Customer relationship management (CRM) certifications are specialized, professional credentials that major CRM vendors offer a variety of professionals from sales to IT.
Earning a CRM certification demonstrates your commitment to learning about and specializing in a particular CRM software solution, making you stand out in job searches or from your boss’s standpoint. Deepening your knowledge and skills for a CRM system means you will be better positioned to craft apps that meet both customer and internal stakeholder needs. It could also nudge your salary to the higher end of the spectrum. A Microsoft Dynamics CRM developer, for instance, earns between $88,000 and $132,000 USD on average.
Scroll down to see our top picks for CRM certification that are likely to take you further in your career whether you’re a new or seasoned developer.
Top CRM certifications
Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate
Microsoft’s Developer Associate certification is designed for developers at companies that use Microsoft Dynamics.
This certification furthers your knowledge of and experience with Microsoft Dynamics’ line of ERP and CRM applications. It teaches developers how to design, build, test, and maintain the applications and solutions that their organizations will use as part of the Microsoft 365 platform.
Candidates for this certification are already familiar with Microsoft products, integration points, and UI components. They should also have some experience developing solutions on Microsoft Teams, Office, or SharePoint from start to finish.
General background knowledge that candidates should have includes basic knowledge of REST APIs, JSON, OAuth2, OData, OpenID Connect, Azure AD, Microsoft account identities, and Azure AD B2C.
To become certified, candidates must take the MS-600 exam which tests candidates on the following skills:
- Implementing Microsoft identity
- Building apps with Microsoft Graph
- Extending Microsoft Teams and Office
- Extending and customizing SharePoint
Candidates receive certification with a score of 700 or more. A downloadable exam skills outline is available to help candidates prepare. Check out Udemy’s MS-600 exam prep course as well.
The Microsoft Developer Associate certification exam costs $165 USD.
NetSuite SuiteFoundation Certification
NetSuite’s SuiteFoundation Certification gives candidates a fundamental understanding of NetSuite’s features and modules, such as CRM and ERP. In the training, candidates also learn about the following topics covered on the exam:
- Company and user preferences
- Interface customization
- Dashboards and reporting functions
- Record types and structures
- Role relationships in NetSuite
The exam consists of 66 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 80 minutes.
Before getting certified, candidates should have at least six months of experience working with NetSuite.
To prepare for the exam, candidates should take advantage of the SuiteFoundation Exam Preparation course, study guide, and sample test, all of which are free of charge. Exam retakes are allowed but cost $150 USD.
The NetSuite Suite Foundation exam costs $250 USD.
NetSuite SuiteCloud Developer II Certification
NetSuite also offers a SuiteCloud Developer II Certification to train candidates on how to design, develop, test, and deploy solutions that customize, extend and/or interact with NetSuite.
The “II” in the title implies that there is a prerequisite certification; however, this signifies that it is an updated version of the previous SuiteCloud Developer Certification.
The exam test candidates on the following areas:
- Design Fundamentals
- SuiteScript (2.0)
Necessary prerequisites include:
- One to two years of experience working with NetSuite solutions
- Two to three years of software development experience
- Passing the SuiteFoundation exam
Recommended prerequisites include a range of other NetSuite courses, such as:
- ERP: Fundamentals
- NetSuite: Administrator Fundamentals
- SuiteAnalytics: Advanced Searches
- SuiteCloud: Exploring the NetSuite Platform
- SuiteFlow: Advanced Workflows
- SuiteScript 2.0: Custom User Interface Development
- SuiteTalk: Integrate with SOAP Web Services
- SuiteCloud Developer II Exam Preparation (SuiteScript 2.0)
The study guide and sample test are available free of charge. You can retake the test at a cost of $150 USD.
The SuiteCloud Developer II Exam costs $250 USD.
Salesforce Platform Developer I
Salesforce offers a variety of certifications, including a collection of developer credentials. The Salesforce Platform Developer I credential is geared toward those who have basic knowledge, skills, and experience—at least six months—in building applications on Lightning, Salesforce’s app development platform. The credential is also intended for those with approximately one to two years of general software development experience.
The training for this credential teaches candidates how to program custom interfaces with Apex coding language and in the Visualforce interface framework to extend Salesforce.
The credential certifies that the recipient has experience, skills, and knowledge in the following areas:
- Code testing, debugging, and deployment
- Core Salesforce object, fields, and relationships
- Data-driven applications
- Declarative vs. programmatic methods
- Governor limits and their implications
- Lightning Component Framework
- Model View Controller (MVC) architecture
- Relational databases
There are no prerequisites for earning this credential, except for the recommended experience and background outlined above. This Platform Developer I exam is a prerequisite to the Salesforce Platform Developer II Multiple Choice exam.
