On May 30, 2019, I took and passed the Sharing & Visibility Designer Exam – my first Architect certification.
The Sharing and Visibility Designer Exam is one of four certifications that make up the Salesforce Certified Application Architect (CAA) credential of the Architect pyramid. The other certifications that make up a CAA are: Platform App Builder, Platform Developer I and Data Architecture And Management Designer. Once an individual earns both the Certified Application Architect and Certified System Architect, s/he can go in front of the board for the Certified Technical Architect credential — the very top of the Architect pyramid!
Note: Ruth is Salesforce’s newest mascot for Salesforce architects. She was first introduced at TrailheaDX 2019.
From the exam guide…
“The Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer credential is created for architects, analysts, and administrators who want to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities to design secure, scalable security models on the Lightning Platform. A Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer should be able to communicate technical solutions to technical stakeholders and provide a project delivery framework that ensures quality and meets business requirements.”
Here’s examples of concepts you should know to pass the exam:
Design a security and sharing model within Salesforce based on complex requirements.
Articulate system design considerations, benefits, trade-offs, and recommendations for a security and sharing model.
Use best practices and know which standard Salesforce functionality to use when designing to meet complex requirements.
Important information about the exam:
- This 120 minute exam consists of 60 multiple choice/multi-select questions.
Passing score is 68%, or about 40 correctly answered questions.
The registration fee is $400 with a retake fee of $200.
1. Review the Concepts in the Sharing and Visibility Designer Exam Guide & Group Objectives by Their Weightings
Here is the exam outline:
In reviewing the exam outline with the category weightings, anticipate approximately these many questions per exam category:
- Declarative sharing: 64% (~38 questions)
- Programmatic Sharing: 28% (~17 questions)
- Performance: 8% (~5 questions)
Doing the math, your best bet is to focus your studies on being solid in the declarative sharing concepts and comfortable in programmatic sharing, more so than the performance concept.
2. Perform a Self Assessment on the Objectives and ID Areas Needing Knowledge Improvement
I reviewed the exam outline and determined how comfortable I was in each bullet point. For example, in reviewing the Declarative Sharing outline, I was comfortable with a private OWD and sharing rules, classic and platform encryption given the nature of the industry I’m in (Financial Services) as well as access to reports and dashboards and record access via role hierarchy. I needed to learn about territory management, community sharing, and data storage solutions, which I have no or little experience with, so I focused more on those topics.
Since I’m a declarative app builder, I am less familiar with programmatic sharing and performance considerations so I had to learn those new concepts, which comprised of 36% of the exam.
3. Increase Your Knowledge. Hit the Trails, Play in Your Dev Org and Get “Focused.”
I attended the Application Architect bootcamp, which was part of TrailheaDX bootcamp. This covered both Sharing and Visibility Designer and Data Architecture and Management Designer exams taught by CTAs. The bootcamp costs about $2K+, additional to the TrailheaDX conference fee.
If attending the bootcamp is cost prohibitive, I recommend going through the material in the below Trailmix, which includes completing trailhead modules:
Of the content in the Trailmix, read and know Record Access Under the Hood.
For $24, you can purchase the Focus on Force Sharing and Visibility Designer Study Guide, which gives you unlimited access and updates for up to 12 months. Focus on Force does a good job at walking through the key concepts you need to know on the declarative sharing, programmatic sharing and performance concepts. The guide has short videos for each category with business requirements and solutions for each category. I found the study guide quite helpful in introducing the various concepts. The illustrations for the community sharing helped me understand how sharing sets and share groups work.
For another $24, purchase the Focus on Force Sharing and Visibility Designer Practice Exams. This is the best $24 you could spend to prep for this exam. I need practice exams to get me into that test taking mindset. These exams do a really good job of testing the concepts you need to know. You can take exam questions for each specific category or take 2 mock exams or access the pool of mock exam questions. I recommend investing in the paid exam resources (you are paying the company to keep the material updated and present accurate information) rather than rely on quizlets people put together, which may or may not be correct. If you then base your studying off of potential wrong answers, that can throw you to a loop.
Actual work experience is very helpful but if you do not have that, I recommend playing around with the concepts in a sandbox, where you can, and know the options on the setup screens.
June 2018: Study Group VI: Community Sharing & Visibility [This is actually part of the Community Cloud certification study group, but I felt this was helpful understanding sharing in a community.]
Gemma Emmett‘s blog post “Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer Exam Tips” was very helpful too.
Lastly, as you work through the concepts, Google is your friend. Use it.
4. Bottom Line, Here’s What You Need to Know…
- Know the options for OWD and what users can and cannot do with each setting.
- Understand the different types of sharing rules and who can be assigned to them.
- Understand standard and custom profiles and when to use profiles versus permission sets.
- Understand how record access works with role hierarchy.
- Understand sharing/visibility with account, opportunity and case teams.
- Understand sharing/visibility using enterprise territory management.
- Understand manual sharing.
- Understand the different access grants: implicit, explicit, inherited and group memberships.
- Understand apex managed sharing and when to use it.
- Understand what a share table is.
- Understand what can cause performance issues and methods to use to improve/avoid it (parallel sharing rule calculation, granular locking, deferred sharing maintenance, account data skew).
- Understand the concepts of with and without sharing in code.
- Understand what RunAs() is and when to use it, know how to check object and field access in code.
- Understand how to protect your apex and visualforce applications against security vulnerabilities, such as cross-site scripting.
- Understand the differences between classic and platform encryption and apex crypto class is and the use cases for each.
- Understand community sharing, know when to use share sets, share groups or sharing rules.
- Understand how to share access to reports, dashboards and list views.
- Understand how to troubleshoot access issues.
5. Game Time!
Read the questions CAREFULLY. I cannot stress that enough, so I am going to repeat it. Read the questions CAREFULLY. Do not jump to conclusions. If you miss a keyword, you can end up answering the questions incorrectly. Sometimes, it helps to read the question a second time.
For questions regarding role hierarchy, I found it helpful to sketch the hierarchy out on paper and then based on your role hierarchy, answer the question about access.
For questions I found that I had no idea or may be stuck on the 3rd of the select 3 answers questions, I select “Mark for Review” to come back to it later. Try and rule out answers that are clearly incorrect. Don’t spend too much time on any given question. You can always come back to it. You have 60 questions to answer.
Go with your gut when answering questions. Try not to start second guessing yourself. You may be changing correct answers to incorrect ones.
Best of luck to you and let me know how you do!