Last post Update: 15th oct’16.
In this post i am sharing links about various topics from study guide on Salesforce Platform Developer 1 certification and what to expect in exam. If you are an experienced developer on code and config side than you can easily clear the exam. If you are not experienced and exploring Salesforce path then this study tips should help you to become one. I found 60-70% of questions were scenario based so you should clearly understand objective of each topic. During exam certain questions will leave you confusing with more than one correct answer so read through question more than once before you select answer/s. I haven’t described actual questions which i faced in exam but the aim is if you understand each topic you don’t need any practice questions.
Note: I get request for study dumps and i am not sure any such dumps but i personally don’t think there is any need for someone to look into any other material except salesforce links listed here. With every release salesforce updates documents and having any such study dumps can get you stale information.
Like most of the topics here links to Salesforce Trailhead or apex developer guide or Visual force developer guide so i will recommend to still reference any other additional related topics in those guides.
Define your strategy:
You might already have strong experience with development on Salesforce platform but you might not have worked in every area certification is looking for. Start with Salesforce platform developer 1 Certification study guide. Go through each section from study guide to see if there is any specific area you need more study. Even i had been working on Salesforce for more than 4 years there were certain topics i needed to read through more than once.
Don’t rely on those practice exams or exam dumps as i found them meaningless and never replicates real exam. Sometimes those question/answers are wrong . Salesorce already has documents on each specific topic so if you study and practically try it in your developer org its going to be straight forward for you to clear this exam.
Each section in study guide is assigned percentage of questions. Start your study in order of highest to lowest percentage like following:
Logic and Process Automation (46%)
Data Modeling and Management (12%)
User Interface (10%)
Debug and deployment tools (10%)
Based on each section topics find out which topics you need more study or haven’t worked before and spend more time on it if necessary. Put together timeline for study and book date for exam.
What to study?
There are subset of topics under each section and some of topics might not have any question in exam. Logic and process automation covers about 46% of exam which means about 28 questions you can just expect from this section. You will be spending more time studying this section for sure so number of topics are also more. Here is details of what you can study for each topics:
Logic and Process Automation
- Describe how to programmatically access and utilize the object schema (Go through methods to validate Access Control for fields programmatically. During my exam i received a question on how to check whether user has read permission on specific object field in VF page or not. Read through this article)
- Describe the capabilities and use cases for formula fields. (Understand when formula gets executed, Formula Data types, Building cross object formulas) . The question around this section might try to trick you between formula, rollup summary fields and trigger. Remember cross object formula always works from child to parent means you can create formula on child to reference parent only and if parent has to refer children then it might be roll up summary field (Must be master-detail relation) or trigger for complex logic. Workflow rules also can only can refer parent fields for an update.
- Describe the capabilities and use cases for roll-up summary fields. (Consideration for Roll-up summary fields, Go through trailhead).
Note:Remember roll-up summary field only works with Master-detail relation so as soon as you read look up relation it can’t be roll-up summary field)
Note:Very important table on first part in this trailhead which compares capabilities of process builder, workflow, approval process and visual flow. if there is scenario to choose between workflow or process builder then you should just mark process builder as appropriate solutions as it supersedes workflows. Workflow can only update parent fields in cross object update where process builder can update either parent or children.
- Describe when to use declarative automation features vs. Apex classes and triggers (Yes same trailhead link because if you know you can’t use one of process automation then trigger is last option.Also check when use apex and my post on when to use process builder vs trigger)
- Describe how to declare variables and constants in Apex and how to assign values using expressions. (Also go through apex workbook topics from Data Types and Variables till Assignment Statements)
- Describe the primitive and complex Apex data types and when to use them (Topic is covered by above link)
- Describe how to use and apply Apex control flow statements. (Be clear on when to use inline SOQL query in for loop and when not to use)
- Describe how to write and when to use Apex classes and interfaces.( Understand how inner classes can be defined, invoked from outer class, what they can refer inside their body and type of access modifier they can have. Try various scenario related to inner class by creating it in your developer org and call it from anonymous block or outer class)
- Describe how to use basic SOSL, SOQL, and DML statements. (It says basics not in advance so trailhead topics are good enough, make sure you clearly understand difference when to use Database class DML statement vs standard DML. One of the question you will sure receive on rollback using Database class.)
- Describe the basic patterns used in triggers and classes to process data efficiently. (if you just remember to bulkify and no DML, SOQL within for loop and inline SOQL query is enough for this topic. Trigger bulk operation, Trigger best practices)
- Describe when to use and how to write triggers. (Understand Trigger Exceptions, Context variable considerations)
- Describe the implications of governor limits on Apex transactions. (Remember in a single transaction you can retrieve 50,000 records via SOQL, update 10,000 records, execute 100 SOQL calls and 150 DML statements max that will cover majority around limits. The question will be scenario based and from code sample you will have to figure out whether whole transaction gets committed or partial or nothing. Count through number of times any DML or SOQL being executed and number of records being executed correctly.)
