How to Pass Salesforce Advanced Administrator Certification Exam

How to Pass Salesforce Advanced Administrator Certification Exam

Last Updated on January 2, 2023 by Rakesh Gupta

It has been nine years since I passed the Salesforce Advanced Administrator exam. In the past few weeks, many people reached out to me asking for guidance and a path to becoming a certified Advanced Administrator. 

That gives me an idea for writing a blog post on this topic. For by reading from the beginning to the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of – and will be able to devise a plan and a strategy for – how to pass the Salesforce Advanced Administrator certification exam.  

👉 As you are here, you may want to check out the How to Pass Salesforce Platform App Builder Certification Exam.

So, Who is an Ideal Candidate for the Exam?

The Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator credential is targeted toward the Salesforce Certified Administrator who has become proficient in Salesforce configuration maintenance, can demonstrate an understanding of administration best practices, and can use the advanced features and functionality to solve various business problems.

The candidate should have a broad knowledge of the full application capabilities, the features/functions available to an end-user, and the configuration and management options available to an Administrator across the Salesforce platform. The candidate should be capable of performing administration functions at an expert level, using the full set of Salesforce features as described in the exam outline. The candidate can leverage the advanced administration capabilities of Salesforce to solve specific business challenges and automate complex business processes. The candidate should be able to recommend configuration enhancements and best practices to optimize and extend an organization’s use of Salesforce. The candidate actively seeks out new functionality as it becomes available and can evaluate the potential benefits of new features for an organization.

The candidate should be able to:

  • Appropriately define record and field data access based on business requirements.
  • Create custom objects and define the appropriate relationship types.
  • Set up and configure Sales and Service Cloud applications
  • Understand the capabilities of forecasting.
  • Set up and configure Salesforce Knowledge and entitlements.
  • Assess, cleanse, and maintain data quality using standard Salesforce functionality.
  • Understand the capabilities of sandboxes and the tools available to move data between environments.
  • Use custom report types, reporting snapshots, complex charting, custom summary formulas, bucketing, joined reports, and cross-filters to build reports that meet complex business requirements.
  • Use dynamic dashboards and dashboard filters to enhance dashboards.
  • Create flows, workflow rules, approval processes, and formula fields to automate complex business processes.

How to prepare for the exam?

The starting point for me with any exam is the Study Guide.  This gives you details of the purpose and format of the exam and then a point-by-point summary of the areas that you will be tested on and how much they count towards the overall mark.

  • 60 multiple-choice/multiple-select questions – 105 mins
  • 65% is the passing score
  • Exam Sections and Weighting
    • Security and Access: 20%
    • Objects and Applications: 19%
    • Auditing and Monitoring: 10%
    • Cloud Applications: 11%
    • Data and Analytics Management: 13%
    • Environment Management and Deployment: 7%
    • Process Automation: 20%
  • The exam Fee is $200 plus applicable taxes
  • Retake fee: USD 100, plus applicable taxes as required per local law
  • Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator Exam Guide
  • Schedule your certification exam here

What happens next depends on how you like to study – if you find videos the best way, the premier online training catalog has great material, including knowledge check questions to see if any of it is sticking.  If you don’t have access to that, there’s a huge amount on the Salesforce channel on youtube.

I’m a big fan of the written word, so I’ll usually head to the online help and go straight to the Printable Tip Sheets and User Guides section.  This collection of short documents takes you through setting up and using various aspects of the system. 

The following list is not exhaustive; so check it out and use it as a starting point:

  1. Trailmix: Prepare for Your Salesforce Advanced Administrator Credential
  2. Superbadge: Process Automation Specialist
  3. Superbadge: Lightning Experience Reports & Dashboards Specialist
  4. Superbadge: Business Administration Specialist
  5. Superbadge: Security Specialist

What you Need to Know to Smoothen your Journey

On a very high level, you have to understand the following topics to clear the exam. All credit goes to the Salesforce Trailhead team and their respective owners.

