Slow Your Roll: taking your time with your #JourneyToCTA is GOOD, actually.

Hello, and welcome to Another Salesforce Blog!  Here I will be posting solutions to problems that I couldn’t find an answer to in hopes of helping those who find themselves stuck when using the Salesforce platform.

Today, I’d like to talk about something I’ve been working on the last few months (well, really, years): my #JourneyToCTA.

The Architect Overview Pyramid from Salesforce Trailhead.

According to Salesforce Ben, at least as of the 2020 writing of the Certified Technical Architect Certification Guide & Tips, there are roughly 300+ Salesforce Certified Technical Architects in the WORLD. There’s a few dozen more CTAs in the three years since the article launched, but it remains an exclusive club.

With the spring soft launch and recent renewed interest in the CTA: Target 2025 Study Group, I’ve had a lot of folks who are new to the ecosystem ask to join, and I’d like to offer an explanation as to why I’ve pushed back.

Before I do that, I’d like to thank folks for their interest, and applaud them for their courage and tenacity in asking. The worst thing that can happen is receiving a no, and while that is the answer in this case, please do NOT stop reaching out to folks in the ecosystem! Your career will only be limited by your willingness to ASK FOR HELP, which is something I had to learn the hard way early on.

Now, getting into it.

I’m an 8x certified Certified Application Architect, and currently working on my three remaining certifications for the Certified System Architect half of the illustrious CTA Pyramid.

A headshot of Evelyn next to the logos for 7 of 8 certs.

I have been in the Salesforce ecosystem for 4.75ish years – January 22nd will mark 5 years – and I am hoping to sit for the Salesforce Certified Technical Architect Exam and Board by the end of 2025.

My certification goals these days tend towards one cert per quarter, which is a breakneck pace compared to some folks’ recommendations of one per year.

Yes, there are folks who line certs up and knock them down. I am not one of those people, and, chances are, neither are you. To be VERY clear: there is nothing wrong with taking certs when you are ready to take the exam and pass. Some folks learn faster than others, some retain information better than others, and some take tests better than others. I know that I am not one of those people, but to be very clear: I respect the hell out of them, and this post is in no way meant to be a knock at anyone who has different tactics than mine.

My reason for my pacing is that I try to absorb the material and work on relevant projects at work to really generate muscle memory for the exam. If there isn’t a relevant project in the pipeline, I build one out in my personal time. I’m a hands on learner, and I really need to be able to see things in practice to absorb them.

If I were to start my #JourneyToCTA from scratch, today, maintaining my goal of one cert per quarter, it would take me 2 years to get the bottom of the pyramid, without factoring in the time needed for preparation for the CTA exam and board.

If I were to pass every exam on the first try, it would cost $2,800 USD out of pocket over that two years to get the 7 required certifications and the 2 recommended certifications. Factor in some retakes (nobody’s perfect!), you’re looking at well over $3,000 USD.

The CTA exam and board total nearly $10k USD on top of that. That doesn’t include mocks, courses, books, preparation materials, or any other potential expenses incurred, that is merely the price of the exam and board.

In all, the total cost for the #JourneyToCTA totals around $15,000 USD at the very minimum. While many of us are lucky enough to have employer support on this journey, most of the time, you have to pay for the exams upfront and get reimbursed upon a successful pass.

So, factoring all of that in, if $15,000 fell into my lap today, I saw a Target 2025 study group, and I had the opportunity to start from scratch and knock it out in two years, would I?

A lottery ticket covered by a $100 bill.

Absolutely not.

Salesforce is such a big platform, it’s impossible to know everything, but CTAs strive to. Not only do they strive to know as much as they can about the platform, they take that knowledge and build solutions with it.

If you had asked me to build a solution from scratch, with best practices, factoring in existing solutions in the org, two years into my Salesforce career? I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Yes, I knew a fair bit about Salesforce, I even had this blog! But the knowledge of practical vs. impractical solutions for a particular org paired with best practices came with time and different roles.

In summary, take your time. Slow your roll. Learn as much as possible. The CTA will be there when you’re ready.

And I’ll hopefully be there to guide you when you are.

Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any comments or questions!

Evelyn Grizzle

Another Salesforce Blog


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