- Describe the relationship between Apex transactions , the save execution order, and the potential for recursion and/or cascading. (You must remember execution order by heart and there are definitely one to two questions on it. If you understand execution order you will understand when it can be recursive behavior like workflow which gets executed after trigger if updates record in transaction it might result in re-running after triggers.)
- Describe how to implement exception handling in Apex. (I received question where there was code sample to select what kind of exception gets thrown. It was possible either null pointer or list exception. Reading carefully in first line of code there was no initialization of string and it was being referenced in apex condition so it will first throw null pointer.)
- Describe how to write Visualforce controllers. (Refer next topic links, Don’t forget Standard and custom list controller)
- Describe when and how to use standard Visualforce controllers vs. Apex custom controllers and controller extensions .
- Describe the programmatic techniques to prevent security vulnerabilities in Apex and Visualforce.
- Describe how Apex impacts the ability to make declarative changes.
Testing (Refer ‘Apex Testing’ Trailhead as well)
- Describe the testing framework and requirements for deployment.
- Describe how to write unit tests for triggers, controllers, and classes.(Be clear on Test.startTest() and Test.stopTest() about how governor limit gets reset)
- Describe when and how to use various sources of test data.(Make sure you know how @Testsetup works and how it executes.)
- Describe how to execute one or multiple test classes.Describe the differences between invoking Apex in execute anonymous vs. unit test ( Unit test executes in system mode and any changes made to records are not visible out of its test execution context where with anonymous block any changes performed to data are visible after its execution is successful. Code written in anonymous block is not stored as metadata in salesforce org and user permissions are enforced during execution.)
Data Modelling and Management
- Given a set of requirements, determine the appropriate data model.(Expect scenario based questions and select whether to apply look up ,master-detail or junction relation)
- Describe the capabilities of the various relationship types and the implications of each on record access, user interface (UI), and object-oriented programming. (Scenario Questions like display child related list on parent record, have to manage permissions separately from parent etc.)
- Describe the impact of schema design and modifications on Apex Development.
- Describe how to visualize and create entity relationships. (Schema builder)
- Describe the options for and considerations when importing and exporting data into development environments. (Scenario based question for whether to use data loader or built in import/export tools.)
Debug and Deployment Tools
- Describe how to monitor and access various types of debug logs.( Expect questions like at what log level User Debugs are logged or whats checkpoint in developer console. Get walk through of Developer console options for viewing logs like using logs perspective, filtering logs etc. which will be more easier than reading.)
- Describe the capabilities and security implications of the Developer Console, Workbench, and Force.com IDE.
- Describe the different processes for deploying metadata and business data.
- Describe how the different environments are used in the development and deployment process.
- Describe the considerations when developing in a multi-tenant environment.
- Describe how the Salesforce platform features map to the MVC pattern.
- Describe the capabilities of the core CRM objects in the Salesforce schema. (Read through Account & Contact trailead, Lead & Opportunity trailead. I would also recThis topic is very general and its all about knowing relation between these objects and their capabilities)
- Identify the common scenarios for extending an application’s capabilities using the AppExchange.
- Given a scenario, identify common use cases for declarative customization. (Scenario based question which will focus on test takers ability to identify whether to use formula, roll-up summary field, validation rule, workflow rule, process builder or approval process. Refer trailhead modules ‘process automation’ and ‘formula fields and validations’)
User Interface (Read through trailhead for visualforce)
- Describe how to display Salesforce data using a Visualforce page. (Though This topic is very broad but studying basics should be enough. you can still go through first few sections in visualforce developer guide. )
- Describe the types of web content that can be incorporated into Visualforce pages (Maps, Charts, flows, PDF renderer and custom content type. This topic is very broad but you don’t need to learn details of how these components can be embedded into VF pages.)
- Describe how to incorporate Visualforce pages into Force.com applications.
- Describe the benefits of the Lightning Component framework.
- Describe the resources that can be contained in a Lightning Component
- You will have 105 minutes for 60 questions which means at least 1 minute 45 seconds per questions. Questions you think you are not sure mark them for later review and move on for next set of questions.
- Target to finish all questions 20mins before and use remaining time to review question marked for later review and to go through all completed questions.
- Read through question more than once when its scenario based and understand all options.
- Don’t shy to use pen and paper when required.
I hope this will provide you direction to prepare for Salesforce platform developer 1 certification without going through pain of searching for topics. Provide your inputs on this post and any questions. Subscribe for my upcoming post for what to study for admin exam and will be writing more about other certifications as am finish my Technical Architect, Sales/Service cloud consultant exams 🙂
Do let me know with your comments on this post if you find it useful or have any queries.