My Journey To Become a Salesforce Certified Application Architect

Written by: Purusottam Kaushik, Principal, CG Infinity Inc.

About Me

I am an IT professional with 19 years of experience in managing and delivering both Microsoft and Open-Source technology stacks. I started my career when a developer’s arsenal used to be limited, and any niche implementation required doing things from scratch. A year ago, I got an opportunity to work on a Salesforce project. To be honest, I was apprehensive about the Salesforce platform because the type of control and freedom that a technical team has is limited in a traditional development environment.

Soon I realized that somebody with a strong traditional development skill set can not only work on Salesforce’s platform but thrive in it.  I decided to move to the “dark side” and aim for a “Salesforce Certified Application Architect” Path.


Certified Application Architect is one of the requirements to becoming a sought-after “Certified Application Architect.” This certificate comprises of the following four certificates, on completion of which one is awarded the “Certified Application Architect.”

  • Platform App Builder
  • Platform Developer 1
  • Sharing and Visibility Designer
  • Data Architecture and Management Designer

Exam Sequence

You can attempt the above certificate exams in any order, but my recommendation will be to attempt them in the exact same order as mentioned above. This order builds up your competency level to achieve your next certificate level. As I always expected, Data Architecture and Maintenance Designer was the toughest of the lot. My experience of managing and designing data models in the past really came in handy.

How to Prepare

To prepare for the Application Architect exams, Trailhead is definitely a good place to start. But it is not sufficient. You will need to refer to the exam guides (from Trailhead) and practice in your developer org. Let’s be realistic; if you are aiming for architect certificates, you need to have hands-on experience. In our jobs, we don’t get to work on everything that an architect needs to do. Developer org provides the environment to practice and hone your skills.

I also purchased the study material from FocusonForce. The study material was good for all exams except Data Architecture and Maintenance Designer. This exam is entirely a scenario-based exam and tests your knowledge of how you will solve a problem.

Last but not least, stay away from dumps. The Certified Application Architect credential is a coveted credential. It intends to test your skill set and make sure that you have hands-on experience. Dumps may help you with clearing your exam, but they will not make you successful in your role as an architect. Secondly, the use of dumps is against Salesforce’s idea of integrity.


You need only the following four things to achieve your goal:

  • Set a target date. Give yourself a deadline.
  • Hands-on experience
  • Trailhead
  • Extensive Study Material

You can also find online study groups to help you prepare for your studies. I started my journey in October 2020 and earned the Application Architect credential in March 2021.