  1. First, ensure you have command of the following topics before appearing for the exam.
    1. Territory Management
    2. Product and Price Book
    3. Forecasting
    4. Entitlement Processes
    5. Omni-Channel
    6. Service Cloud Console
    7. Deployment via Changde Set vs. Packages
    8. Process Automation
  2. Security and Access: 20%
    1. Advanced Admin Certification – Security and Access
    2. Salesforce has three types of picklists:
      1. Standard – Standard picklists are the ones that are included in your Salesforce org before any customization. Examples include the Lead Source picklist on the Lead object, the Opportunity Stage picklist on the Opportunity object, and others.
      2. Custom – Custom picklists are the ones you create. You can add your own values and configure a custom picklist’s behavior. As you create a new custom field, select Picklist as the field type.
      3. Custom Multi-Select – Pick this option if your users want to select more than one value from the pick list. When a user picks more than one value, the selected values show in the field, separated by a semicolon.
    3. Values can be defined in three ways:

      1. Set individual values when you create the picklist. These are specific to a single picklist field.
      2. Use the built-in set of values for the standard picklist fields with your Salesforce org.
      3. Create a global value set. A global value set is a custom set of values you create to share with more than one picklist field.
    4. And picklist fields can have the following properties:
      1. Restricted
      2. Dependent or Controlling
    5. Also, consider the following:
      1. Multi-select picklists have a lower limit on total values. See Picklist Limitations for more information.
      2. You can convert a custom picklist to a multi-select picklist to later support multiple values in the field. However, when you convert a multi-select picklist to a picklist field that doesn’t support multi-select, Salesforce clears the values for that field on existing records. The new field only allows one value.
      3. Reports referencing multi-select picklists should use or includes (not equals) to collect all results that contain more than one value.
      4. In report results or dashboards, multi-select picklist selections are grouped independently. For example, One record has a, b, and c values. Another record has b and c values. And another record has only c selected. You’ll get three different groupings: one for a;b;c, one for b;c and another for c.
      5. Only specific functions can reference multi-select picklists in formulas. See Tips for Working with Picklist and Multi-Select Picklist Formula Fields for more information.
    6. You set a restricted picklist when you select the Restrict picklist to the values defined in the value set option when you create a custom picklist. When you set a picklist to be unrestricted, users can’t enter new values through the user interface, but they can add them via the API, automation, or other apps.
    7. Compare Picklist Fields
      Standard Picklist Custom Picklist Custom Multi-Select Picklist
      Add/Remove from Page Layouts yes yes yes
      Delete from Your Org yes yes
      Set a Default Value yes yes yes
      Use a Formula for a Default Value yes yes
      Can Select Multiple Values yes
      Can Add Values via Apps or API yes yes yes
      Can Be Restricted yes yes
      Can Be a Dependent Picklist yes yes
    8. Manage Picklist Values
      1. New: Create a new value.
      2. Reorder: Rearrange the existing values.
      3. Replace: Replace an existing value. You can replace an existing value with a new value, one of the other values, or a blank value. If you replace an existing value with a blank value, existing records will not display the value anymore.
      4. Printable View: See all of your values at once. This is a helpful view while you set up a dependent picklist.
      5. Chart Colors: Customize the appearance of values on charts and reports.
    9. You can edit, delete, or deactivate individual values in the Values-related list on the detail page. You can probably guess the difference between an active value and an inactive one. Active values appear as an option in a picklist. Inactive values don’t, but they’re not entirely removed from your org.
    10. Global value sets are always restricted. You can’t convert them to unrestricted. This protects your values because changing global value set values modifies the values for all the fields that reference the global value set.
    11. Notes on Changing Custom Field Types
    12. Configure Territory Permissions and Access for Salesforce Admins and Users
    13. Transaction Security is a feature that monitors Salesforce events in real-time to spot potential trouble based on rules you create. With Transaction Security, you can create policies that consist of events, notifications, and actions.
      1. An event is anything that happens in Salesforce, including user clicks, record state changes, and measuring values. Events are immutable and timestamped.
      2. When you create a Transaction Security policy, you first pick a transaction or event to watch for, and then choose actions that are triggered when the event occurs. These rules and actions you create are called policies. Transaction security policies are created for many use cases, and you can extend them with Apex for customized protection.
      3. For example, allowing users to export reports with too many records can create a security risk. Let’s say someone exports 1,000 records into an Excel sheet on their desktop, where Salesforce can no longer protect it. The user can sync that file to another system, email the file, or store it on a USB drive that’s easily misplaced.
      4. You can select which actions to take if the policy is triggered.
        1. Block the operation.
        2. Require a higher level of assurance using multi-factor authentication.
        3. Do nothing (this can be useful for testing).
        4. Opt-in for Policy notifications, sent via:
          1. Email
          2. In-app notification to the Salesforce app
          3. Both email and in-app notifications
    14. These are some of the available event types for Transaction Security policies.
      1. API Event for monitoring and protecting all API queries. This prevents unauthorized data exports.
