How to study for and PASS the Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer exam

I took and passed the “Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer” exam yesterday (Jan 5, 2018). It was a pretty interesting experience to say the least. This exam was the last one for me to get the “Application Architect” credential and be eligible for the CTA board exam. It is a surreal experience now and I will start earnest preparations for the board exam. I hope that 2018 will be the year that I will be a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect. That is the Holy Grail and that is my interim goal. I say “interim” because even though the CTA is the pinnacle of certifications in Salesforce, the learning process will not stop by any means whatsoever. Salesforce will keep innovating and we will have to keep up with all of those great new features. #JourneyToCTA

My shiniest new cert!
My shiniest new cert!

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

Here is the study guide

There are 60 questions (Plus 5 additional unscored questions). 68% is the passing score and so you need to get about 42 questions right to comfortable sail through. 

Here is the resource guide that contains all of the recommended study materials. This has all the materials that you need to nail this exam. 

I however could not go through all of this. I studied for about 5-6 hours total and focussed on the areas that I had less experience in while relying on my close to 7 years of Salesforce experience. I just opened some of the Salesforce guides which I will list below and quickly perused through them and made a note of important topics. 

But I HIGHLY recommend working through most of the topics in the resource guide. If you are not well versed with sharing, use TRAILHEAD. It is the best resource! 

Anyways, here are the important topics from my experience. 

  • Know the basics of sharing well. This includes Object sharing, FLS, Record level sharing (Role hierarchy, sharing rules, manual sharing, APEX sharing). If you are not well versed with this, then 
  •  What org wide sharing defaults are? How are they different for internal v/s external objects?
    • Remember the key point that permissions should be highly restrictive at this level and gradually opened up using other security mechanisms like sharing rules for example. 
    • Implication of “Grant access using hierarchies” option. 
  • Implicit Sharing (Parent to child and Child to parent)
  • Account Teams and how they are related to Opportunity Teams and Case Teams. 
  • What are the different security options provided by Profiles? What options are available in profiles v/s Permission Sets?
    • Can you assign further access or restrictions using a Permission Set?
    • Use cases of Permission Sets. 
  • Know the different User permissions needed to perform certain activities. 
    • For example “Export Reports” is needed on a profile to export a report. 
    • It is best to memorize the permissions you come across when studying these topics. 
  • Report and Dashboard folders and how you can share them and foster collaboration. 
  • Learn about Lookup/Ownership skew and how to avoid this?
  • How to avoid Row locking errors?
  • Granular Locking and what problems could it solve?
  • Different Community Licenses and when to use each one?
    • Sharing Sets and Sharing Groups – Easy topic and quite a few questions on this. 
    • Sharing for partner portal users?
  • Enterprise Territory Management – I did not study this topic and relied on my experience with territories (I last worked with them in 2013). The very first question was from this topic and it stumped me. So READ THIS! 
  • How do you protect data at rest in Salesforce
    • Features of Salesforce Shield Platform encryption
  • How can sharing affect performance and how to design it to be scalable?
    • Deferring Sharing calculation
  • How can an admin trouble shoot sharing issues?
    • Login as feature
  • Profile security for logins (IP ranges, IP hours) v/s org level security for logins.
  • Programmatic Sharing – I enjoyed questions from this and got almost all right (25% weighting) , If you have done quite a bit of coding in APEX, these questions will be virtual home runs! 
    • Apex sharing
    • Understand the Share table (How does it differ for Standard v/s custom objects)
    • How do sharing table entries change when record ownership changes?
    • Methods to check whether FLS or object level security can enforced in Apex and VF. Also know the namespaces for these methods. 
    • What is Cross Site Scripting, CSRF attack, SOQL injection?
    • With Sharing v/s without sharing. What is the default? How does it impact inner classes?
    • runAs() Method. Know it in and out. 
  • Manual Sharing.
  • Custom Permissions
  • Group Maintenance Tables. 

These are the important resources to review. The first and last links are pretty important! 

Thoughts about the exam in general:

  1. I took this exam right after the “Salesforce Certified Data Architecture & Management Designer” exam and it helped me as I had read about sharing for enterprise projects and knew about skews and how to defer sharing calculations. 
  2. Many questions were not that descriptive. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of “shorter” questions. 
  3. Take your time to carefully read the question and the answers. You can easily eliminate some of the choices if you aren’t too sure of the answer initially. 
  4. I finished with 20 minutes to spare. Definitely keep an eye on time. 
  5. This exam reminded me of the PD2/Advanced Dev Multiple choice and the Identity and Access Mgmt Designer exams in that you either know the answers or you don’t. Its hard to “guess” if you have no clue about the topics. 
  6. A few questions had snippets of code. But do not worry, they were not hard at all in my opinion. 
  7. I listen to heavy metal in general and lately I have been listening to the Death Metal band “Arch Enemy”. One of the songs that stuck in my head was “The world is yours“. For some reason this kept playing in my head during the exam 🙂 Do check out the song here. 


So overall, I felt this exam was not too hard. Sharing is at the core of every Salesforce implementation and so if you have worked with it, you can easily pass this by making sure you know the topics listed above. I wish you all the best. 

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! 

In closing, I leave you with these lyrics from the song above. 

If you want the world
Use your mind
Take control
Feel the strength
Rise from within
If you really want it the world is yours

The #JourneyToCTA continues…..