforce development skills, but rather the declarative programming tools provided by Salesforce - in other words, all the stuff you find on the Setup page's side bar.

My recommendation, in addition to those already posted: get yourself a dev account, and design a custom product from scratch. For example, I created an SF app to track and manage my job applications when I was trying to become an Admin.

It started out simple, with a few custom objects and fields, but I kept adding functionality as I came up with ideas, and started incorporating workflows, campaigns, even security controls (I imagined I was sharing this app with other applicants, and wanted to keep our data separate).

Importantly, when I came up with ideas for things I wanted to implement, I specifically avoided workarounds and easier solutions. Those are good things to know about and have at your disposal, but for the sake of learning you want to learn all the ways to solve a problem, and all of the natural limitations of Salesforce (many exam questions related to what Salesforce can and can't do with its default functionality).

  • 3
    Are you thinking about the DEV401 exam? Because the 501 exam includes a practical assignment testing Apex and Visualforce development
    – Doug B
    Oct 25, 2013 at 16:09
  • Yes, you are describing Dev401, as 501 does test Apex/Vf development skills. And you cannot take the Dev501 exam without already passing the 401 exam Oct 25, 2013 at 16:12

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