The Salesforce Platform Developer I is a baseline certification for any Salesforce Developer. The major objective of this certification is to make sure that developers have hands-on expertise on platforms like APEX and VisualForce. 

Certified Salesforce Developer l Exam Overview

Here is a quick overview of the exam. You’ll want to understand the exam protocol prior to sitting for the exam: 

  • Content: 60 multiple-choice/multiple-select questions and 5 non-scored questions
  • Time allotted to complete the exam: 110 minutes
  • Passing score: 65%
  • Registration fee: USD 200, plus applicable taxes as required per local law.
    Retake fee: USD 100, plus applicable taxes as required per local law.
  • Delivery options: Proctored exams delivered onsite at a testing center or in an online proctored environment. Click here for information on scheduling an exam.
  • References: No hard-copy or online materials may be referenced during the exam.
  • Prerequisite: None; course attendance highly recommended

Who Should Get the Salesforce Platform Developer I Certification?

The Salesforce Platform Developer I certified person generally has one to two years of experience as a developer and at least six months of experience on the Lightning Platform and has invested time in studying the resources listed in this exam guide.

The Salesforce Platform Developer I candidate has the experience, skills, and knowledge outlined below:

  • Has working experience with object-oriented languages such as Apex, Java.
  • Has working experience relational databases and a good understanding of database DDL and DML languages.
  • Has working experience with agile development.
  • Must have the knowledge of the capabilities of the core objects in the Salesforce schema.
  • Must have the knowledge of the capabilities and use cases for formula fields and roll-up summary fields.
  • Is familiar with and able to leverage relevant declarative capabilities of the platform, where appropriate.
  • Can differentiate when to use declarative vs. programmatic methods. 
  • Can differentiate when to use the Lightning Process Builder vs. an Apex trigger.
  • Must be familiar with the Lightning framework. 
  • Able to use the fundamental programmatic capabilities of the Lightning Platform to develop custom interfaces to extend Salesforce capabilities and develop custom business logic.
  • Able to extend the Lightning Platform using Apex, Visualforce, and basic Lightning Components.
  • Is familiar with the development lifecycle from development to testing, and has knowledge of the available environments.
  • Must know the best practices of working with Apex and Visualforce pages to avoid governor limitations.

A candidate for this exam is not expected to administer any standard Salesforce applications, develop mobile apps, develop and publish managed products on the AppExchange, perform tuning, or design integrations such as callouts, APIs, and email services.

Salesforce Platform Developer I Certification Exam Overview

The exam has a total of 60 questions, below is how the breakdown of the sections according to topic, weight, and the approximate number of questions for each topic. To see the most updated exam guide, you can check it out here. You’ll need a 65% in order to pass the exam, so that would be 39 questions answered correctly. In the Platform Developer l exam there are 6 topics, those topics are outlined below with their appropriate weights and the approximate number of questions on the exam.

Exam Section Weight Approximate Number of Questions on the Exam

Logic & Process Automation
This is the highest weighted topic on the exam. However, it can be further broken down into three categories:



  1. Declarative Features
  2. Basic APEX
  3. Visualforce and Advanced Programmatic APEX
46% 27/28


In this section, you’ll need to know how to write unit tests for APEX classes, triggers, and custom controllers and controller extensions.

12% 7/8

Data Modeling and Management
Understand the foundations of the data model in Salesforce, it consists of:



  1. Objects
  2. Fields
  3. Relationship Types 
    1. Lookup
    2. Master-detail
    3. Many to many
    4. Indirect Lookup
    5. External Lookup
    6. Hierarchical
12% 7/8

User Interface

You’ll need to understand the ways show data in Salesforce using Visualforce pages. Understand the ways to show custom content using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other built-in components.

