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A few people have asked me, whilst on my CTA journey, in which order I’d recommend taking the certifications.

Opinion is undoubtedly divided on this matter. There are a few overlaps between the certifications in terms of content but the main thing I’ve learnt to date is that as you piece it all together, you start to gain a broader understanding of how the Salesforce platform is orchestrated, so it all ties in, probably to ensure you are as prepared for the Certified Technical Architect review board as you can possibly be.

The approach I decided upon was to work towards Application Architect by the end of October, then move over to System Architect. Whilst I found that objective fairly SMART, it wasn’t necessarily smart because it meant my study was a bit more fragmented; skipping about a lot. It wasn’t until I started studying for the Integration Architecture certification that this occurred to me because the direct references to the bulk API in terms of data backup had me referring back to my notes for the data architecture exam.

So this is the order I took them in:

  1. Platform App Builder
  2. Data Architecture and Management Designer
  3. Sharing and Visibility Designer
  4. Platform Developer 1 – I became an Application Architect when I passed this one
  5. Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer
  6. Integration Architecture Designer*
  7. Identity and Access Management Designer*

(*) indicates currently studying, not yet certified at the time of writing

How I’d do it next time

If I could start all over again, knowing what I know now, I’d probably do it this way:

  1. Platform App Builder
  2. Platform Developer I
  3. Data Architecture and Management Designer
  4. Integration Architecture Designer
  5. Sharing and Visibility Designer
  6. Identity and Access Management Designer
  7. Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer


  • The two platform exams test your knowledge of the fundamentals of the Salesforce platform – declarative and Apex programming, enabling you to identify the appropriate approach when presented with a requirement.
  • Data and integration certifications ultimately set you up for design excellence in your role – ensuring the database performs at its best, that you can design integrations with a great understanding of master data management and its benefits
  • Leading nicely from data to security of data and systems – sharing and visibility (and its impact on performance), followed by identity and access management.
  • A great finale is the development lifecycle certification that enables you to efficiently deploy all these changes, recognising the limitations, capabilities, governance frameworks and best practice approaches for doing so.
Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer Exam Tips
Salesforce Certified Integration Architecture Designer Exam Tips