*Disclaimer – Any questions you find in this article are practice questions created by me. Please treat them as pointers – it does not bear any relationship with the Salesforce certification examination questions.
On October 20, 2017, I became a certified Sharing and Visibility Designer! Yes, I did pat myself on the back!
After that, I wanted to write about my experience and preparation strategies. However, I was busy working on my book that I just submitted for publishing! – Salesforce Process Builder Quick Start Guide. Now that I am done with my book, I have the bandwidth to work on the article. Why not leverage insights of the article and join the club of Sharing and Visibility Designer Certified professionals?
So, let us get started!
Personally, I have not come across any documentation to prepare for this exam. However, let me share with you my unexpected, unnerving, and hopefully rare, experience with this exam!
Set a strict timeline for the exam preparation
After you decide to appear for the exam, it is time to gather information about the exam and think about what steps you will put in place in order to ace it. Once you have a concrete timeline, begin to think about how you will integrate a sound study plan around the rest of your responsibilities – work/home balance etc. Having a concrete date to study towards the exam will help you stay motivated and disciplined.
Learning styles differ widely – so, there is no magic formula that one can follow to clear an exam. The best practice is to study for a few hours daily – rain or shine! Below are some details about the exam and study materials:
- 60 multiple-choice/multiple-select questions* (2–5 unscored questions may be added) – 120 mins
- 68% is the passing score
- Go through the training and materials available here free resource guide for this domain certification
First, check out whether you have experience on the topics mentioned in the Study guide or the free resources. Unless you have designed 4-5 project as a Solution/Technical Architect, I would not recommend appearing for the exam. The prerequisite for the exams is that you must have experience on projects and/or tasks that involve – designs solutions on the Force.com platform that meet sharing and visibility requirements. Also, you must have a strong grasp on the following topics:
- Architecture options, best practices, design trade-offs, and the ability to communicate design choices
- Performance considerations of sharing in a Large Data Volume (LDV) environment
- Design a solution to address sharing complexities, mechanisms, and capabilities of the Force.com platform as part of the functional security model
- How to implement security encryption, tokenization, and data protection solutions
- In-depth knowledge of territory management
Nothing is better than real-world experience. If you haven’t worked on the above-mentioned topics, or topics slated in the study guide then, use your Salesforce Architect Academy Enterprise edition org and try to set up and play with features and functionalities.
What you need to know
To ace Sharing and Visibility Designer certification, you must demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and abilities to design – secure, scalable security models – on the Force.com platform. The designer has to have the experience to communicate technical solutions to technical stakeholders and provide a project delivery framework that ensures quality and meets business requirements.
Often, on the social media, I use to read, with sheer awe, how fellow Salesforce enthusiasts aced the Architect domain certification exam. Not sure what came over me on October 8th, 2017 – I downloaded the certification study guide! I browsed through the guide and, on the spur of the moment, registered to take the exam on October 20th, 2017. Very unlike me albeit, as days passed, I forgot all about my audacity! This was bad enough! But then, on October 19th, 2017, my notification for the exam popped up while I was enjoying my dinner. Oh my god! I panicked! How could this happen? Why did this happen? At one point or another, some of us have been in a similar situation! But, now what?
Breath! I channeled my anxiety led energy to calm my mind. Breath, I repeated. After the anxiety subsided, the next step was to decide whether to appear for the exam or to skip it! Next day, I mustered much-needed courage and appeared for the exam anyway! To my pleasant surprise, I not only passed but, I found the exam easier than other platform-specific exams – like Sales Cloud Consultant or Service Cloud Consultant.
One may be tempted to attribute my passing to sheer luck. Luck could have played a part – although, I always find that the harder I work, better my luck gets! If I were to take a guess, I would attribute the ‘fluke’ to my disciplined approach to mastering the Salesforce Platform. Daily, rain or shine, I spend at least couple of hours exploring the platform. I have written several books on how to master the platform. Furthermore, I am an avid Salesforce blogger. And, last but not least, I am active on the Salesforce Trailblazer community – I try to solve as many questions on the Salesforce Trailblazer Community as possible.