        List View Event for access to list views. This tracks user’s access to list views from both the UI and API queries.
      2. Login Event for monitoring login details. This blocks logins from untrusted locations, unsupported browsers, and specific device types.
      3. Report Event for report views and exports. This blocks or requires multi-factor authentication for access to sensitive information or notifies when reports are run or exported.
    15. Session-based permission sets operate under the same principle but with an added session-activation option. A computer session begins when a user logs in and begins to interact with another user or with a device. For example, when you authenticate into your computer network at work, you begin, or activate, a session that lasts until you log off or until the session ends for another reason. A session can end, for example, if a company’s security policy requires that sessions inactive for a specified number of minutes time out. During the session, you can perform certain tasks, such as submit expenses or post and reply to coworkers on Chatter. When you log off, your session becomes deactivated and you can’t perform these tasks until you authenticate into the computer network again, beginning another session.
      1. With session-based permission sets, you can limit functional access for select permissions in a permission set to an activated session. When a session ends for any reason, a session-based permission set must be activated again before the user can access restricted resources.
      2. The PermissionSet object in the Soap API contains a field called HasActivationRequired, a boolean that indicates whether the permission set requires an associated active session (true) or not (false). Insert a record into the SessionPermSetActivation object with the combination of session ID and permission set to achieve the activation.
    16. Company settings consist of:
      Key details For example
      Company Information Name and Address Used for billing and support Mom & Pop’s Spy Shop
      7 Wink Nudge Drive
      Frisco, CA 94101
      Primary Contact Also for billing and support Mother Intrigue
      Default Locale Updating this one setting determines the way a ton of information is displayed within Salesforce (We cover this separately later) English (United States)
      Default Currency Currency applied to records English (United States) USD
      Currencies List of all currencies used in the org USD only
      Storage Used Those cat pics pile up fast! 27.3 GB (11%)
      Licenses Available Includes Salesforce and feature licenses Salesforce Platform: 14 of 15 used
      Fiscal Year Information Fiscal Year Used in reporting and forecasting Standard, starting January
      Support Information Business Hours These are used when escalation rules do their escalating Mon to Fri, 8AM to 8PM
      Holidays Days that cases skip escalation June 27 (International Day of Mystery)
    17. The Salesforce locale settings determine the display formats for date and time, user names, addresses, and commas, and periods in numbers. As the admin, you set the default locale, but your users can set a personal locale if they’re based in a different location. We will cover both these settings later, but let’s first take a look at what is affected by updating the default or personal locale.
      Locale Settings include For example
      Locale Date and Time Format mm/dd/yyyy or dd/mm/yyyy
      Number Format 1,000 or 1.000 for one thousand
      Name Order Last, First or First Last
      Address Format Country, Zip Code, State, then Street
      Phone Number Format (123) 456-7890 or +12 2345 67-0
      Language All Text Standard tabs and fields
      Online Help Text language in Help
      Time Zone Event Start/End Time Calendar entries and events
      Date or Time Fields
    18. Administer Account Teams
    19. Salesforce Multi-Factor Authentication FAQ
  3. Objects and Applications: 19%
    1. Considerations for Relationships
    2. Objects are the way you store your records in Salesforce. They are basically a container for spreadsheet data, account details, customer contacts, location and regional info, tracking status, and more, but are easier on the eyes and more customizable than a database. The idea is that you track everything related to your business in one place.
    3. There are some record types that are so common to most businesses that Salesforce includes them automatically. These standard objects are lead, opportunity, account, and contact. They’re a good starting point for organizing and categorizing your data.
    4. Custom objects can be anything—you define the object and you define the type info it contains.
    5. Depending on the size of your organization, you could be working with a Change Management department or have a project manager assigned to the transition. Or perhaps you’re the one charged with organizing and executing things from start to finish. However the work gets divvied up, the Lightning Experience transition framework puts you on the right path!
      1. Based on our experiences and those of the thousands of customers who’ve already moved to Lightning Experience, we defined a framework that outlines the structure and best practices you can follow for your own journey. For easier manageability, we recommend approaching your transition in three phases. The phases break down into a few stages, each with a set of recommended activities.
    6. Lightning Experience Enablement Pack – To help jump-start your move to Lightning Experience, we provide an Enablement Pack that’s chock-full of rollout resources and customizable templates. Use the pack to prepare for and complete a successful Lightning Experience transition. We’ll recommend specific resources in the Enablement Pack as we go. To get a head start, you can download it now.
    7. Calculate the ROI from Moving to Lightning Experience
      1. When you invest in Lightning Experience, you can expect benefits such as:
        1. An efficient user interface that helps your users spend less time searching for information and more time selling or solving customer problems.
        2. Features and capabilities that solve business problems and improve processes.
        3. Declarative tools that allow your IT and business teams to quickly build and launch apps and services with clicks instead of code.
