Finally! Salesforce Platform Developer II Certification Completed

The journey to get this certificate was the longest, hardest and most cherished one for me. I had to get past several challenges professionally and emotionally.

Back then it was called Advanced Developer (501). The exam is broken down into three parts. Multiple choice examination, a programming assignment, and an essay. My advanced developer journey spanned several years, let me break down the timelines.

Jan 2013, with 3 years of experience working on the platform I took the multiple choice certification and miserably failed.

April 2013, I regrouped myself and studied harder re-took the examination and passed, that was one of the happiest feelings.

April 2014, a year later I was able to get a schedule for the programming assignment. The scheduling was only twice a year and slots gets full in just a matter of minutes of being open.

June 2014, got the programming assignment. I wasn’t prepared and felt it was the hardest challenge ever. I failed the assignment.

2015, couldn’t get into any schedule as slots are already full.

Jan 2016, finally got in and received the new programming assignment.

Feb 2016, the hardest month of my life as my mom past away and I couldn’t get myself to finish the assignment and I decided to cancel/forfeit the assignment.

Jan 2017, Salesforce transitioned the certification to Platform Developer II. Took the transition exam and passed. No programming assignments slots being offered anymore.

mid-2017, Salesforce released a new superbadge called Advanced Apex Specialist in Trailhead. This turns out to be the replacement to the programming assignment.

March 2018, I made it a goal to finish what I started and get this certification done. Started Trailhead and went through all the pre-requisite superbadges (Apex Specialist, Data Integration Specialist, and Lightning Component Framework Specialist)

June 2018, the Advanced Apex Specialist was a tough cookie, but I have more experience now and mentally ready. Got the superbadge and after a week received an email with my certification. I finally got the most coveted Platform Developer II certification, approximately 5 years since I started.


What a ride it has been. I’m glad it’s done, motivated now to keep pushing forward. I’m moving up to my next goal which is the Journey to CTA(Certified Technical Architect)



Field Service Lightning Certification Preparation and Takeaways

This June, I’ve set a goal to get two Salesforce certifications. Got one down and another to go!
The Field Service Lightning certification I feel is one of the easier certifications among the rest that I have took so far

What helped tremendously on my learning was attending 2 day free training from Salesforce for Field Service Lightning. This quickly got me covering the core principles. While training was still fresh I prepared for the exam for a week. I already have an FSL org to play around so I went through the Trailhead Trailmix with constant checking  on the help documentation for some concepts I did not understand.

There are 60 question plus 5 extra, you are given 90 minutes to complete the exam. Prerequisite to the certification is being Service Cloud certified.

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How to Send Emails from WordPress on a Google Cloud Compute Instance

Google Compute Engine does not allow outbound connections on ports 25, 465 and 587. These SMTP ports are blocked by default due to abuse.

For sending emails through the Google cloud compute instance Google recommends the following:

  • Relay emails through your G suite(formerly known as Google Apps) account
  • Relay using third party email service such as Sendgrid,  Mailgun or Mailjet.
  • Connect your instance to your network via VPN and use your network to send email

With setting up the relay service we would need to configure and install Postfix. We won’t be installing and configuring Postfix on this tutorial. Instead we would be utilizing a WordPress WP Mail Plugin that would allow us to use a Gmail SMTP to send emails. I recommend setting up a new gmail account just for this purpose.

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Tips and Takeaways From Getting the Apex Specialist Superbadge

I’ve started the new certification path for the Platform Developer II as I already passed the multiple choice question a long time ago but it was ridiculously hard getting a slot on the programming assignment. With this new format, I would need to complete these four superbadges.

So, 1 out 4 completed. I got the Apex Specialist Superbadge nailed.

For the Apex Specialist superbadge. There are a total of 6 mini challenges you need to complete. Requirements are straightforward. If you been developing on the platform for some time, the challenge should be a breeze. It took me 6 hours though to coymplete the challenge.

Takeaways from the challenge

  1. There are many options for building the solution. Just stick with where you are most familiar with.
  2. Use maps for more efficient querying and to bulkify your triggers
  3. I thought I already know all my JSON stuffs until I tried to manually parse a JSON string. Get familiar with using the JSON class methods. Check my post on Demystifiyng JSON parsing in Apex.
  4. Given another chance since the requirements are not that complicated this would’ve been a good practice to have tried test-driven development.

If you need help completing the challenge hit the comments below and I’ll be glad to help. Good luck on getting that superbadge.

Demystifying JSON Parsing In Apex

You got back a JSON string either as a response from a REST service, passed through from your visual force page via remote action or passed from your lighting component to your apex controller, now how do you parse this information? For simple JSON structures Salesforce can automatically parse them for you. There are tools online that would generate apex classes from the JSON string that would assist in parsing the JSON input.

It is good to get back to the basics and understand a little bit how the JSON string is structured and how the parsing is done.

What is JSON? JSON is the acronym of Javascript Object Notation and is a lightweight format that is used for data exchange between servers and modern applicationsIt is based on a subset of JavaScript language (the way objects are built in JavaScript).

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