The Platform Developer I exam consists of 60 multiple-choice or multiple-select questions to be completed within 105 minutes. Candidates may take the exam in person at a designated, proctored testing site or in an online proctored environment. A passing score is 68 percent, and the retake fee costs $100 USD.
The credential is valid for one year, after which you must complete the Platform Developer I certification maintenance module on Trailhead to keep your certification current.
Salesforce offers a plethora of free self-study materials and expert-led, hybrid courses for a fee. An alternative to consider is Udemy’s exam prep course.
The Platform Developer I exam costs $200 USD.
Salesforce Platform Developer II
Building on the Developer I credential, Salesforce also offers a Salesforce Platform Developer II (PDII) credential.
The Salesforce Platform Developer II credential certifies individuals in advanced programming, deeper knowledge of the Lightning Platform, and data modeling skills. Certification recipients apply this knowledge in order to develop complex business logic and interfaces.
Those who pursue this certification have at least one year of experience with the Lightning platform and two to four years of general software development experience.
Upon receiving this credential, the recipient is able to design, develop, test, and deploy programmatic solutions that are maintainable, reusable, and follow design patterns and object-oriented programming best practices. The credential also demonstrates knowledge in the following areas:
- Application of declarative and programmatic features of the Lightning Platform to solve specific business problems and/or extend and customize the platform to fit business needs
- Broad knowledge of Salesforce development lifecycle and deployment tools
- Deployment of custom applications
- Design and implementation of complex sharing models using declarative and programmatic methods
- Design and implementation of test plans that meet quality standards across application components
- Management of large data sets (approximately 300,000 to 480,000 records)
- Principles and best practices of Salesforce data modeling, interface design, code development, and testing
After earning the Salesforce Platform Developer I credential and having the recommended experience described above, candidates must first take the Platform Developer II exam and earn three Superbadges: Apex Specialist, Data Integration Specialist, and Advanced Apex Specialist.
The Salesforce Platform Developer II exam consists of 60 multiple choice or multiple-select questions to be answered in 120 minutes. Candidates must earn a score of 70 percent or higher and may retake the exam for $100. The exam is delivered in person at a designated proctored testing site or in an online proctored environment.
The Salesforce Platform Developer II exam fee is $200 USD.
The next step is earning the three Superbadges, which can be acquired in any order on Salesforce’s Trailhead Academy. The website states that earning these Superbadges automatically certifies you as a Salesforce Certified Platform Developer II. It therefore appears that candidates must first take the exam before earning the Superbadges.
As with the Developer I credential, the Developer II credential is valid for one year. Before it expires, you must complete the Platform Developer I certification maintenance module on Trailhead to keep your certification current.
To help you prepare, Salesforce offers several free self-study materials and expert-led, hybrid courses (for a fee). Udemy also offers exam prep for the Developer II certification.
SAP Cloud SDK Extensibility Developer Certification
SAP offers an extensive collection of certifications, including the SAP Cloud SDK Extensibility Developer certification meant for early-career developers looking to gain a solid grasp of SAP’s core development functionalities.
This entry-level certification validates that the candidate has the fundamental and core knowledge required in order to be an SAP Cloud SDK developer, including:
- Basic extension apps
- Multi-target app development
- DevOps and CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery
- In-App extensibility
- Side-by-side extensibility
- Advanced extensibility
- Performance testing
The exam contains 80 questions, and the format of questions is not available on the website. Candidates have 180 minutes to answer all questions and must achieve a score of 64 percent or higher.
To prepare for the exam, SAP recommends that candidates combine their on-the-job experience with SAP-sponsored educational courses. SAP also offers a variety of training methods available for a fee or through subscription. A free, abridged sample test gives candidates an idea of the questions they’ll face in the test. Also, if you’re looking for third-party training materials at a fraction of the cost, consider Udemy’s exam prep course for the Cloud SDK Extensibility Developer certification.
Candidates can purchase six attempts to take the exam for a total of $560 or bet on one attempt which costs $224 USD. Upon earning the certification, it is valid for 5 years.
Zendesk App Developer I Certification
Zendesk offers IT professionals the Zendesk App Developer I certification. This certification builds on developers’ existing skills by teaching them how to build apps and integrations for the Zendesk platform.