        4. The flexibility and independence to keep features and processes aligned with changes in your business.
    8. The most common rollout strategies are:
      1. Move users gradually in groups
      2. Go all-in and move everyone at the same time
      3. Start over with a new org
    9. If there’s work to do, check out the transition tools at your disposal. These tools lighten your workload by automating many adjustments and streamlining remaining steps.
      Issue Transition Tool Details
      Missing actions and buttons Lightning Experience Configuration Converter — Actions and Buttons tab If some actions, such as Log a Call and New Tasks, are missing on pages in Lightning Experience, use the Configuration Converter to automatically get them into the right places.
      JavaScript buttons, links, and alerts Lightning Experience Configuration Converter — JavaScript Buttons tab JavaScript buttons, links, and alerts aren’t supported in Lightning Experience. Use the Configuration Converter to scan your org for these elements. The tool can automatically recreate many buttons, links, and alerts as Lightning-friendly alternatives. And it provides guidance on how to manually recreate items that can’t be automatically converted.
      Hard-coded URLs Lightning Experience Configuration Converter — Hard-Coded URLs tab Hard-coded references to your org’s original URL might not work if My Domain is enabled. Use the Configuration Converter to locate your hard-coded URLs and update them with a single click.
      Visualforce pages Lightning Experience Configuration Converter — Visualforce Pages tab Most Visualforce pages work as-is in Lightning Experience. But there are a few Salesforce Classic features and attributes that aren’t compatible with the new interface. The Configuration Converter scans your org for pages that might need modification and provides instructions on how to proceed.You can also use the tool to automatically apply the Lightning look-and-feel to your Visualforce pages, without affecting how they appear in Salesforce Classic.
      AppExchange packages Lightning Experience Configuration Converter — AppExchange Packages tab Scan your org for AppExchange packages and find out which ones are ready for Lightning Experience and which should be updated or replaced.
      Attachments and classic notes Magic Mover for Notes and Attachments tool Move your org off attachments and classic notes so you can give your users a better experience and stop supporting unnecessary features. Download this Salesforce Labs app from AppExchange, then run it to automate the conversion of classic notes to enhanced notes and attachments to Salesforce Files.
      Classic Knowledge base Lightning Knowledge Migration tool If your company uses Classic Knowledge, Lightning Experience users must switch to Salesforce Classic to do things like find or create Knowledge articles. Moving your Classic knowledge base into Lightning Knowledge gives your Lightning Experience users a seamless experience and much better workflow. When you’re ready, the Lightning Knowledge Migration Tool does most of the heavy lifting for you.
    10. Check in with your Lightning Experience users periodically to see how things are going. Try to gauge overall satisfaction, as well as learn about specific pain points.
      Get feedback in the app Turn on the Lightning Experience user feedback form to get input from users when they switch back to Salesforce Classic. This is a great tool for learning why users are leaving the new interface. To learn more, see Switch to Salesforce Classic Feedback Form in Salesforce Help.
      Poll Create an informal Chatter poll to gather quick insights. Users can also provide written feedback in the poll’s comment thread. Use the Lightning Experience Transition Change Management Hub to get started.
      Survey Use a survey app to deliver a formal, written survey that measures satisfaction and problem areas.
      Focus groups Bring together a group of users and get input on your questions.
  4. Auditing and Monitoring: 10%
    1. Advanced Admin Certification – Change Management, Auditing and Monitoring
      1. Everyone knows that being a detective is one of the coolest jobs you can have. Well, hold on to your magnifying glass because your job as a Salesforce admin is about to get a whole lot cooler. With Event Monitoring, you can be the investigator your organization always needed.
    2. Event Monitoring provides tracking for many types of events, including:
        1. Logins
        2. Logouts
        3. URI (web clicks in Salesforce Classic)
        4. Lightning (web clicks, performance, and errors in Lightning Experience and the Salesforce mobile app)
        5. Visualforce page loads
        6. Application programming interface (API) calls
        7. Apex executions
        8. Report exports
    3. All of these events are stored in event log files. An event log file is generated when an event occurs in your organization and is available to view and download after 24 hours. The event types you can access and how long the files remain available depends on your Salesforce edition.
      1. Developer Edition organizations have free access to all log types with 1-day data retention.
      2. Enterprise, Unlimited, and Performance Edition organizations have free access to the insecure external assets, login, logout, and total API usage event log files with 1-day data retention. For an extra cost, you can access all log file types with 30-day data retention.
    4. Some use case of event mentoring
      1. Monitor data loss. Imagine that a sales rep leaves your company and joins a major competitor. Later, you find out that your organization is losing deal after deal to this other company. You suspect that your former employee downloaded a report containing leads and shared it with the competition. If you’d been using Event Monitoring, you could have caught this bad behavior before it cost your company sales.
      2. Increase adoption. Event Monitoring isn’t just for catching your users’ bad behavior. It can also alert you to parts of your organization that aren’t performing well. For example, you just rolled out a new Visualforce page in your organization that combines accounts and contacts and allows end users to add custom fields. Without any metrics, it’s difficult to tell how users are interacting with this page—if at all. Event Monitoring helps you figure out which parts of your organization need increased adoption efforts and identify areas that need redevelopment.
