In the first of a new series we look at how to gain those much needed cloud skills and to start we look at how to fast-track your Salesforce CRM SaaS skills
Salesforce was one of the pioneers in the move to the cloud and now has millions of customers worldwide. While it’s largely a turnkey solution there’s still plenty of opportunity for developers to add to the solution, particularly in the busy Salesforce AppExchange market that allows businesses to build applications on the Salesforce platform.
As you can see from the accompanying graph jobs asking for Salesforce skills are growing and have been for some 8-9 years and salaries are high – in the UK a Salesforce developer can expect to earn anything from £30,000-120,000 depending on experience and location, and in the US they range from $40,000+ to $120,000+
The Career Potential
So is it difficult to get on to the Salesforce developer cloud ladder? The answer is no. Due to the huge demand worldwide for Salesforce development and integration skills, it is not very difficult to carve out a career in this field at all – although clients will obviously prefer those who have more experience and established knowledge of the various functions of the package.
If you have no Salesforce skills or knowledge then your first steps should be to learn the basics of Salesforce and how it functions and luckily that’s a cheap and easy process.
Step 1 - Create Your Own Free Developer Account
The first thing you should do to build a career in Salesforce is to create a Salesforce Developer account. This will enable you to learn all the features and functions of the package quickly and for free. As a developer you are allowed full access to explore all the options and get familiar with all the features of the application and it will remain active as long as you login every six months.
Using the account you can install and test the AppExchange packages and build new functionality and features in the package as well as use Visualforce to create and markup custom pages and execute APEX code – Salesforces Java-like object-oriented programming language. The free account also admits you to the Salesforce Success Community that has an inexhaustible supply of documentation produced by both the company and the community.
Step 2 - Get Hands-On Experience
After you have created the developer account, you should start exploring the various interactive learning tools available. Salesforce Trailhead is akin to Code Academy and has various modules that will enable you to learn the fundamentals of Salesforce. If you prefer to read, then you could try Force.com Platform Fundamentals that provides a mass of reading matter on the complexities of Salesforce and is updated with each of its releases.
You can also check out the various training guides that the company makes available. The guides on Salesforce Change Sets can be especially informative. You can even order a printed copy by visiting the Developer Zone. There are also a number of cheat sheets that provide handy reference guides at a glance. The Salesforce YouTube channel is a great video learning resource, while the website Zero to Hero from Adminhero.com simplifies many of the more complex Salesforce documentation.
Step 3 - Become a Member of a Salesforce User Group
Whatever your industry there is bound to be a Salesforce user group that fits your needs. Networking is a great way of learning about new features and functions – and occasionally jobs - as well as solving some of the problems you may come up against and it’s a great place to meet new people.
Step 4 - Volunteer Your Expertise
Even with the current shortage of Salesforce skills the job market can still be very competitive and getting the first job is going to be hard. A good way of building up skills on your CV is to do some real-life projects on a volunteer basis. Due to limited resources, many non-profits are looking for Salesforce enthusiasts to help them build up their systems. A good place to look for jobs is the resources available at the Community Corps and Salesforce Foundation. You can even locate virtual opportunities that you can involve yourself with which will not require your physical presence. With a few such projects under your belt, you can look at the job market with much more confidence.
Good luck and good job hunting
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