The Developer I certification exam is online, consists of approximately 65 multiple choice questions, and lasts 90 minutes. Candidates need a passing score of at least 69 percent to receive certification.
Zendesk provides resources to help prepare for the exam, including the Zendesk Developer Platform, Build an App and Start to work with the Zendesk API, and other courses. An exam guide, practice exam, and other resources are also available free of charge.
The site doesn’t state when the certification expires, but it’s you’ll likely need to take the same exam again for re-certification.
The exam costs $350, and there is no information on the website about retakes. It’s therefore safe to assume that each attempt costs the full amount.
Zoho Creator Associate Developer Certification
The Zoho Creator Associate Developer certification gives developers a solid understanding of Zoho Creator 6.0 by introducing intermediate-level app development. Those who hold this certification are able to quickly learn new Zoho platform features and handle level 1 support issues, such as basic troubleshooting.
No prerequisites or prior experience is required to obtain this certification, but Zoho recommends at least one year of developer experience with the platform before attempting certification.
Zoho offers flexible training (both in-person and online), exam guides, and sample tests to help candidates prepare for the exam. Training topics include but are not limited to:
- API integration
- Cloud functions
- Custom functions
- Custom workflows
- Mobile app distribution capabilities
- Zoho app integration
The test takes 45 minutes, and candidates must get a passing score of at least 75 percent. Upon receiving certification, it is valid for two years.
The Associate Developer certification exam costs $99 USD. However, if you take the training, you get one free attempt at the exam. The training costs $133 USD per person if you book with a group of three or $149 for individual enrollment.
What is a CRM certification?
CRM vendors offer certifications that are specific to their software. Vendors provide CRM certifications for various roles that typically interact with the CRM, such as administrators, architects, developers, consultants, salespeople, and marketing professionals. CRM vendors therefore often provide certification designed for specialized roles and use cases.
IT professionals acquire CRM certifications so they can build customized solutions in collaboration with sales and marketing to fit business or industry needs. Those in IT roles onboard new employees to CRM software and manage and maintain data and security of the CRM platform. It’s therefore beneficial to be certified in the CRM software that your company uses because it prepares you to solve a wider range of user problems.
Certification typically covers API integrations, creating custom apps and interfaces, learning various coding languages, to name just a few examples. However, each certification will be slightly different. Start by considering your experience level and the CRM your employer uses. CRMs change rapidly, so you will need to recertify periodically to keep your skills and knowledge current.
Read more about CRM’s software complexity: Advantages and Challenges of CRM Software
Why get a CRM certification?
As CRM solutions become increasingly sophisticated, obtaining a CRM certification becomes more beneficial for your career as a developer:
- Advance in your current job
- Demonstrate commitment and competency
- Increase your salary
- Secure a new job
Once you obtain certification, it’s just as important to apply the skills you’ve learned to real-world projects that solve employer and customer problems.
Which CRM certification is right for you?
To discern which of these certifications best suit your professional needs, start with certification for the CRM solution that your current or desired employer uses. From there, keep the following factors in mind:
- Experience level
Consider which format you prefer for both exam preparation and taking the test itself. Most certifications offer online-only or hybrid training options to accommodate work schedules.
Cost is another factor that may influence your decision. Training and preparation formats, for instance, correlate with the level of financial investment. In-person or hybrid training options are likely to cost more, especially in terms of travel logistics. Luckily, several certification providers here offer free resources to help you prepare for the exam.
The test itself may cost upwards of hundreds of dollars if you choose the Oracle, SAP, or Zendesk certification. Zoho is the cheapest option available, as you can take the test directly with no training for only $99 USD or for as low as $133 USD with training. Your employer might subsidize the cost of certification in part or whole, so it’s worth asking about.
Some certifications are designed for those with little or no experience with software development. These include SAP, Zoho, and Oracle’s NetSuite SuiteFoundation certifications.
For those with a few years of software development experience under their belt, Oracle’s NetSuite SuiteCloud Developer, Salesforce Platform Developer I, or Microsoft’s Certified Developer Associate credentials are right for you.
If you’re experienced in software development and have deployed several complex projects, we recommend Salesforce’s Platform Developer II.
Obtaining a CRM certification is more than just a line on your resume. Regardless of where you are in your career, CRM certifications are meant to supplement and elevate your software development experience. Earning a CRM certification will help you as a developer build more effective apps for CRM solutions in order to better meet the needs of customers and internal teams.
Read next: Most Important CRM Software Requirements