      3. Optimize performance. Sometimes, it’s hard to determine the cause of slow page performance in your organization. Imagine that your company has an office in San Francisco and one in London. The users in London tell you that their reports are running slowly or even timing out. You can use Event Monitoring to determine whether the cause is related to a network issue in London or with the way your app is configured.
    5. Two important terms to remember when working with the API are:
      1. Objects: Almost every object in the user interface is also an object in the API (for example, Account or Case). The API also has several objects that you can’t use in the user interface.
      2. Fields: The fields you’re used to seeing in the user interface are also fields in the API (for example, the Account Name field in the user interface becomes the Name field in the API).
    6. The Salesforce Event Log File (ELF) Browser is a Salesforce-connected web app that allows quick access to event log files. With the ELF Browser, you can easily find and download events from various time periods without a line of code. The data in the files you get from the browser can even be visualized using Tableau CRM. Refer the Event Monitoring Analytics App module for more information on that.
    7. You can download event log files in several ways, including:
      1. Direct download via the Event Log File (ELF) Browser application
      2. cURL script
      3. Python script
    8. Visualize Event Log File Data – Event Monitoring comes with the Event Monitoring Analytics app, a visualization tool for your log data. You can also use other tools to beautify your data. Some provide specific support for event log files, while others require more setup. We don’t go into the details of each platform, but check out this list for some ideas.
      1. Event Monitoring Analytics app: This Analytics app is a way to get insights into your Event Monitoring data without ever leaving the Salesforce Platform. Your data is automatically loaded from Salesforce to the app, so you always get the most recent (and most stunning) visualization of what’s going on in your org. The app provides a collection of dashboards that use pre-integrated event data, so it’s a great way to get started with Event Monitoring.
      2. Splunk App for Salesforce: This app lets you analyze and visualize your organization’s use of Salesforce and gain insights into security, performance, and user behavior. The Splunk Add-on for Salesforce lets a Splunk software admin collect different types of data from Salesforce using REST APIs. It also provides the inputs to use with other Splunk apps, such as Splunk Enterprise Security.
      3. FairWarning: This user activity monitoring solution is purpose-built to translate and correlate Salesforce log files across Event Monitoring, real-time streams, reference objects, and Change Data Capture (CDC) events. In doing so, it allows them to provide user-centric insights and real-time alerts on abnormal behavior. And that helps you proactively identify threats and mitigate risk to your Salesforce data. FairWarning supports multiple orgs in a single view, stores data beyond 30 days, and offers speed to value by getting your monitoring up and running in 48 hours. FairWarning insights can also be used for usage, adoption, and performance use cases to support a positive ROI on Event Monitoring and Salesforce
      4. New Relic Insights: This solution for Salesforce makes it simple to understand the end-to-end business impact of your software performance. Automatically import your Event Monitoring data into Insights to power your easy-to-build dashboards and instantly query your data in the user interface.
  5. Cloud Applications: 11%
    1. Advanced Admin Certification: Products, Price Books, Quotes, and Forecast
    2. Preparing for your Advanced Admin Cert – Knowledge Management
    3. What Is Experience Cloud?
      1. Experience Cloud Sites and Users in Your Salesforce Org
      2. Internal, External, and Guest Users in Salesforce
    4. Get Started with Einstein Bot
    5. Get Started with Service Cloud Omni-Channel
      1. Ch. 1 Introduction
      2. Ch. 2 Agent and Supervisor Challenges
      3. Ch. 3 What is Omni-Channel
      4. Ch. 4 Agent and Supervisor Experience
      5. Ch. 5 Omni-Channel Demo
      6. Ch. 6 Omni-Channel Best Practices
      7. Ch. 7 Schedule Your Follow-Up
    6. Design Your Service Cloud Console
    7. Standard Salesforce suite of products that enable extending the core platform.
      1. Salesforce Revenue Cloud – Connect revenue management processes to transform the B2B buying experience, accelerate new revenue streams, and increase revenue efficiency.
      2. Salesforce Inbox – Streamline your workflow, anticipate customer needs, see key customer data, and more from your email.
      3. Partner Relationship Management – Empower your channel partners with personalized digital experiences. Provide content, CRM data, and key channel workflows – all in a single, secure branded portal.
      4. Revenue Intelligence – Purpose-built analytics and actionable insights across the all customer interactions to deliver revenue growth.
      5. Sales Dialer – Make calls with a single click, then receive inbound calls and take notes directly within Salesforce.
      6. Sales Engagement -Help inside sales teams build pipeline and grow deals. Get sales data, company info, and multiple leads on one screen.
      7. Salesforce Maps – Integrate and leverage location-based data and prioritization in your CRM to optimize your reps’ activities.
      8. Sales Cloud Einstein – Automate processes, uncover insights, and grow your company with AI-powered predictions and recommendations.
      9. Einstein Relationship Insights – Automate account and contact research across disparate data sources to discover key relationships and networks around your prospects.
      10. MuleSoft Composer for Salesforce – Connect apps and data to Salesforce quickly and easily with clicks, not code — directly inside of the Salesforce UI.
        Marketing Cloud Account Engagement – Generate more pipeline, close more deals, and personally connect to your customers with a full suite of B2B marketing tools.
