Integration Architecture Certification Guide & Tips

This is a repost of a post I wrote for SalesforceBens blog.

The beauty of the Salesforce App Cloud platform is that it not only allows you to build apps at lightning speed but also provides tools to connect the platform with external systems. With its API-first approach you can integrate the App platform with almost any legacy system and with other cloud platforms like AWS, GAE etc, without writing a lot of code.

To help you become a become a better implementer and platform architect, Salesforce has introduced a new certification around..you guessed it….Integration Architecture called the Integration Architecture Designer Certification. It’s part of the new Architect Academy Certification Program, specifically the Domain Specialist certification that’s designed to build an ecosystem of Salesforce Architects.

From the certification guidelines, the following skill set and knowledge is desirable and recommended to take this exam. I’ve copied them below verbatim for reference.

  • Has 5+ years of delivery experience. Provides experienced guidance on the appropriate choice of on-platform and off-platform technology.
  • Is certified on Admin, Advanced Admin, Developer, or Platform App Builder.
  • Understands integration capabilities and patterns, design trade-offs, and has the ability to communicate design choices.
  • Has held a technical architect role on multiple complex deployments or has gained equivalent knowledge through participation and exposure to these types of projects [either with single or multiple projects].
  • Has a thorough understanding of Web Services in general and SOAP and REST specifically; understands the basic workings of HTTP/S. Understands the different Force.com APIs and is able to design solutions using the appropriate API.
  • Understands data migration considerations, design trade-offs, and common ETL tools.
  • Has experience with common integration patterns used on the Force.com Platform.
  • Understands patterns/mechanisms to secure integrations, such as TLS for HTTP.

Preparation

If you are familiar with Salesforce certification exams, you would already know that the exam is composed of both scenario based questions and specific knowledge based questions. The split is probably 50/50.

To prepare for this exam, Salesforce University has created a course catalog called Architect Academy, that you can either purchase per domain or all nine domains. The individual price per domain is $399.99 or you can bulk purchase them all for $2,499.99.

You can purchase the Integration Architecture resource guide from here.

I’d highly recommend it despite its steep price, it contains a lot of useful information and guided build exercises that’ll help you thoroughly prepare for the exam.

My personal take on cracking the exam is to at least be knowledgeable of the following:

  1. Integration architecture and patterns for the Salesforce platform
  2. How different APIs work
    • SOAP
    • REST
    • Web services
    • Bulk API
  3. General Enterprise Integration concepts
  4. Multi-org strategy including Salesforce to Salesforce
  5. Salesforce backups and restore
  6. And finally how mashups and composite applications work

If you have worked on Salesforce Integration projects you should be familiar with most of the items I’ve listed above. The rest you can learn from the Resource Guide or by traversing the documentation and blog posts available online.

Here are a few blog posts to get you started:

Final Thoughts

In my opinion it is not an easy exam but it is not unfair, if you cover all the topics mentioned above in your revision and understand the intricacies and complexities of Salesforce integration you should be able to pass it (with flying colors). Feel free to reach out to me on twitter (@anup) if you have any specific questions about the exam.