It was just 12 short months ago—though at times it has felt like a lot more—that the International Data Corporation (IDC) released what has become a seminal whitepaper forecasting the economic impact of Salesforce.
The headline news from the 23-page paper stopped a number of industries in their tracks. According to the IDC, the contribution of Salesforce and its ecosystem of partners would lead to 4.2 million new jobs and $1.2 trillion in new business revenues by 2024.
These pre-coronavirus numbers, which today could arguably be even greater given the rise in remote working solutions, also pointed to a phenomenal increase in spending on public cloud computing from $147 billion to $418 billion per year over the same period.
If these figures sent shockwaves through businesses across the globe, the not-so-shocking repercussions saw a spike in interest from those looking to capitalize on Salesforce’s growth and launch a career based on the world’s most popular CRM.
If you fall into this category but have not yet set off on your Salesforce journey, there are a number of ways to get a head-start as your new career unfolds. Here we’ll look at a few actions that will help to get the ball rolling.
Where to start
Work-wise, the exponential growth of Salesforce means there is no shortage of options. From Developers to Administrators, there’s a number of different career paths available to those with the right amount of ambition.
So let’s say you want to become a Developer, but you’re unsure about how to pick up that expertise from a limited starting point. From the word go, you need to familiarize yourself with JavaForce and Apex—the programming languages that Salesforce uses—as well as UI scripting languages VisualForce and CSS.
If you don’t have any actual experience of the platform itself, however, then it’s worth establishing where you stand before the wheels start turning. According to a seven-time Certified Salesforce Platform Specialist and SFDC Fanboy Editor Manish Thaduri, this is a vital part of the process.
“One of the intriguing questions that everyone faces when stepping into the Salesforce ecosystem is ‘how can you go from a beginner to a qualified Salesforce professional?'” says Manish.
“The first thing that will help you advance your career in Salesforce is to know where you currently are and where you want to be in the future. Without knowing where you currently stand in the Salesforce ecosystem, you won’t know how to advance your career.
“Salesforce has been around for long enough that the technology is now mature, with a lot of features and improvements, thanks to its quarterly releases. It is hard to cope with that pace. Salesforce also understands that and has created a single learning platform called Trailhead to provide an easier way for everyone to stay educated.”
Learning Salesforce with Trailhead will be fundamental. Not only is it the central hub for all official Salesforce training and certification materials, but it’s also the place to go for learning about new products and features, platform updates, and how the business use of Salesforce is evolving.
The great news is that Trailhead training materials are absolutely free. This is part of the reason why Salesforce has turned into a titan—the company actively encourages more talent to enter the ecosystem by providing accessible training for people across the world.
If you’re entirely new to Salesforce, Trailhead will also help guide you towards your desired career path based on what you’re interested in, what you’re good at, and how the future of technology may influence your current role. Trailhead’s three principles are ‘Learn, Earn, and Connect,’ emphasizing a certification-based learning journey where fellow professionals are always on hand to assist.
It’s worth mentioning that Salesforce also offers around 50 official intensive training classes, which cover all experience levels and are currently carried out virtually. Although this is one of the more expensive methods of learning ($400+), it’s a popular route thanks to the trustworthy, effective nature of the learning materials, information, and trainers.
An alternative route to consider is instructor-led training. While this option comes at a cost to the learner, you’ll be directed by a qualified, certified Salesforce trainer, meaning you have the opportunity to ask questions and focus on the areas in which you feel you need further support or clarity.
This is often viewed as an attractive prospect for those who need a more traditional and engaging delivery system, with Stony Point and Pluralsight both excellent options when it comes to flexibility, cost, and expertise.
Another path to take is Revolent’s Salesforce Developer Program, which puts professionals with a background in IT through a fully-funded 8-10 week class-based environment (again, currently done virtually) led by Salesforce Certified Trainers. In return, you will be expected to commit to staying with Revolent for a full two-year program.
The aim is to familiarize you with the platform via sandbox environments and a tailored learning path, so you’re confident enough to start using your skills to serve their clients while earning a salary from Revolent. Those placements will last up to two years, at which point you’ll have the experience you need to further your career on your own terms.
It’s also worth checking out Udemy, which is a well-established and much-admired online resource to use when it comes to learning Salesforce. Countless virtual classes cover various roles and experience levels, and many are often highly discounted, so it’s worth keeping your eyes open.
Taking the free route
With so many people rethinking their careers, skills, and specialisms during what has been a particularly unforgiving year for the job market, Salesforce’s community of professionals and employers have stepped up to the mark. Whether you’re brand new to the ecosystem or looking to upskill, there are some incredible and completely free Salesforce training resources you can work through from the comfort of your own home.
One such resource is Salesforce MVP and influential thought leader Gemma Blezard. A Technical Architect on the platform, the Golden Hoodie winner, continues to give back to the community through user groups and educational resources.
Her online, expert-led Salesforce training sessions are held three times a week and are available on-demand if they don’t quite fit your schedule. You’ll even be assigned homework to ensure the learning is thorough, and there are no holes in your knowledge.
When asked about how her own Salesforce journey began, the Architect Club CEO says: “My’ marriage’ to Salesforce started way back in 2008, when I landed a job in Sales Ops as a reporting analyst supporting 250 salespeople and four other admins in markets around the world. I was told one of the systems I’d be working with would be Salesforce. “Have you ever heard of it?” I was asked. At that time, I hadn’t, but it would end up changing my life.
“Within six months, I had become the ‘go-to’ person in the company for anyone needing help with Salesforce, plus I had achieved my first certification.”
Becoming Salesforce certified
Given Salesforce’s reach and influence, an obvious next step to cement your standing in the job market is to become officially certified in your chosen field, whatever that may be. A good place to start, as Ben McCarthy—aka Salesforce Ben—points out in his article for leading certification training provider Simplilearn, is as an Administrator or Developer.
“A Salesforce Administrator’s tasks include helping users to develop reports and reset passwords, maintaining data quality, adding fields, running backups, and many other admin tasks that are crucial to the smooth and seamless performance of the software,” explains Ben. “A Salesforce Developer designs, codes, tests, implements, and maintains Salesforce applications.
“Whichever direction is right for you, you’ll jumpstart your Salesforce career with a Salesforce certification.”