      11. AppExchange – See the world’s top business app marketplace. Choose from thousands of apps or build and configure your own and go to market.
      12. Net Zero Cloud – Track and analyze environmental data to help reduce your carbon footprint and prove your commitment to eco-friendly practices.
      13. Customer Success Services – Reach your goals faster with help from Salesforce experts every step of the way.
      14. Field Service – Power your frontline workforce with Salesforce Field Service. Connect back-end operations with the field to increase productivity and meet customer expectations.
      15. Digital Engagement – Transform your contact center to grow customer engagement, drive productivity, and unlock revenue opportunities.
      16. Self-Service – Empower customers to find answers themselves first. Help your business deflect cases, cut costs, and prioritize complex issues.
      17. Contact Center – Deliver proactive, personalized service across all channels — phone, self-service, messaging, and chatbots — at scale.
      18. Customer Service – Create efficiency in high-touch service centers. Scale with automation and connect the right channels into one agent workspace.
      19. Mulesoft Composer – Connect apps and data to Salesforce quickly and easily with clicks, not code.
  6. Data and Analytics Management: 13%
    1. Tools and best practices for assessing, improving and enriching data quality.
      1. Uncover Hidden Nuggets of Validation Rule – prized arrows in Admin’s Quiver!
      2. Take Control of Duplicates—Use Duplicate Rules and the Potential Duplicates Component
      3. What can Enrichment do for me?
      4. How to Back Up, Manage, and Restore Salesforce Data
    2. Determine the appropriate analytic tools to meet complex reporting requirements
      1. Preparing for your Advanced Admin Certification – Custom Report Types
      2. Preparing for your Advanced Admin Certification – Extending Reporting with Cross Filters and Bucketing
    3. Methods to connect to, access, backup/restore, or archive data outside of the Salesforce platform
      1. Ever Wonder? – What are Big Objects? What are Its Use Cases? How are they Implemented? – Of course, You Do!
      2. Database vs Data Warehouse vs Data Lake
      3. Salesforce Connect
    4. Identify the appropriate tools and methods for importing data into Salesforce
      1. Data Import: Clean and Prepare Your Data Using Excel
      2. Data Import: Prepare your Data for Import
      3. Data Import: Choosing the Right Tool
      4. How to Import Accounts & Contacts w/ Data Import Wizard
      5. Data Import: Best Practices for Importing Data
  7. Environment Management and Deployment: 7%
    1. Preparing for your Advanced Admin Cert – Change Management
    2. Salesforce provides various development tools and processes to meet the needs of customers. This module introduces the application lifecycle management (ALM) process and the three development models.
      1. Change set development
      2. Org development
      3. Package development
    3. What’s Safe to Change In Production?
      1. You can safely develop some kinds of new functionality in a production org. Customization that don’t affect data are safe to create in a production org, such as developing new dashboards, reports, and email templates. However, certain customization made directly in production can create a mess by deleting data or even worse.
    4. Application lifecycle management – ALM provides them with process and policies that help them build apps smoothly and therefore faster, without breaking things. Apps and tools can vary, but the steps in the ALM cycle apply to any Salesforce development project.
      1. Step 1: Plan Release – Start your customization or development project with a plan. Gather requirements and analyze them. Have your product manager (or equivalent) create design specifications and share them with the development team for implementation. Determine the various development and testing environments the team needs as the project progresses through the ALM cycle.
      2. Step 2: Develop – Complete the work, following the design specifications. Perform the work in an environment containing a copy of the production org’s metadata, but with no production data. Develop on Lightning Platform using an appropriate combination of declarative tools (Process Builder, the Custom Object wizard, and others in the UI) and programmatic tools (Developer Console, Source Code Editor, or Visual Studio Code).
      3. Step 3: Test – Exercise the changes you’re making to check that they work as intended before you integrate them with other people’s work. Do your testing in the same type of environment as you used in the develop step, but keep your development and integrated testing environments separate. At this point, focus on testing your changes themselves, not on understanding how your changes affect other parts of the release or the app as a whole.
      4. Step 4: Build Release – Aggregate all the assets you created or modified during the develop stage into a single release artifact: a logical bundle of customizations that you deploy to production. From this point on, focus on what you’re going to release, not on the contributions of individuals.
      5. Step 5: Test Release – Test what you’re actually going to deploy, but test safely in a staging environment that mimics production as much as possible. Use a realistic amount of representative production data. Connect your test environments with all the external systems they need to mimic your production system’s integration points. Run full regression and final performance tests in this step. Test the release with a small set of experienced people who provide feedback (a technique called user-acceptance testing).
      6. Step 6: Release – When you’ve completed your testing and met your quality benchmarks, you can deploy the customization to production. Train your employees and partners so they understand the changes. If a release has significant user impact, create a separate environment with realistic data for training users.
    5. Releases typically fall into one of three categories
      1. Patch Bug fixes and simple changes – Simple changes include reports, dashboards, list views, and email templates.
