How to Start a Career in Salesforce Development

How to Start a Career in Salesforce Development
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Salesforce is an incredibly popular product and has a pretty large following in the technical community. Salesforce Administrators, Business Analysts, Developers, and Architects are constantly being required. There’s a lot reasons to consider starting a career in Salesforce development.

Why Salesforce?

As a company it has been experiencing double digit growth for years. This double digit growth has resulted in lots of unfilled Salesforce Developer positions. I am contacted by recruiters nearly every day who are looking to fill positions.

Types of Positions Available

As mentioned, I am contacted a lot by recruiters to fill various positions within companies using Salesforce for either their CRM or for companies that are partners.

Positions advertised are usually of five types:

  • Analyst An analyst analyzes the needs of a business and documents the business, process and systems.
  • Architect. An architect is a person who plans, designs and reviews the construction of software.
  • Admin An admin is the maintainer of Salesforce and has the necessary privileges to control and restrict activity of users.
  • Developer. Hopefully, it’s you in the future! You would be developing or building software solutions that solve problems.
  • Consultants. Consultants provide expert advice about Salesforce. In a lot of cases, you might think of them as a Salesforce Developer that now acts more like a hired gun.

I’m going to lay out all of the things you need to do, and then I’ll outline the order in which I think you start doing them to be able to start a career using Salesfoce.

Signup For a Free Developer Org

Salesforce provides free customer accounts (orgs) to developers and admins, so that they can test features and write apex, etc. The accounts are limited in that they can contain very little data, and only support two users but otherwise most of the features in Salesforce are usable without any cost. Sign up here and then use it while you learn how Salesforce works and how to develop against it.

Learn Salesforce & Force.com

Salesforce and Force.com are huge platforms with many thousands of advanced features. Nobody can possibly know the entire platform, but you need to have a basic grasp for the fundamentals to be employed by companies. There is a difference between Salesforce and Force.com although it’s pretty subtle to end users.

In my post 5 Incredible Resources For Learning to Program Salesforce I cover lots of different resources (there’s more than 5 now!) that are available to learn the platform.

Focus on Declarative Features First before coding

In general, it makes sense to use the many declarative features in Salesforce over using apex or doing advanced integrations with the different available Salesforce APIs.

Declarative functionality like workflows and process builder generally work well enough for most situations and are usually easier to maintain. Often Salesforce Admins can maintain the workflows and processes without needing a Salesforce Developer for simple changes.

Learn Some Other Languages

Learn an object oriented programming (OOP) language like Java because Apex is based on Java and there’s a lot more learning material that can help you. It wouldn’t hurt to learn another language that is commonly used in cloud computing to better understand why Salesforce has implemented functionality the way it has and to offer a second career if things don’t exactly workout with Salesforce. 🙂

JavaScript has become incredibly common among cloud providers like AWS and Heroku. JavaScript is also being heavily used in Salesforce Lightning and will soon be mandatory for Salesforce Developers.

Build a Network

Finding the initial developer job is incredibly difficult without having built up a network of contacts. As you start learning Salesforce, you need to start networking with others. Start by answering simple questions on the Salesforce StackExchange, attending Salesforce User Groups, and participating on Twitter or in LinkedIn Groups.

There’s whole books about creating a network and finding jobs. I don’t have any specific references as I haven’t really spent a lot of time doing it and my network has developed organically overtime.

Learn How Businesses Work

If you are a fresh college or university graduate you need to develop an understanding of how businesses work. Make sure that you understand business concepts like sales processes are designed, how companies market, etc.

Learning Salesforce to a professional level is not achievable over night, it will take many months, but it can be very rewarding. Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with!

Author: Brian Cline

Brian is a programmer living in Niagara Falls with ten years of development experience. He is passionate about automation, business process re-engineering, and gamification. For the last six years or so, he has been working with Salesforce and JavaScript.

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