How to study/prepare for the Salesforce Developer Certification
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.
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.
- I know it
- I kind of know it/I need a little bit of review
- 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person who wrote those practice questions a year ago, may have been spot-on correct then, but a year later they may be out of date.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.
+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. :)
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: http://www.laceysnr.com/search/label/401
I think SFDC needs to make free practice tests available. It really is a major hurdle for people.
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: https://help.salesforce.com/apex/HTViewHelpDoc?id=quicktour_tips.htm&language=en_US to be very helpful. I'm using them now as I prepare for the Developer exam I'll take at Dreamforce.