      2. Minor Changes with limited impact, such as a new workflow rule or trigger impacting a single business process.
        1. These releases typically require testing, but only limited training and change management. Typically, a team delivers the changes for a minor release within a few weeks.
      3. Major Changes with significant impact, including changes with one or more dependencies. Because these releases can greatly affect the user experience and data quality, they require thorough testing, training, and careful change management. Major releases are typically delivered once a quarter (Salesforce does it three times a year).
        1. Release on a consistent schedule.
    6. In change set development, the team’s release artifact is a set of metadata changes, like a diff or delta, relative to what’s in the production org. What gets released is only metadata that has been added or changed—if it doesn’t change, it’s not in the release.
      1. Each developer tracks any changes made in their customization for the release. The tracking tool can be anything from a spreadsheet to a work tracking system.
      2. Certain changed components may not be available in Metadata API yet, and have to be migrated manually between environments. If you track these changes, you won’t forget to migrate them.
      3. As the release manager, Calvin works to discover and include dependent components in the release. For example, it’s impossible to migrate a new custom field to the next environment if the custom object it belongs to doesn’t exist in the target org. The change set tool helps Calvin identify these dependencies.
    7. A package at might contain any of the following customizations.
      1. Custom apps they built in-house
      2. Extensions of Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and so on
      3. Extensions of an AppExchange app
      4. Updates to shared libraries and functionality
    8. As you plan a release, make sure your release participants can access the environments they need at each step in the ALM process. Calvin and his team are using the change set development model, so they use sandbox environments optimized for the tasks in each ALM step. Remember, a sandbox is just a copy of your production org in a separate environment. Some sandboxes don’t contain any production data, while others hold varying amounts. Here’s how Calvin’s team uses sandboxes in each step of ALM.
      1. Develop and test steps: Each team member has their own Developer sandbox to create their assigned customization. Developer sandboxes contain no production data.
      2. Build release: Each team member migrates their customizations from their respective Developer sandboxes to a shared Developer Pro sandbox for integration. Developer Pro sandboxes don’t contain production data, but you can seed them with testing data.
      3. Test release: For user-acceptance testing, the team uses a Full sandbox to create a complete replica of production. A Full sandbox includes production data.
      4. Release: After the release is in production, the team can use the Full sandbox created in the last step to train users without exposing production data.The steps in the application lifecycle: develop and test with deverloper sandboxes; build release with a developer pro sandbox; test release with a full sandbox; and release to production
  8. Process Automation: 20%
    1. Preparing for your Advanced Admin Certification-Approval Processes
    2. Advanced Formulas
    3. Apex triggers enable you to perform custom actions before or after events to records in Salesforce, such as insertions, updates, or deletions. Just like database systems support triggers, Apex provides trigger support for managing records.
    4. Use triggers to perform tasks that can’t be done by using the point-and-click tools in the Salesforce user interface. For example, if validating a field value or updating a field on a record, use validation rules and workflow rules instead.
    5. To execute a trigger before or after insert, update, delete, and undelete operations, specify multiple trigger events in a comma-separated list. The events you can specify are:
      1. before insert
      2. before update
      3. before delete
      4. after insert
      5. after update
      6. after delete
      7. after undelete
    6. There are two types of triggers.
      1. Before triggers are used to update or validate record values before they’re saved to the database.
      2. After triggers are used to access field values that are set by the system (such as a record’s Id or LastModifiedDate field), and to affect changes in other records. The records that fire the after trigger are read-only.
    7. To access the records that caused the trigger to fire, use context variables. For example, Trigger.New contains all the records that were inserted in insert or update triggers. Trigger.Old provides the old version of sObjects before they were updated in update triggers, or a list of deleted sObjects in delete triggers. Triggers can fire when one record is inserted, or when many records are inserted in bulk via the API or Apex. Therefore, context variables, such as Trigger.New, can contain only one record or multiple records. You can iterate over Trigger.New to get each individual sObject.
    8. The following table is a comprehensive list of all context variables available for triggers.
      Variable Usage
      isExecuting Returns true if the current context for the Apex code is a trigger, not a Visualforce page, a Web service, or an executeanonymous() API call.
      isInsert Returns true if this trigger was fired due to an insert operation, from the Salesforce user interface, Apex, or the API.
      isUpdate Returns true if this trigger was fired due to an update operation, from the Salesforce user interface, Apex, or the API.
      isDelete Returns true if this trigger was fired due to a delete operation, from the Salesforce user interface, Apex, or the API.
      isBefore Returns true if this trigger was fired before any record was saved.
      isAfter Returns true if this trigger was fired after all records were saved.
      isUndelete Returns true if this trigger was fired after a record is recovered from the Recycle Bin. This recovery can occur after an undelete operation from the Salesforce user interface, Apex, or the API.
      new Returns a list of the new versions of the sObject records.

