As someone who is aiming to become a Certified Technical Architect in the not-too-distant future, this is a huge deal.
Salesforce Architects are the masterminds behind high-performing Force.com technical solutions. As our customer-base expands, and new products and features are introduced, demand for Architects has never been higher.
What is the Salesforce Architect Academy?
- new certification program designed to build up an ecosystem of Salesforce Architects at different levels of expertise.
- a subscription based system of content curated and created by the Program Architect community.
- organised into three tiers – Technical Architect, Domain Architect, and Domain Specialist.
- a means of bridging the colossal gap between the Force.com Developer and Technical Architect certifications.
- a new set of pre-requisites for becoming a Technical Architect… yet (it may be in the future)
How does the subscription system work?
By subscribing to one of the Domain Specialist catalogs you get access to content that has been created and curated with the assistance of the Program Architect community. The content includes e-books, online training, videos and publications. Even better, once you are subscribed you automatically get access to any new content that gets added to the catalog(s) you’re subscribed to.
Currently the subscription fee is $239.99 per domain, or $1999.99 for all nine (which saves you $159.92). It was pointed out during Dreamforce that this will go up at some point, so if you’re interested and serious about pursuing one or more of the new certifications then you should sign up sooner rather than later.
As part of your subscription you also get a certification voucher which you can use to take the new certifications when they are available in early 2016.
Update (2015-10-15): Whilst in the literature (and this post) the word “subscribe” is used for signing up to the Architect Academy all of the fees are one-off fees which give you perpetual access to the content. The academy is not a true subscription service in the sense that there are no periodic charges.
What are the different tiers?
Salesforce Certified Domain Specialists are recognised for their knowledge and expertise on particular domains with the Architect Academy.
The Domain Specialist tier sits at the bottom of the new structure and consists of nine brand new certifications covering various different domains. These certifications are designed to test that you have a deep knowledge of the subject area that they cover and by taking multiple Domain Specialist certifications you will start to build up the breadth of knowledge that you need to move up to the Domain Architect level.
The new Domain Specialist certifications are as follows:
- Development Lifecycle and Deployment
- Application Architecture
- Apex and Visualforce
- Sharing and Visibility
- Data Architecture and Management
- Identity and Access Management
- Mobile Strategy
A Salesforce Certified Domain Architect certification spans across multiple roles, and recognises broad and deep architecture expertise across a number of domains.
The Domain Architect level is still not fully fleshed out, but it is intended to bring together groups of the Domain Specialist certifications and will test both breadth and depth of knowledge across multiple domains.
One of the examples of a potential Domain Architect certification that was brought up was an “Integration Architect”. This would combine the knowledge from the Integration, Data Architecture and Management and Identity and Access Management domains and expand upon them by covering how each of the domains interacts with each other.
Salesforce Certified Technical Architects demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and capabilities to build and design high-performance technical solutions on the Force.com platform across all Architect Academy domains.
Finally, at the top of the tree we have the Technical Architect level. This is unchanged from the existing certification and will require you to demonstrate but depth and breadth of knowledge across all of the domains at the Domain Specialist level.
The Domain Architect and Domain Specialist levels are designed to give people a learning path and stepping stones towards reaching the Technical Architect level. At the moment there is a huge gap between the Force.com Developer certification (the current prerequisite) and Technical Architect, these new certifications are designed to help bridge that gap.
You wouldn’t climb Everest in one go. Why do the same with the Technical Architect certification?
Learn. Grow. Get Certified.
From a personal point of view the new Architect Academy is a really exciting development as it provides a more structured approach to learning. It also provides materials that will help fill the gaps in my knowledge that I will need to achieve the Technical Architect certification.
Another bonus is that Technical Architect doesn’t have to be the end-goal for everyone now. The Academy gives people who don’t want to go all the way to Technical Architect options for enhancing and getting recognition of their skills in the specific domains they work in.
This is going to be great for the ecosystem as hopefully we will start to see people specialising in certain areas and becoming Domain Architects rather than being put off by the enormity of knowledge required to be a full blown Technical Architect.
A key point to takeaway is that currently these new certifications do not change the prerequisites for being a Technical Architect. You can still become a Technical Architect without any of the new certifications.
What the new certifications do provide for aspiring Technical Architects who are close to the end of their journey already is an opportunity to fill the gaps in their knowledge using the new content.
It’s a bit of a shame that they’ve announced these changes without all of the Domain Architect paths being defined and without the exams being available. I can understand why though as they wanted to get the content out there as soon as possible so that they can start gathering feedback. However, it will be hard to give accurate feedback until the content of the new certifications is nailed down.
It’s early days, but the Architect Academy is a great step by Salesforce towards generating a whole new ecosystem of experts in the platform and I’m excited to start working towards some of the new certifications!