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We all know the Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA) is expensive. Add $6k to the already-significant costs of completing the certifications needed to get to System Architect and Application Architect and it’s enough to make any CFO break into a sweat. However, for a Salesforce partner, the benefits of having a CTA make it an incredibly worthwhile investment. Let me (attempt to!) tell you how.


What’s CTA All About?

To become a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect is to demonstrate that you have mastered the Salesforce platform; it’s no small feat to achieve it. It’s notoriously difficult to pass because you really do have to know your stuff, however, Salesforce has started making a significant effort to build relationships with CTA candidates in order to position them for success.

It’s expensive and difficult – why should I try?

Yes it is. But CTA is the absolute pinnacle of what you can achieve as a Salesforce expert. Once you’ve got CTA, your colleagues, prospects, customers and future hiring managers have the confidence that you know what you’re talking about. You can be trusted to come up with the optimum solution and help others to develop their knowledge along the way. This gives no end of benefits to your company and to your career:

What do I have to do?

The #JourneytoCTA starts with passing the Designer exams, culminating in what’s known as the Review Board exam. This is a presentation the candidate has to give to a panel of judges to show how they would take a hypothetical scenario and transform it into a secure, high-performing solution. It’s a big task because you have to show how you’ve considered things like data volumes, security, sharing, integrations and identity – and you have to go into detail.

It takes hours of study to get ready for the review board; it also takes hours of study before you’re even eligible to apply for it. If you harbour ambitions of obtaining the CTA credential, one purpose of doing all those pre-requisite exams is to ensure you’ve got all the knowledge you need to succeed. It’s not about passing one exam and moving onto the next one. It’s then remembering everything you were tested on.

You’ll have to explain it in detail to somebody who knows it better than you do and can tell whether you truly know the material or not.

What’s the investment?

Assuming you pass the first time (including the optional Community Cloud and Mobile Solutions Architecture certifications), you can expect to part with $3,000 (USD) plus tax to get to System Architect and Application Architect. Retakes are charged at 50% of the original fee.



Benefits for your company:

  • A valuable font of knowledge – a mentor who inspires your team
  • More accurate Statements of Work
  • A strategic approach to implementation
  • A trusted technical pre-sales resource
  • An accredited technical leader for your most important projects
  • Higher quality implementations
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Competitive edge – there are fewer than 250 CTAs in the world. Many of them work (or have worked) at Salesforce.
  • A stronger partner relationship with Salesforce by showing commitment to developing your staff
  • Increased sales opportunities

Benefits for you:

  • Developing presentation skills
  • Learning to explain things concisely
  • Master elements of the platform you didn’t think you could
  • The satisfaction of having that mastery recognised by community, colleagues and peers
  • It puts you in a position to lead the delivery of a Salesforce project
  • The opportunity to mentor and teach others
  • People trust you more (this is all the more important for women who work in Salesforce consulting)
  • You have the knowledge you need to be a better architect
  • More career options available to you – I know some CTAs who say it has opened doors for them
  • More money and more negotiating power

OK, what’s next?

If this is truly something you want to do, think about what your company values in its partnership with Salesforce and play to these when you put your case together.

If you’re lucky enough have an architect development programme at your company, tap into it!

Doubting yourself?

My advice is to start at the beginning, work through some certifications you know you’d be strong on and see how you feel about it. I started working on my #JourneytoCTA late last year after a simple conversation; I just wound myself up and before I knew it, I’d made my mind up to do it. I guess it helped me that Bluewolf was always transparent about its commitment to career development so I knew it was an option I didn’t have to try and sell; if anything, they sold it to me.

Another option you have is to come and join us at Ladies Be Architects. There are monthly virtual study groups and success stories we share together. In addition, we recently held a webinar with Doina Popa and Debra Maranta, who shared their views on the benefits of working towards CTA. You can watch it here:

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