      This sObject list is only available in insert, update, and undelete triggers, and the records can only be modified in before triggers.

      newMap A map of IDs to the new versions of the sObject records.

      This map is only available in before update, after insert, after update, and after undelete triggers.

      old Returns a list of the old versions of the sObject records.

      This sObject list is only available in update and delete triggers.

      oldMap A map of IDs to the old versions of the sObject records.

      This map is only available in update and delete triggers.

      operationType Returns an enum of type System.TriggerOperation corresponding to the current operation.

      Possible values of the System.TriggerOperation enum are: BEFORE_INSERT, BEFORE_UPDATE, BEFORE_DELETE,AFTER_INSERT, AFTER_UPDATE, AFTER_DELETE, and AFTER_UNDELETE. If you vary your programming logic based on different trigger types, consider using the switch statement with different permutations of unique trigger execution enum states.

      size The total number of records in a trigger invocation, both old and new.
    9. Calling addError() in a trigger causes the entire set of operations to roll back, except when bulk DML is called with partial success.

Additional Resources

A few blogs help you prepare for the Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator exam.

  1. Book: Mastering Salesforce CRM Administration.
  2. Sign up for Salesforce Certification Days Webinar for – Advanced Administrator Certification
  3. Instructor lead training by Trailhead
    1. Administer, Extend, and Automate Salesforce (ADX211)
    2. Administer, Extend, and Automate Salesforce – Extended ADX-211E)
    3. Prepare for your Advanced Administrator Certification Exam (CRT211)


If you have basic experience with all the above topics, passing the exam will be a cinch, and you will be able to earn the much-coveted Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator certification exam! However, if you do not have enough experience (6-9 months) with the Salesforce platform and plan to become a Certified Advanced Administrator. I suggest you draw a 6-9 months plan (finish the above Trailhead to prepare for it).

I hope that you find these tips and resources useful. If you put the time and effort in, you will succeed. Happy studying and good luck!

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