Recertification on Trailhead

Now that Summer 18 is live it’s recertification time, and as announced at TrailheaDX, the recerts are migrating to Trailhead. This is part of a continuing trend that started with the Platform Developer II moving over to Superbadges — a move I’ve been critical of, particularly around the security aspects as, in my view, it makes it easier for those that want to game the system. I even wrote an April Fools post about it, which was intended partly as satire, but also partly as a dig to show my continuing displeasure:

So you might be surprised to find that I’m all in favour of recerts moving to the Trailhead platform, for a few reasons.

Recerts were always “open book”

Unlike the original certs which had to be taken at a tested centre or proctored online, recerts are simply an online test via webassessor, typically with less than 10 questions. I can guarantee that everyone took these with the release notes open in another browser tab, if only as a backstop, and you had to work pretty hard to fail them. If you failed 3 times that meant in theory you lost that certification, and maybe others — as Developer was a pre-requisite for Technical Architect, I risked another round of the review board if I failed a few times. I don’t know if anyone ever did lose a cert this way — if they did then it wasn’t publicised!

They are free

While $100/recert/year isn’t a fortune in Western Europe and the US, especially if you are working for a partner and the company pays, that isn’t the case everywhere, or even for everyone in the rich countries. Funding multiple recerts can represent a significant investment over the years. Putting them onto Trailhead and making them free should make certs more accessible and increase the number of certified individuals, helping to close the current gap between jobs and skilled candidates that pretty much every territory is experiencing.

They can be tougher on Trailhead

The Summer 18 App Builder recert (on Trailhed) broke new ground by introducing a hands on exercise to build a flow. I found this quite enjoyable as I don’t build a lot of flows these days so it was good to get back on the declarative tools. It was only the one exercise, so obviously didn’t cover the full set of changes impacting app builders in the release, but is definitely a step in the right direction.

Personally I’d like to see more of these exercises to make earning a recert a bit more of a challenge — that way customers can be a little more sure that if they engage a certified professional they are getting someone with deep knowledge of Salesforce that they’ve applied in a real scenario. Of course it would still be open to abuse in terms of solution sharing etc, but there will always be a minority looking for a short-cut trying to spoil it for everyone else.

I don’t think this tougher recert dream will become reality though. For one thing it would be a huge amount of work given the number of certifications available multiplied by three releases a year, and for another it might make the numbers slow down or reverse direction! This is one area where talk of Salesforce having a startup mindset rings true — all numbers need to keep heading upwards and accelerating year on year!

I’m better known in the Salesforce community as Bob Buzzard — Umpteen Certifications, including Technical Architect, 6 x MVP and CTO of BrightGen, a Platinum Cloud Alliance Partner in the United Kingdom who are hiring.

You can find my (usually) more technical thoughts at the Bob Buzzard Blog

CTO at BrightGen, author Visualforce Development Cookbook, multi Salesforce Developer MVP. Salesforce Certified Technical Architect. I am the one who codes.

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