I Want to Learn – Saleforce

One of the biggest questions I got last year was “I want to learn Salesforce…what is it and how can I gain knowledge.”  Salesforce is one of the biggest Cloud based CRMs or Customer Relationship Management systems. It’s a tool that requires no downloading of software because it’s all done through the browser. It helps companies manage their data and find ways to engage their customers. Now that sounds cool and all but where do you gain knowledge about this tool and what skill set does someone need to work in this world. Well, I got amazing news for you. Salesforce isn’t just for developers, but also for Marketers, Analysts, and project planners. So let’s get started.

Salesforce Admin

What is a Salesforce Admin?

A Salesforce Administrator is someone who helps a company build the database that they will use in the future. An Admin values clicks over code and ease of use when building out automations that fit into a business requirement. Also an admin takes into account not just what the business requirements are but how can Salesforce be utilized by the business and making sure what you are building fits the needs of the business.

What do I do to become a Salesforce Admin?

Becoming a Salesforce Admin is the beginning of the Salesforce Journey for most people diving into this ecosystem. There are a few ways you can start, of course. I would say start on Trailhead then start diving in. Also there are a few great books such as the Salesforce Beginner for understanding the overview of how Salesforce works. Another one is the Salesforce Admin Handbook which I am currently going through and is a very informative book. Another tool that helps with becoming a Salesforce Admin is that Salesforce does give you the chance to play around within the Salesforce ecosystem with a Developer Org, that means you can build, break and figure out just how Salesforce works and you can follow along with Trailhead.

Speaking of Trailhead, it is an interactive learning tool that has been built by Salesforce. It allows you to take quizzes, build out items and test them to teach you how Salesforce works, this is where you can start with the Salesforce Admin Trail to kick off your admin journey. Becoming an Admin might involve some light coding, but most of it is done via clicks and not code. Salesforce has been working to allow Admins to not depend on code but instead building out system using a variety of clickable tools. Which leads me into another book that might be helpful, its called Practical Salesforce Development Without Code. It’s a book that focuses on building things “Declaratively” or as I like to say, “clicking buttons over typing code.”

Salesforce Developer

What is a Salesforce Developer?

A Salesforce Developer is similar to a Salesforce Administrator, but with a heavier emphasis on code. A Salesforce Developer will be brought in to help solve complex solutions. What are these complex solutions? When custom components are needed, when Salesforce needs to be integrated with third party systems such as Azure, or phone apps.

What do I do to become a Salesforce Developer

Now becoming a Salesforce Developer is very hard, not because you just have to be a Salesforce Admin but because you have to understand code that works within the bounds of the Salesforce ecosystem. If you already have that developer background, can you just jump into being a Salesforce Developer. OF COURSE! But I would take a step back and become a Salesforce Admin so you can understand how the overall system works. One of the double-edged sword to pursuing a career as a Salesforce Developer is you can over burden yourself with being too technical and plan to code everything over using Admin skills to help cut back on time. It’s that old saying “work smarter not harder.” Now since you are choosing to pursue becoming a developer, there is of course trails on trailhead to learn Salesforce development. Then there is also the Salesforce Platform Developer Certification guide. But because there is a heavy emphasis on code, I would highly suggest jumping onto Codecademy and checking out the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript tracks.  As well as learning Java since APEX code which Salesforce uses is built similar to Java. Also if you have no developer background but code is indeed pulling you, I would say jump into the Kids Can Code book for Javascript.

Now going back to APEX coding for a second, what is Apex? It helps build out Salesforce further and this is what you use to code those custom complex solutions, and I haven’t read this book yet but I have heard a few great things about it. Its called “Mastering Apex Programming.” Don’t forget to check out the trails on APEX coding as well to gain more knowledge.

Salesforce Business Analyst

What is a Business Analyst?

A business analyst is essentially someone who understands Salesforce, and can help create the battle plan for the company. You plan, write, and build out the scope for what the company hopes to achieve. You will work closely with Admins and or Devs to make sure the goals of the company can be met within the timeframe.

What do I do to become a Business Analyst?

A good business analyst must have a solid understanding of how Salesforce works. These are the people that can help to guide projects and document the business needs as well as help get the client to their overall goal. They work with the Admins, Developers, and Client to help understand and process their goals and deliver the best results. I would say one of the biggest needs for a Business Analyst isn’t just understanding the client needs or knowing the in’s and outs of Salesforce, it is organization. This is needed in order to keep the project heading in the right direction as well as to keep the goals focused and emails answered.

Salesforce Marketer

What is a Salesforce Marketer?

Probably one of the most specialized roles within the Salesforce world. Marketing involves a lot of understanding into how customers think which involves using the data that comes in and building out campaigns and automations for future targeting. You have to understand email development, amp scripting, pulling data from databases using SQL and Server-Side JavaScript.

What do I do to become a Salesforce Marketer?

Now becoming a Salesforce Marketer is different from all the other roles for Salesforce. Now why do I say this? Because if you wish to see Marketing Cloud, then you are stuck to only seeing videos of it due to no developer environment being available. Yes that is correct, you learn a lot of it by reading. Now how can you gain any knowledge of this tool? Well, this is where yes you can read books, but you can also dive into other Email marketing tools like Hubspot or Mailchimp in order to understand about template development and landing page development and some light journey building in each of those tools.

Salesforce Architects

What is a Salesforce Architect?

Now these people are the ones that process all the knowledge within the Salesforce world. They understand the in’s and out’s of Salesforce. They are the ones that are in charge of not just a part of the Salesforce project but all of it. They understand what needs to be done and how to accomplish it. There are a few different types of architect, there are B2B architect, solution architect, and a technical architect.

What do I do to become an architect?

Now this is one of the toughest paths to go down but it is one that has a lot of value. The best way to get knowledge is to use trailhead, read the Salesforce Architect handbook, and probably the biggest peace of advice I could give you is to reach out to other Architects and just ask what they did to achieve that certification cause it is very difficult.

What else can I do to gain knowledge within Salesforce?

Trailblazer Community Groups

The Trailblazer community groups are meet-ups that meet and discuss Salesforce pertaining to a specific section such as Marketing, Developer, or Admin. These groups will usually have a special guest or a presentation, and with that you can talk to others within the field, some people are just starting out, others are experts but they are all there to meet fellow Salesforce peeps. Check out and see if there are groups in your city


There are some great podcasts that I suggest all Salesforce people follow. A few of my favorites are The Marketing Cloud Cast, the Salesforce Admin Podcast and the Developer Podcast. There are quite a number of Salesforce Podcasts, but these are my three favorites.

Salesforce Saturday

Salesforce Saturday is a meet-up that meets every Saturday for Salesforce people to get together and discuss Salesforce problems or cool features or just to meet and talk in general. This is one of the best places to meet other people in your area and discover Salesforce people.

Do I need to get all the certifications?

This is one of those questions I get all the time. I would say, go down the path you are wishing to gain skills in. If you want to become a Marketing Cloud project manager, then go down that path, do you need to get nonprofit certification just to have it? No, I have always believe the time you spend should be gaining more knowledge in the field you want to become an expert in.

In Closing

Salesforce might seem like a massive undertaking at first, but as with all things, the more we read and educate ourselves on something we gain a bigger understanding of what it is. There are many career paths you can take depending on what you hope to achieve. If you have any questions about jumping into a career change or wondering what else you can do in the world of Salesforce just reach out on Twitter.

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