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Is It Worth It To Get Pardot Certified?

Is It Worth It To Get Pardot Certified?

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This is an awesome (but tricky) topic that was suggested by Ian A.  It’s kind of a loaded question.

You meet people all the time who are certified in one thing or another, but don’t know which way is up when it comes to actually applying that “book knowledge.”  

The flipside is actually much more common in the Salesforce ecosystem, though– you see lots of self-trained admins with a wealth of hands-on experience that never bothered to get certified.

There are two Pardot certifications available today: 1) Pardot Specialist, and 2) Pardot Consultant.  You can view the study guides for these and other Salesforce certs here.

So if you’re a Pardot user who has some solid applied knowledge of the platform, is it worth going through the hassle to get certified?  I’d say yes.  And here’s why.

1. It forces you to revisit every detail of the platform

When you implemented the platform or were first getting started as a user, you probably went through a soup to nuts overview of all the features Pardot has to offer.  

Studying for the certification exam makes you go through those all over again — and sometimes you uncover hidden gems you forgot that can improve your marketing program.  Ultimately, I’d argue that the process makes you better at your job.

2. It’s a piece of paper (well, PDF) that demonstrates you know what you’re talking about

Certification is not the “end all be all” indicator of knowledge, but it’s proof positive that you know your stuff.

And sometimes, that proof point is valuable just for you yourself.  Pardot Admins are some of the most humble people I’ve worked with. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard:

“Well, we’re just doing the basics.”

“We’ve probably set it up all wrong.”

“We don’t know what we’re doing.”

…but then you look under the hood of their Pardot org and there are some amazing things happening.  Certification helps you own your success with more confidence.

3. It’s super marketable on a resume

In many interviews I’ve been in for Salesforce and Pardot roles, the person on the other side of the table has limited ability to evaluate technical expertise.  Definitely not HR.  Sometimes not even the hiring manager.

So if an employer is looking at two candidates, and one is certified while the other is not — it’s often an unfortunate shortcut that the certified applicant comes out on top.  Sample size of one, but I will also say that the number of recruiters contacting me has doubled since I listed my certs on Linkedin.

By the way — if you’re not job hunting and are staying with your current employer, this marketable skill could also be leveraged to justify a request for a salary increase…

4. The release exams keep you sharp

Once you have your certification, you have to take release exams 3X a year.  NO ONE wants to miss these and have to go through the process all over again.

These maintenance exams are short and painless — but they do force you to read the release notes (which pre-certification I always found myself procrastinating on).  This can be a huge benefit that helps you uncover new features your organization can leverage to improve adoption and efficiency. 

So is it worth it to become Pardot certified?

TL;DR: Yes, I think it is.  

What’s your take?  What are the pros and cons of going through the certification process?  Any tips for folks hitting the books?  Share in the comments!

And, like Ian A., if you have any topic suggestions for a future blog — hit me up at [email protected].

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  • Andrea Tarrell is the CEO & Founder of Sercante, as well as a 12X certified Salesforce MVP and Marketing Champion. Andrea caught the Salesforce bug at Dreamforce 2011 and hasn’t looked back since. She’s worked for consultancies, agencies, and client-side marketing teams over her career and is passionate about making marketing and sales teams successful with their tech stacks. Andrea lives in Atlanta with her husband Buck and her daughter, Arla. When she’s not working, she’s most likely playing with her German Shepherd Murphy, starting a new hobby that she will engage in exactly one time, or making homemade gin.

  • Comment (5)
  • Thanks for this post! I’ve been on the fence for a while about getting Pardot Certified (with no present knowledge of the platform) and going back to finish my Salesforce Marketing Cloud certification after freestyle admin-ing for 2+ years, but point #3 really hit home – so many times the person making hiring decisions doesn’t know the difference between Pardot and parrots and the certification might make all the difference!

  • It’s a bad idea – here’s why, you are basing everything you think you know on a test. If we have learned anything in the past 10 years it’s that the SAT and ACT do a terrible job of predicting collegiate performance. Testing can keep people AWAY from the platform, not bring them to it. And finally, in order to use SFDC you really have to stay on top of the changes. When they first came out in 1999 releases were slow and infrequent. With an Agile focus they are now making updates semi-annually and you have to keep up so you know what changes are being made and how they impact usage of the tool. If someone shows me a piece of paper that says they are certified and then cannot spell automation I think I know what to do. The thing about Pardot and software is you can be certified and STILL not know anything about customer marketing.

  • Hi, Can you please let me know what is the basic educational qualification that a person should acquire(apart from the pardot certification) to get hired as a Pardot consultant or Specialist, also does it require experience in salesforce development.

    • I can’t speak for Andrea, and what she is looking for in hires.

      I can say what I am looking for in recommending somebody for Andrea to consider as a team mate is foremost Curiosity.
      Pardot and Salesforce are constantly changing, and without in innate curiosity about what’s new, how to do things better, anything you know today will become stale and irrelevant in a few years.

      Collage degrees aren’t needed – they can indicate a person’s drive and ability to see something to the end, but nobody really teaches everything there is to know, a degree won’t hurt however. I find that I lean on a wide variety of my college courses I never thought I would need. Public speaking, accounting, management, statistics, etc.

      Certifications are nice, but there is a difference between knowing about stuff and being able to put it to practical use.

      I think as a consultant, there is an expectation that you have several years of experience in something that is relevant to what the consultancy specializes in. As a specialist in a company, you could start with or without any knowledge or experience and learn as you go along. Realize that pay will be proportionate to your experience level as that is going to be reflected in your effectiveness for the company at your tasks.

      I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, I can teach Pardot and SFDC technical skills and am happy to do so. I can’t teach curiosity, drive, hustle, and attention to detail.

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