7 Steps to become a salesforce developer

7 Steps to
become a

Salesforce development is somewhat similar to engineering other types of software but differs in the skills, knowledge and certifications you need. Still, Salesforce engineering is a growing sector filled with opportunities for newbies with relevant expertise and background. So if you’re thinking of starting a career in the field, keep reading to learn how to become a Salesforce developer.

What is Salesforce development?

Salesforce (SFDC) consists of a set of products for sales, marketing and customer service management — all making up a cloud platform. The tools are some of the most popular applications for businesses since they help automate various processes to increase sales, improve customer service and enhance marketing, eventually leading to business expansion and revenue growth.

In addition, SFDC keeps evolving and coming up with other products for businesses. These include tools for e-commerce companies, financial and healthcare organizations, and even an IoT system. This makes Salesforce an extensive area for career opportunities.

Salesforce development, in turn, implies tailoring SF applications via coding, which consists of front-end and back-end development. Front-end is created with the Lighting framework, which is a more modern alternative to the Visualforce framework.

Back-end coding, by contrast, is programming apps on the side of the server, for which an object-oriented programming language called Apex and a data management language called SOQL are used. Salesforce developers should be familiar with the rules for developing for the platform since there are some limitations and other nuances that affect the process.

What does a Salesforce developer do?

To get the right understanding of what it means to be a Salesforce developer, you need to know that clients may need 2 different types of work to be done. Namely, Salesforce customization and configuration are the tasks you will have to do for clients’ organizations, but there are crucial differences between these, which you need to know if you’re going to work with Salesforce.

Salesforce configuration

Salesforce configuration requires setting up Salesforce applications for the client but without actually building them. The process doesn’t require any coding; instead, the apps are integrated through UI. This is a job that a Salesforce administrator does, but engineers usually have the admin expertise that allows them to configure the system.

Salesforce customization

Salesforce customization, in turn, is a task for a Salesforce developer, with coding involved. Customization is required when a business’ needs are not met by the existing Salesforce tools, and the apps have to be tailored to perform the desired tasks for the client. Among such, customizing Salesforce may imply business process automation, integrations with other systems, adding related Salesforce capabilities and others.

In addition to customizing the existing applications, developers may also build new ones to run on the Salesforce platform. These are then uploaded to Salesforce’s marketplace for other users to access.

Salesforce developer — a job descriptionhow to become a salesforce developer

While the responsibilities of a Salesforce developer are somewhat similar to those of developers on other platforms and programming languages, there are still some peculiarities in the duties and tasks that differ the job from other engineering positions.

Here’s a list of what tasks a Salesforce developer has to tackle:

  • user needs identification and analysis
  • application development to meet the user needs
  • thorough planning to cover all stages of the project
  • collaboration with other developers to design visuals for additional software
  • coming up with the most effective ways to customize the existing clients’ solutions
  • extending to the developed solutions according to the changes in the business needs or updates in the used tech platforms
  • building solutions to keep the system’s performance consistent and of high quality
  • monitoring software testing to make sure it runs smoothly after deployment
  • software maintenance
  • documentation development for future reference, maintenance and upgrade

In addition, these have to be carried out in the SF environment while taking into account the related performance and security activities.

Why choose Salesforce development?Why choose Salesforce development

Among all careers in software engineering, you should choose SFDC for 3 reasons.

  • You can explore the client’s business deeply

To customize a solution according to your client’s business needs, you have to understand what they are. This requires diving into the business to figure out how to fix the pain points and improve areas that are lagging behind with the solution you build.

  • You can develop both front- and back-end

As already mentioned, both front-end and server-side development are required for Salesforce app building, so you can get the job if you have skills or interest in any of the two.

  • You don’t have to build solutions from scratch

The platform provides a lot of ready-to-use development components that you can use as a base for the solutions you create.

How to become a Salesforce developer?

The journey to the position of a SF developer is not that different from that to any other position in software engineering. But to move in the right direction, you need to know what knowledge to get and, overall, what to expect on your way to that job offer. Here are the 7 steps you’ll have to take before you land the job.

Step 1. Education

The first step to any career is education. To become a SF engineer, you need a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as Computer Science. This will provide you with a basic understanding of how the industry works and some tech skills for your future job.

Step 2. Programming experience

The next step is getting experience in programming. If you’re looking for a transition from another area of programming to Salesforce, you will already have that. But if you’re just about to graduate college, it’s best for you to get an internship at a company that provides software development.

Step 3. Salesforce certifications

Now, it’s time to actually dive into SFDC education. To get an opportunity of applying for the desired position, you need to have particular certifications that prove your expertise, namely those for a Salesforce Administrator and a Platform Developer.

This means you have to pass the following certifications:

  • Salesforce Certified Administrator
  • Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator
  • Salesforce Certified App Builder
  • Platform Developer I (or II)

Of course, to be able to pass these, you have to get the knowledge. Since there are various types of certifications for the platform, you can first choose to prepare for those simpler ones or aim for more complex levels. Regardless of where you choose to start, you can always find an online course or training program to learn the specifics of SF development.

