I am fairly new to Force.com development (less than a year). I did not learn it from the ground up. So I think it will be good to study for the developer exam to strengthen my basics and improve my overall knowledge of Force.com + it will be great to have this certification.

Now it's surprising that there is not a lot of great information on the web about how to go about obtaining this certification. Most other major certifications have dedicated study guide books available but there are few for Force.com and I don't think any of them are official.

The official page has little information. The Study guide gives a broad description of the topics in the test.

I see a lot of the esteemed members are here certified developers. I think if you guys could give us a little information, hints/tips and some advice on how to prepare for this exam, it will really be of great help. Also is DEV401 required/helpful?

Also if we could get recommendations for great resources(books, online training etc) and practice tests it will be awesome.

  • 3
    Wow this question just became the first "Famous Question" of this site. :)
    – Richard N
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 16:35

11 Answers 11


While the study guide is minimal, it is intended to be. And the topic list is essentially your list of what to learn in order to pass. Don't worry about the big topics, but look at the small ones, rate yourself on a scale of 1-3.

  1. I know it
  2. I kind of know it/I need a little bit of review
  3. I have no clue/I want to build it to see if I understand it

Forget the 1's

Start learning the 2's

Work your way into the 3's

I would say that this advice could be followed for any of the certification exams.

As for the developer certification specifically, the Force.com Fundamentals is good. The Force.com workbook. And don't overlook the online help and training. When the exams are reviewed, the first point of reference for any question that needs to be modified/clarified is the help and training.

A few weeks before your exam, go through the current release training. Every question for every exam is reviewed every single release. If you began your prep in Winter 13, but your exam will be on Spring 13, you might be relying on old information.

Finally, I always caution people about practice exams. Because of the always changing nature of the platform (and by extension the certification exams), that person who wrote those practice questions a year ago, may have been spot-on correct then, but a year later they may be out of date. Unless the questions you are using list the release they were written for, don't rely on a successful practice exam to tell you you will pass our certification.

I teach our Developer curriculum (including DEV401). That's my job at SFDC right now. Those people who go on and get their Developer Certification after DEV401 invariably tell me that it was a huge benefit to take the course. Everyone who teaches it themselves has to be Developer certified, as well as go through our rigorous instructor certification process. So if that is an option for you. Yes. Take DEV401. You will not regret it.

  • 8
    +1 on the practice exam comment. I remember looking at one back when I was studying for my 401 dev cert and the website was horrible to use and the answers were way off (gave up after a few questions). Use at your own risk! DEV401 on iTunes with Chris Barry and the Force.com fundamentals book was good enough for me. I would have loved to go to the 401 class in person, though. If it's a choice I'd do that in an instant. :) Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 0:28
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    With regards to the 1, 2 & 3 above, I do the same in the actual exam using tally marks to track each. Gives me a very rough idea of my performance. I wrote up my thoughts on certs in a few blog posts, not worth of an answer in themselves but they may be of help: laceysnr.com/search/label/401
    – Matt Lacey
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 21:35
  • 3
    I think SFDC needs to make free practice tests available. It really is a major hurdle for people. Commented Feb 13, 2013 at 21:35
  • For the items in categories 2 & 3, I have found the feature-by-feature Implementation Guides & Tip Sheets that Salesforce provides, and which are all listed here: help.salesforce.com/apex/… to be very helpful. I'm using them now as I prepare for the Developer exam I'll take at Dreamforce. Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 23:50

The first resource you want is Force.com Fundamentals. This is by far the most beneficial resource for learning the platform. In order to go through this resource, you really need to set up a Developer Edition account.

Outside of that, there used to be the Dev 401 classes available on iTunes, but it appears that has been removed (for the US at least). If you are a Partner, there is training material available on PartnerForce. You can also supplement some additional material from the Force.com Cookbook.

On top of that, there are some good workbooks you can go through:

Finally, you can check under the App Logic -> Point and Click section of the documentation Salesforce provides.

By far, the best way to study, is to use the platform. The test does not involve Visualforce or Apex, but you must understand the point-and-click functionality. It is best to have about 6 months of Salesforce experience before attempting this exam. Good luck!

