How to study for and PASS the Salesforce Certified Data Architecture & Management Designer exam

This would be my last blog post for 2017 and looks like it will be published a few hours before midnight!  So 2018 is almost at hand! 

Back in 2016, when Salesforce introduced the Architect Designer exams, a few of us got the chance to take them as BETA exams. I was in Hobart back then and it was a struggle to even take these exams as they could only be taken at a test center and Hobart did not have any at that time. 

But Kryterion came through for me and I had to take 3 beta exams on the trot on 3 consecutive days at the University of Tasmania.  I passed the first two – “Integration Architecture Designer” and “Development Life cycle and Deployment Designer”. It is still a surreal experience of passing these exams in Hobart. 

Read about my struggles and how to pass those exams here

On the 3rd day, I took the Data Management exam and failed. After the initial highs of passing two brand new exams, I took the 3rd one lightly and combined with my lack of experience in some of the study areas, it was foregone conclusion. I put this exam aside and continued slogging through work. In between, I managed to get some more certifications – The last one being the “Identity and Access Management Designer” in May. Work got too hectic and other stuff came up which consumed some time of mine. This included being a First time speaker at Dreamforce 2017. More about that in my next blog post. 

This time I did get some more experience with data loading and working on the sidelines with a large scale data migration. So that helped me to do some informal reading on the topic in my spare time. 

But anyways, I finally got some time to formally study for this exam during the past couple of days. I found my way back on the road to the #JourneyToCTA.  I took this exam yesterday and passed. As usual, it was a great feeling! 

My shiny new cert!

To be honest, I am not a huge fan of this topic. But I have worked quite a bit with data migration now and this is definitely very important information to know for a Salesforce Technical Architect and it is one of the most common requirements in large enterprise projects.

So I highly recommend this certification for anyone who is interested to learn more about managing data with Salesforce. 

So here is what I did to study for this exam. 

Firstly, I went through the study guide to get an idea about the exam content. The big takeaway obviously is that the passing score is 67%. You have 60 questions and so you need to get about 42 right (to be safe). 

More info about this exam is here. And the study guide can be found here

Also, as you know the inkling book has now been replaced by these awesome self contained resource guides

Next, I read this awesome blog post by Gemma Emmett (who also happens to a colleague from Bluewolf). Not only has she listed the topics but she has added some great content about those topics.

I highly recommend working through the trail mix that she has made available. 

That definitely gave me ideas to begin my preparation. Next I spoke to other colleagues at work who passed this exam and got some pointers. 

I studied for about 8-10 hours over 2 days to cover these topics. I relied quite a bit on my experience with data migrations and so if you have had less experience you should definitely take your time with preparing for the exam. 

The following are the important things to know from my experience. 

Thoughts about the exam in general:

  • This is an interesting exam because it deals with data and apart from knowing data management strategies, you also need to be aware of Salesforce integration practices as well as Salesforce security concepts. 
  • There were 5 extra questions on the exam which supposedly do not make a difference to your score.
  • Keep an eye on time. I finished with 20 mins to spare and I only had 20 questions which were marked for review. 
  • Most questions were straight forward but some questions were pretty descriptive. But keep an eye out for clues which will make it easy to answer. 
  • I felt that this exam was the easiest in terms of eliminating wrong answers to get to the right one. I personally felt confident especially in questions which need 2 or 3 correct answers to be chosen. 
  • This might comfort you  – Some questions are very short and easy. There were a few times in the exam where I had a stupid grin on my face seeing these. 😀

In closing, I felt this exam was not too hard. A decent understanding of the above topics will help you to pass easily. As usual, if you have any questions please do feel free to comment below or tweet me at

Also please do subscribe to my blog from the form on your right to stay updated when new posts are made. Thanks in advance! 

Good luck and may the Force be with you! 🙂