Apex Learning Journal #3 – Study for Platform Developer I Certificate

Written Date: July 8, 2021

This step is a bit deviating from the Apex learning journey, as Apex is only a part of the Platform Developer I certificate (PD1). However, I want to take this exam when I have the freshest memory of the technical aspects of Apex, which is right after studying. My understanding of PD1 is that we will be tested on the basic knowledge of Salesforce platform development. Since I have had experience with several development tools (ex. automation, Salesforce DX, etc), I think it would be a great time to prepare for PD1. So, here we go!

  1. Study Notes
  2. Learning Path
  3. Summary
  4. Random Thoughts

This is the first certificate that I don’t have enough overview or experience on, so I need additional resources to help me learn. I went with the Complete Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I Course on Udemy. I will summarize my experience with this course:


1. The content is easy to follow
2. Demo sessions on the important concept

The thing I like about this course the most is how easy it is to understand the content. It is well explained with many summary tables or downloadable slides. Especially the part for the Order of Execution – Detailed explanation of each step in the process. The advanced topics usually come with demo sessions as well, so I could actually “learn” them, not just “watch” them. This is a good course in general.


1. Video length is quite long for some topics
2. Some sections are only briefly introduced

However, as mentioned in the first episode, I am really impatient… There are many videos and some of them have quite a length. If you also want to take this course, make sure you have the time and mind to commit. Besides, the biggest weakness in my opinion is how some important topics were only briefly introduced. For example, when going through some practice exams, I noticed the questions for Lightning Component and Platform Events were quite advanced. Some classes in the Schema namespace are also covered. (Ex. DescribeFieldResult and RecordTypeInfo). Make sure you spend some time going through these materials as well. I will compile a list of additional topics to study at the end.

● My Method To Go Through This Course

1. Skip the part I already know
2. Take the demos as homework

I have this OCD that I want to mark everything as complete (Ex. read all of my emails). However, if you want to go through this course more efficiently, you can consider skipping some topics based on your current knowledge level. I didn’t skip that much myself, but I did skip some topics in section 0 and those for declarative process automation features. The takeaway here is that we should try to understand our level well – stop spending too much time on things we are familiar with and focus on what we don’t know yet. It’s the same for Trailhead modules – even though we feel good when getting more points from easy courses, they are not beneficial for our own growth.

● More Topics To Dive Into

1. Schema Namespace: Should have a basic understanding of what we can do
2. Aura Component Communication: Application Event v.s. Component Event
3. Exception in Apex: Make sure to understand built-in exception types
4. LimitException: the general exception type cannot catch LimitException, and all previous DML will roll back
5. Custom Controller: Make sure to study the syntax for the custom controller’s constructor (ex.public MyController())
6. Class Keywords: with, without, and inherited sharing
7. Try to find some Apex codes examples to see if you understand well. Practice counting how many SOQL or DML have been issued.

Finally, being proficient in Flow really helps. In this blog, we have somehow covered concepts that relate to Apex or will show up in the PD1 exams. (ex. Context, Governor limits, recordId, etc). If you are just starting with process automation and take PD1 as your ultimate goal, starting with Flow is a great idea!

  • Studying for PD1 at this stage is a good timing for me, as the memory is fresh
  • I needed additional courses so I went with Complete Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I Course on Udemy
  • Strength of this course:
    • Easy to follow
    • Have demo sessions
  • Weakness of this course:
    • Too many long videos
    • Some topics are not in-depth
  • My method of going through this course: Skip the parts that I know already
  • Additional topics to study:
    • Schema Namespace
    • Aura Component Communication
    • Exception in Apex
    • LimitException
    • Custom controller constructor
    • With, without, inherited sharing keywords
    • Practice reading Apex codes

These are some random thoughts in the learning for my own reference. Feel free to leave a comment for any of the items:

  • I have been reflecting on the Salesforce certificate structure. I have heard from people that not all parts of the PD1 are relevant to their daily work. In my own experience, I don’t utilize 100% of the content of the certificates I have gotten either. I also agree that a good Salesforce expert is not someone who memorize all the details by heart, but someone who knows how to gather the essential information to help them tackle the problems. Similar to the Trailhead modules again, I am not sure how our capability can be reflected by certificates. Yet we still need to take them as the rules of this ecosystem. Do you think there is a better way that can potentially replace this structure?

Want to learn Flow? Check Out Flow Use Cases Or Write Us One!

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Carla Mendes

Hi Melody! How did the PD1 go for you? 🙂

Omar Quesada

Hi Melody, just came across your journal and found it most interesting. I was curios to know how the process is going for you as I am also looking to learn apex and get the PD1 certification!