10% 6

Debug and Deployment Tools

Understand the testing framework that allows you to validate that a solution works as expected. Understand how to write unit tests for Apex classes, triggers, and custom controller and controller extensions

10% 6

Salesforce Fundamentals

You need to understand when to use APEX and when declarative tools can be used for a requirement

10% 6


My Strategy for Passing the Salesforce Platform Developer I Certification

Prior to getting started, I recommend you create a free Salesforce Developer Account, so you can use a free developer instance to learn salesforce, and you’ll have access to free courses on Salesforce Trailhead. I would recommend you to study all the trailhead modules related to Developer 1 exam. There are two trails from Salesforce, that are listed below. It will give you a complete picture of programmatic development. 

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the content, I’d recommend the Salesforce trail: Platform Developer l Certification Prep. In this trial, you’ll be able to take some practice questions that will help you to understand the patterns and types of questions that are asked on the exam. Also, read the Flashcards carefully, sometimes the wording of the questions are a little tricky, so take your time when you’re going through the flashcards. If you’re stuck on any questions, try to go back to your development org and implement the solution for a full understanding of the concept. 

During my exam preparation, I tried to focus more on the highly weighted topics rather than the lower weighted topics. This may or may not work for everyone, but I’d also recommend focusing on the topics that you feel the weakest in. 

Study Materials 

The self-study materials I recommended for this exam are as follows:

Guides to getting started with Apex, Visualforce, SOQL, and SOSL

Additional Study Guides & Key Topics

If you need additional study materials and practice exams, Focus on Force is a great resource. While it is not free, it’s a great resource. The practice exam will provide you with explanations as to why you have answered a question wrong, as well as allow you to retake the exam as many times as you need. 

Below are the key topics for the exam. I’d recommend having a strong understanding of each of these topics prior to taking the exam.

  • Order of execution (on the server, Salesforce).
  • Type of Object Relationships Overview (Lookup, Master-Detail etc.)
  • Security Guidelines for Apex and Visualforce Development.
  • Formula fields, Roll-up summary fields Limitations, feature.
  • Ability to understand where you need to use automation or custom apex code.
  • Apex Triggers best practices. 
  • Apex Classes best practices.
  • Governor limits in salesforce.
  • When/How to use Virtual class in apex.
  • When/How to use Abstract class in apex.
  • Using the with sharing, without sharing, and inherited sharing Keywords.
  • Apex annotations. (@isTest, @future)
  • Understanding validations rules.
  • Asynchronous Apex (Batch class, Future Methods)
  • Test classes. 
  • Developer Console Basics.
  • Try/Catch block.
  • Throw custom exceptions.
  • Lightning Web components basics.
  • Minimum allowable code coverage to deploy to Production.
  • Aura Component framework.
  • Interfaces in apex.

My Tips for Passing the Exam

  1. If you are an experienced developer then you should go through sample tests and study the key topics details from trailhead.
  2. As you are going through the exam write down the topics where your answers are wrong. Then explore those areas and improve your understanding of the concepts. A great piece of advice is to use your developer org to get more hands-on experience with those topics. I find it helps to reinforce the topic if I don’t understand it completely. Then repeat this process till you get more than a 95% score.
  3. Note that some of the answers may not sound correct and you must verify those answers based on your understanding. If you are still not clear, I’d recommend joining one of the Salesforce communities and ask the question there, the community is so helpful and there are so many great people who are willing to help. 
  4. If you are a beginner then you should complete all the dev Trailhead | The fun way to learn Salesforce modules, get 1-2 years of experience, and then go through the above process.
  5. Read every question carefully in the exam. If you are not 100% sure about the correct answer don’t waste your time on the same question, check “Mark for Review” and at the end, you can review and focus on all the questions that you have marked for review.
  6. Once you are ready to submit the exam if you have enough time then cross-check all the answers once again.

I hope my strategy and tips will work for you. Best of luck to you and let me know how you do!

Akhil Mandia

Akhil Mandia

Salesforce Developer

Akhil, one of our sophisticated developers, holds a deep passion for coding and software development. He has a background in website development and has continued to grow his passion in the Salesforce Ohana as a Salesforce Developer.

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