Designer Certification is unique but relatively easy if you have command over the intricacies of the platform. For, once you earn this certification, your employer and co-workers will expect you to be a walking Salesforce Encyclopedia! From their perspective, now, you are the one who understands the platform very well and therefore, should be able to design a scalable solution.
Let us sum up – to pass the exam you must deeply understand the following key areas:
- Understand security and sharing model in Salesforce including, OWD, Role hierarchy, Profile, Permission Set, Sharing Rule, Manual Sharing, Team Sharing and Territory management. Remember Sharing Rule (impact of using different sharing mechanisms play a key role in this exam).
- For example, at Gurukul on Cloud (GOC), all users who belong to APAC and EMEA Sales profile have read and edit access to Date_of_birth__c field on the Contact Object. Recently GOC hired three sales reps for their EMEA division. Management at GOC is not comfortable granting read/write access to new hires on Date_of_birth__c field. They have asked their Architect to provide some solution for it.
- Another example would be, Gurukul on Cloud (GOC) is using a custom object Leave_plan__c to store employees’ upcoming leave plan request. Management at GOC asked their Architect to design a solution so that, all employees will be able to edit their leave record 1st and 2nd calendar day of the month, but for the rest of the month, the field should be read-only.
- Familiarize yourself with concepts like Concerning ownership and how to avoid it. Concerning ownership is a situation where one user owns more than 10k records.
- For Example, in the past few months, data in Gurukul on Cloud (GOC) increased by several folds. GOC have millions of records for major objects like Lead, Account, and Case. On a very specific account record (which is owned by a user who holds 12,000 account records) when users are trying to create a new case, they are frequently getting the UNABLE_TO_LOCK_ROW error.
- You must also thoroughly understand Sharing (Sharing Rule or Apex Managed Sharing) implications while dealing with Large Data Volume (LDV). In addition to that, go through License types (including Full Licenses, High Volume Customer Portal Licenses and, Chatter Free Licenses).
- Familiarize yourself with the concepts like Implicit and Explicit sharing concepts in Salesforce. Implicit sharing is a sharing behavior that is built into Salesforce applications. It is defined and maintained by the system to support collaboration among members of sales teams, customer service representatives, and customers. Whereas Explicit sharing is managed by administrators and can be used to explicitly grant access to data for individuals and groups.
- Make sure that you understand Defer Sharing Calculations and when to use it. Defer sharing calculations allow users to defer the processing of sharing rules until after new users, rules, and other contents have been loaded.
- For example, Gurukul on Cloud (GOC) has very large data on many objects as their business has grown exponentially. The administrator at GOC faces frequent timeout error when performing a large number of configuration changes which, in turn, leads to very long sharing rule evaluations. As an Architect, how do you overcome these kinds of challenges?
- In the examination, you may find a few questions on reports and reports folders accessibility. These questions are very straightforward and are designed to check your knowledge to make sure that you understand how a report sharing mechanism works.
- In the end, it is worth checking some topics like Custom Permission, Encryption, and External object. One can use Custom permission to bypass Validation rule for specific user or profile, etc.
In the exam, take your time, and read each question very carefully. Summarize the question and attempt to answer it. Untangle all the Salesforce objects or features that are being referenced. Even if you do not know the answer, eliminating one or two wrong answers will increase your likelihood of a correct response.
–> Do not forget to check study guide that contains complete syllabus of the Sharing and Visibility Designer exam.
If you have a solid hands-on experience with all the above topics, passing the exam will be a cinch; and, you will be able to earn the much-coveted Sharing and Visibility Designer certification! However, if you do not have enough experience with the above-mentioned topics, and you plan to become a Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer exam, then, I suggest you draw 9-12 months plan to prepare for it. Don’t just give the exam to get ‘certified’. For, a certification without experience holds zero (0) value.
I hope that you find these tips and resources useful. If you do put the time and effort in, you are certain to succeed. Happy studying and good luck!
Technical Editor and Proofreader: - Munira Majmundar