EDIT: I have expanded upon my answer with an article I wrote for my blog, Salesforce Certification Series: Developer

  • 1
    Thanks for the great info Jesse! I will have my dev401 exam on Nov. 17 and i am currently confused about release number - 13 or winter14 on that date? Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 8:36
  • That's a great blog Jesse and thanks for the tips. I am preparing to take the exam in a couple of weeks. Hopefully I can add my own experience here.
    – Richard N
    Commented Nov 4, 2013 at 18:25

I've seen someone with no Salesforce experience (But a Java/IT background) pass the 401 after two weeks of concerted study and no Salesforce background so my first suggestion is not to fear it.

Pay attention to the weightings in the Study guide as this translates to question counts and significance in the exam.

As others have mentioned the 'Developer' title is also somewhat of a misnomer as its more an advanced configurator exam (you don't deal with code apart from knowing about capabilities of Apex/VF in general terms).

Finally, the Developer Certification is the doorway to the Advanced Developer Certification which requires much more knowledge in the way of force.com development. This certification will take upwards of a year to obtain given the delays in windows associated with the Assignment and in marking the assignment, so if you want to start that journey, start it as soon as you can :)

I would remark that the certifications are worthwhile as they require you to obtain a much broader understanding of the product than you might get in a single job/organisation.

Reference: I have all Salesforce.com Certifications.

  • Has having all certifcations helped you in the business world?
    – reuf
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 15:02
  • I'd say so yes! Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 12:02

In addition to the other answers, the recent webinar Boost Your Career: Get Cloud-Trained and Certified gives some good background and resources, including the Twitter handles for the training and certification folks.


Certifications are your asset. Clearing certification boosts your confidence and also enhances your knowledge.

One best way to gain knowledge is to use a developer org and go through the following book


Read and Practice and Pay key attention to points highlighted.

If you just google out how to pass SFDC 401 exam you will get numerous blogs and read and make sure you have covered all the topics that will help.

The day before the exam just take once the study guide and make sure all the objectives mentioned are met.

http://forceguru.blogspot.in/2011/05/salesforce-certification-401.html http://sauravlaturkar.blogspot.in/2011/05/how-to-prepare-for-saleaforcecom-sfdc.html


Thanks to all members for the great responses. I wanted to add my own experience with the exam. I took my exam at DF 13 and passed.

Here are some of my thoughts about the test:

Approach the exam with a mindset of not just passing but actually learning the Force.com platform.

  1. Give yourself sufficient time to prepare. 2-4 weeks is ideal.
  2. My preparation time was about a week as I had a good amount of experience developing on the Force.com platform.
  3. Read the Force.com fundamentals book thoroughly. When I was at DF'13, Salesforce 1 was launched and the fundamentals book was updated to include it as well. Therefore refer to the latest version.
  4. Walk through all the exercises in the book. Get a developer edition of SF for this.
  5. Go through some of the sample questions posted online in various blogs/sites but do keep in mind that some questions could be outdated or the answers could be wrong.
  6. Read through the responses given here. There is some great advice.
  7. Finally, stick to the basics and review the study guide. Make sure you study all the areas that you are not comfortable with.
  8. Dont be afraid of the test. Give yourself ample time and do review your answers. I was able to review my answers twice after completing the test and took only 1 hour.
  9. Also review the release notes for the latest release.

Good luck!

  • 1
    Congratulations on passing the exam! High five! :-) Commented Mar 16, 2014 at 22:09

try going to certifiedondemand.com . It takes a while to get through it, but that site really helps you know all you need to pass the exam.

I know the site is designed for ADM201, but trust me, if you do the course you'll have at least 75% of the knowledge you need for the 401. The other 25%, study MVC and reports/ dashboards, you'll be good to go!

Also the certifiedondemand.com site updates its content regularly based on feedbacks and salesforce releases.

Good luck!


Salesforce partnered with Degreed.com to curate the best resources from around the web related to app development with Salesforce. If you create a Degreed account, you can access the resources for free here: http://get.degreed.com/salesforce-app-pathway

Salesforce and Degreed are also offering a $1,000 monthly scholarship to those learning app development with Salesforce. The scholarship is available from July - September 2014. Apply here if interested: https://degreed.com/salesforce-app-scholarship


you may find this helpful...I took my dev401 a couple of weeks ago and shared my tips to pass the faster and what not to waste your time on


  • Jade, please don't limit an answer to a link to another site. Could you include the main tips from your post in this answer ? Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 10:07

Try sample test on exampeta.com, you can build your own tests as well


note: pay attention to the fact that a lot can be out of date


As for me, I prepare for the Salesforce Developer Certification using different study materials like http://exambraindumps.com/Salesforce.html. However, the proof will be the score that I receive on the exam.


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