Salesforce Developer
April 16, 2020

Enterprise Software

How to Become a Salesforce Developer: Your First Guide

By Olga Matuts

Salesforce is a recognized leader on the CRM market. Over 150K famous brands use Salesforce as a CRM solution: Toyota, Sony, Financial Times, etc. As the number of Salesforce users increases, by 2022, the demand for Salesforce experts and developers may reach about 3.3 billion. If you are interested in such a specialization, you should check our post.

First meeting with Salesforce

Salesforce is a cloud-based platform for sales (Sales Cloud), marketing (Marketing Cloud), and customer service (Service Cloud). There are also products for ecommerce (Commerce Cloud), financial enterprises (Financial Service Cloud), and medical organizations (Health Cloud). 

Salesforce keeps developing additional tools for different business goals and tries to simplify business processes. For example, CPQ&Billing is used for automatic price quote generation and invoicing.     

In 2007, Salesforce PaaS, a product for developers, was released. It is used for creating and launch of applications in the Salesforce infrastructure. This product was renamed the Salesforce Lightning Platform in 2018. 

Another Salesforce product is Einstein AI; it helps companies to enhance their CRM with the usage of predictive analytics. With Einstein AI, companies can define potential clients for their future collaboration.

Another Salesforce product is IoT Cloud, a tool that helps to collect, process, and manage data in real time with the usage of devices integrated into IoT. For example, doing this way, you can track the transportation and storage of your goods. 

What should a Salesforce developer do?

Companies can use Salesforce in two ways: through product configuration and customization. Developers’ responsibilities generally include customization, but they can also configure the product.

Salesforce configuration is handled via the user interface and needs no coding. As a rule, this is the responsibility of Salesforce administrators. They can create fields, tables, build connections between different objects, and set up linear workflow rules.

Salesforce customization is required when Salesforce point-and-click tools are not enough for automation goals. It is needed in several cases:

  • Automating non-linear business processes;
  • Integration of Salesforce with other systems, web sites, platforms;
  • Creating dashboards and custom reports;
  • Adding Einstein AI into CRM.

Also, Salesforce developers create custom applications for Salesforce and place them on AppExchange, Salesforce market.

What does Salesforce development mean?

Salesforce backend development

Backend Salesforce developers use Apex. It is an object-oriented programming language, and its syntax looks like Java. The code of Apex is provided in classes and triggers. Salesforce also offers its own data management language, similar to SQL, which is named SOQL.

Salesforce backend developers usually take into account several moments: 

  1. When they deploy Apex code, unit tests should cover no less than 75% of it.
  2. There are Governor Limits, special limitations on performing some operations. For instance, developers can’t make more than 100 sync SOQL queries in one transaction.

Salesforce frontend development

Salesforce frontend developers can work in two frameworks: Visualforce or Lightning. 

Visualforce is an old framework that provides tag-based mockup language and a set of controllers.

Lightning is a modern framework for interactive user interfaces. It consists of several Aura components, Salesforce proprietary programming model, and Lightning web-components that look like JavaScript.

How to become a Salesforce developer?

To become a Salesforce developer, you should have basic knowledge, education in programming or related sphere: software engineering, software development, computer science, mathematics, etc. 

If you already have such a degree or experience, you should take dedicated Salesforce courses. 

There are a lot of online courses and tutorials for Salesforce developers with different levels of complexity. Such courses are paid, but Udacity provides a free introduction into the Salesforce development course. Udemy frequently offers discounts. 

Salesforce also has a free educational platform, Trailhead, with theoretical and practical courses in Salesforce development. You can start your Salesforce learning with a course Developer Beginner, with common information about Salesforce development. 

Among Salesforce developer requirements, you also can find Salesforce certification. It means you should take a special test. There are 5 kinds of certificates, and all of them are paid. You can choose the test for 

  • Platform Web Builder
  • Platform Developer I
  • Platform Developer II
  • B2C Commerce Developer
  • Marketing Cloud Developer

Also, you should confirm your certificate from time to time (according to releases of Salesforce) and implement tasks on the Trailhead. 

Salesforce or Java developer?

 Apex, Salesforce development language has a lot in common with Java, so Java developers often become Salesforce developers. They take such a solution because of new job opportunities, which Salesforce provides, higher salary, or when they just want changes.

On the other side, some Salesforce developers say that with Java they can choose different projects in various domains, not only CRM.  

What are Salesforce developer positions?

The Salesforce developer career path includes three common levels: junior, middle, and senior developer. A senior Salesforce developer can choose a specialization: Salesforce architect or Salesforce consultant.

A Salesforce architect is at the top of the Salesforce developer career. The architect makes an architectural model of Salesforce CRM or custom applications in accordance with the customer’s business requirements. He or she should have a lot of experience and knowledge of Salesforce products and features. 

A Salesforce consultant is a middleman between customers and the team of developers. 

He or she considers a customer’s business needs and offers the most suitable solution. 

In this case, it is crucial to perfectly know Salesforce workflows and understand what the customer needs: configuration or customization.

How to understand that Salesforce development is for you? 

If you can say “yes” at least once, you should think about Salesforce development:

  • You don’t like to develop with a clean slate. You can find on the Lightning framework a lot of ready-made components that will simplify your work.
  • You like to take a deeper look at the customer’s business. Understanding customers’ business processes is an essential part of the Salesforce developers’ requirements. They make developers’ routine more interesting: every customer needs an individual approach. 
  • You are good at both backend and frontend. Salesforce developers work both on server-side and client-side when building Salesforce applications.

Now you have a clear picture of Salesforce developer skills, experience, career abilities, pros, and cons. As the platform popularity keeps growing, Salesforce developers are and will be in great demand in the future.

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