Step 4. Using SFDC products

To become a successful SF engineer, you need to understand how the platform’s applications work. And the best way to figure that out is by using them for your personal needs. So add SFDC products to your life to get the hang of how you can customize them for a client later.

Do you need to keep track of your daily routine? Need to set up automatically triggered notifications or create a report on your progress in some activity? Fo example, you can set up follow-up notifications for your email, create reports for your progress at the gym or track your habits.

In such an interactive way, you’ll get a convenient way of learning how every product functions, what features it provides and how you can tailor it to meet your needs. All these will be useful when you start working as an engineer and actually have to customize the apps to your clients’ business needs.

Step 5. Join a dedicated community

Becoming a member of a related community on your way to learning is one of the best ways to find support and a place where you can learn and get help. For SF developers, there are 2 most important websites to visit in pursuit of becoming a part of the community — Trailblazer Community and Salesforce StackExchange.

Trailblazer Community will help you find developers and interact with them, such as to learn about the career or discuss tech questions. StackExchange, in turn, is rather focused solely on the development since it’s a forum where you can see questions asked by fellow developers and answered by those with advanced expertise.

Overall, a community will help you find answers to your questions, stay on track with the updates in the field and just get inspired to continue learning.

Step 6. Get a mentor

Just like joining a community, finding a mentor provides a beginning Salesforce developer with support and significant learning opportunities. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the new things you come across as you study, let alone issues you’re stalled by. Therefore, find a mentor that would go through the journey with you.

Your mentor should be an experienced SF developer that will review your code, explain technical concepts to you and direct you to the right resources for studying. With a mentor, you won’t only achieve results sooner but will also master cleaner coding for the platform’s apps.

Step 7. Be aware of your areas of improvement

Remember that learning is a process, and Salesforce has its peculiarities when it comes to engineering. Don’t become discouraged if you need more time to figure out some things as you learn. Stay consistent with your effort and use your weak spots to improve. Also, don’t aim at too much at once; instead, focus on smaller milestones to keep growing as a professional, and you will see long-term results.

Skills a Salesforce developer needs

In addition to the tech knowledge and certifications you acquire on your way, some soft skills will also be helpful in your job. Skills like communication, teamwork, problem-solving and decision-making will help you fulfill your potential in the field.

Communication skills

You have to collaborate with other developers to assign and complete tasks. This means you have to communicate effectively to avoid any delays in the project’s progress that can occur because of misunderstandings. Explaining your point of view, proving the validity of your ideas and clarifying what’s confusing to you — all these are a part of a Salesforce developer’s daily life at work.

You also have to discuss project details with the client and present your work, which is also impacted by your communication skills.

Teamwork skills

Collaborating with other engineers is essential in Salesforce programming, so you have to be a team player to show great performance. This implies being able to listen to others’ opinions, considering different points of view objectively and trusting others in their jobs, all to contribute to the project’s success as a shared goal.

Problem-solving skills

Since software development is a complex process consisting of multiple stages, issues are just unavoidable. You’ll definitely come across challenges that will require finding quick yet effective long-term solutions. Therefore, good problem-solving is a must-have skill for a Salesforce developer.

Decision-making skills

Of course, while solving problems on your way to building an app, you may find yourself in a situation where several solutions may be applicable. This is when you have to weigh each option and make a decision on which is the most favorable one.

Career paths of a Salesforce developer

Now that you have the knowledge and skills to start your career, let’s consider the potential directions of your professional growth.

Level 1. A Salesforce developer

The first level of your career as a Salesforce developer is in software engineering and can be divided into 3 stages:

  • junior Salesforce developer
  • middle Salesforce developer
  • senior Salesforce developer

As in any other area of programming, your transition to each next role depends on your performance and expertise in the field — the more you grow as a professional, the higher your title becomes.

Level 2. A Salesforce architect

After you’ve reached the highest level in development, you can then become a Salesforce architect. The job requires tackling complex tech tasks, such as designing an architectural model for an app tailored to the client’s business needs. Based on the model you create as an architect, Salesforce developers further build software for the project.

Of course, to become an architect, you need lots of experience in working with various Salesforce products and overall Salesforce coding to understand how the platform functions from a wide perspective.

Level 3. A Salesforce consultant

Another job you can chase in Salesforce development is the position of a Salesforce consultant. As a consulting figure, you communicate between the client and the tech team. The goal of a consultant is to determine whether a client needs Salesforce configuration or customization.

A consultant aims to help both parties arrive at the most effective decision in terms of what Salesforce products suit the client’s organization best. This is a less technical job, but it still requires a profound knowledge of all Salesforce products and solid experience in identifying clients’ business needs.

Final word

Whether you’re just starting or have already reached some milestones on your way to SFDC development, remember that learning takes time. Stay consistent with your learning and remember to keep improving as you go. Eventually, you’ll find yourself occupying the desired position of a Salesforce developer.

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