Introduction: Why is Salesforce important?
In 2019, Salesforce has almost become synonymous with CRM simply because it is a global juggernaut. Salesforce is the platform of choice for organizations that want to generate leads, improve customer awareness and ultimately increase sales and revenue. Salesforce has multiple out-of-box software features that are offered on the cloud including SaaS (Software as a Service/CRM) and PaaS (Platform as a Service/ developer platform).
Figure 1: The many flavors of cloud computing
Who are Salesforce Developers?
One of the main actors on the Salesforce platform is the Salesforce developer who is responsible for assessing customer needs, designing, building and maintaining Salesforce applications. The Salesforce developer has in-depth skill and expertise of Salesforce and the opportunities that it provides.
Why do employers need Salesforce Developers?
One of the main advantages of Salesforce is its ability to eliminate the time, cost and effort associated with building and maintaining business applications from scratch. Essentially, Salesforce provides tools that allow organizations to automate manual and laborious tasks that were often time-consuming. Considering such benefits, professionals can gain expertise in this field by opting
From a business’s perspective, Salesforce is used to solve business challenges and not necessarily technical problems. From this standpoint, it is easier to appreciate why organizations put a high value on a Salesforce developer even if, in some occasions, the developer may not have as much technical/programming skills as other developers in the organization. The reasons are as follows:
- Sometimes the code is less important than a project to solve a business challenge. The focus is not on programming but the goal in mind
- The Salesforce developer builds simpler solutions that consume fewer resources (time, money, effort)
- The Salesforce developer has the soft skills required to understand and communicate both technology language and business language
Tools and skills needed to be a salesforce developer
The Salesforce developer can design, build, configure, integrate, and maintain applications on the Salesforce platform. To do these things, the Salesforce developer must have the skills to use the following programming languages, frameworks, and tools:
- Lightning App Builder (formerly called Force.com). This is the Salesforce PaaS used to build applications.
- Visualforce. This is the UI framework used to build reusable interfaces as part of Salesforce’s PaaS offering.
- Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL). This is a version of the SQL database used to work within the Salesforce database specifically.
- Salesforce Object Search Language (SOSL). This is a search language used to allow users to find information in Salesforce database records across multiple optimized object records.
- Fuel API is used to build marketing apps that are used on Salesforce platforms.
- Apex is a development platform based on java used to build SaaS applications (including third-party applications) on the Salesforce CRM platform.
- Heroku is a cloud-based, container system with powerful capabilities including integrated data services that are used to deploy and run Salesforce apps. Different programming languages can be used to build applications within this container system.
Additionally, the Salesforce developer must have soft skills or people skills required to co-exist in a business environment with professionals that do not have a technical/programming background. They must be able to understand business requirements, translate these requirements into technical Salesforce solutions and communicate the technical knowledge into business language.
Roles and responsibilities of a Salesforce Developer
The roles and responsibilities of a Salesforce developer will vary from individual to individual mainly depending on the seniority/skill/expertise that they have and the organization that they are working for.
Depending on the Salesforce developer’s seniority/skill/expertise, their duties will typically be as follows:
The Salesforce Developer is responsible for developing CRM business functionalities, deploying Salesforce, and performing other tasks related to the primary implementation of Salesforce
The Senior Salesforce Developer is mainly responsible for managing requirement gathering, functional analysis, implementing Agile and Waterfall delivery models and facilitating customer workshops.
The Technical Architect is mainly responsible for designing the data flow models and creating the underlying data structures
The Chief Technology Officer is primarily responsible for understanding and sourcing the best Salesforce opportunities and trends in relation to a particular organization
Figure 3: The journey to become a Salesforce Architect
Depending on the Salesforce developer’s seniority/skill/expertise, and the organization that they work for, their role will typically be as follows:
Deployment and testing: To design, deploy, test, and fix bugs in the Salesforce platform
Integration: To control and manage the integration of API’s and extensions within the Salesforce system
Customer requirement: To customize applications using the Salesforce platform and in adherence to customer specifications.
Salesforce solutions: To design cost-effective and Agile Salesforce Solutions for better project/task execution within a company or organization and to come up with effective project execution techniques
Trends and statistics
Figure 4: Salesforce statistics
How to become a Salesforce Developer
You can become a Salesforce developer through self-study programs and the use of several resources available for free online. That said, formal training from Salesforce experts is by far the most efficient way to become a Salesforce developer because you will receive all the knowledge, skill and expertise from an expert who already understands what is required of you. In other words, you won’t have to dabble around to find what is necessary and what is not to pass the Salesforce developer exams or to become a competent Salesforce employee.
Figure 2: New Salesforce developer exam structure
Beyond taking a formal training course or using a self-learning program, it is critical to join Salesforce communities that will help you ridge any gap between knowledge and practice. Communities are also useful for networking, getting help, and helping others with regards to Salesforce. A few of the communities you can join are as follows:
Other opportunities that Salesforce developers have to network, learn and get acquainted with the happenings of the Salesforce world include:
- Annual Dreamforce Conference
- The Capgemini Tech Hackathon Challenge
- Trailblazer Community meetings
If you choose to become a Salesforce developer, it is imperative that you undergo intense and comprehensive training from a Salesforce expert. Such training should help you to be comfortable developing and managing applications within the Salesforce environment. Additionally, proper training should also impart the necessary skills to allow you to undertake your duties and responsibilities with a high level of proficiency and effectiveness.