So you’re thinking about working in the Salesforce Market in the USA – or as our most distinguished citizens call it: ‘Merica. The country where you can always supersize your order . . .
. . . and it is probably deep fried
. . . and wrapped in bacon
. . . and covered in cheese
God bless America.
Anyway where was I? Oh yes, America. Joking aside, the US is a great place to advance your Salesforce career. Here are a few tips and tricks to know about heading into your American move.
How to work in the US?
Admittedly, it can be frustratingly difficult getting permission to work here if you’re from somewhere else. There are more people who want to come to the US than there are visas available.
Let’s not get into a political discussion here. I prefer my angry rants that no one reads to be published on Facebook.
Visas – H1B is the important one for our purposes, L1 visas can be for another post.
H1B is your basic visa for temporary work in the United States that can lead to a Green Card. Getting an H1B means three years in the US, with a potential extension of three more years.
The probability of getting them is where things get annoying. There are 65,000 visas available with an extra 20,000 visas for advanced degree holders. 7,000 of those visas are reserved for Chile and Singapore from an old trade agreement. Last year there were ~200,000 applicants for H1B visas. And who from the applicant pool gets them? It is selected by random lottery.
That means that even after you find a company to act as sponsor, you can have as low as 29% chance of getting the visa.
Since you can’t control a random lottery, focus on finding companies that will help you get to the first step: sponsorship. Small companies and startups usually can’t risk investing in an employee and then losing them post-lottery. That means focusing your job search on larger companies with a track record of visa sponsorship.
There are a ton more issues that are worth knowing about (like OPT and post-college options) that are worth a whole series of detailed blog posts. Let’s stay focused on the bigger picture.
And keep an eye on the news. The Administration has talked adamantly about overhauling the lottery in favor of income-based selection, but hasn’t executed on any policies at the time of this writing. There may be changes coming to the official policy.
What can I expect to earn?
Salary ranges vary dramatically based on location, experience, certifications, and job description. I’m going to rely on our company’s historical data here to give you some broad categories. Keep in mind these are averages and will be dramatically different for individual situations.
These are quick snapshots of entry level positions, and don’t have the whole picture to be sure.
– Senior Admins – $90,000 average
– Business Analysts – $98,000 average
– Developers – $103,000 average
Keep an eye out for differences in location within the US – looking at three cities we can get an idea of salary deltas per location. For example if a Developer in Boston has a baseline salary of $100,000 then their New York City counterpart will make $111,500 and their San Francisco counterpart will make $114,000.
The United States is pretty big, where should I look?
Stick to big cities and the coasts. Larger companies tend to have their SFDC teams in cities, that’s why I used those examples in the previous section. There are more opportunities individually in NYC, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington DC than the rest of the country combined.
Remember cost of living is significantly higher in cities, but so are the salaries.
Tips & Tricks
1. Developers are in high demand.
For that reason recruiters (like TwentyPine, shameless plug) are excellent resources. We see a lot of Salesforce Customers who think they want Devs when they really want Senior Admins and just don’t know it yet. Don’t get caught in a role that gets boring after a month when the configuration and dev work dry up. There are enough ISVs and Consulting Partners looking for Developers (cities and coasts) to keep everyone happy.
2. General Administrators are NOT in high demand.
If you just got your first Admin Certification, the going is tough. While there are a lot of jobs available, there are also a lot of applicants to compete with. Getting hired can take quite a bit longer. Add on the H1B process and the whole thing is a much bigger pain.
3. Administrators who are specialized ARE in high demand.
If you have experience beyond the Admin Cert you’ll be better off. Technical expertise in AppExchange and SFDC products can go far. This also means focuses in analytics, technical architecture, or particular industries (Healthcare, SaaS, Finance) are all covetted.
Where is the Salesforce job market going?
Let me reiterate this point: specialization is key. In the past 5-10 years job specialization has been in the big product lines (Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, etc.). As the ecosystem gets bigger, further specialization will get increasingly important. Think specific platforms, AppExchange products, or Salesforce add-ons like Marketing Cloud, Salesforce CPQ or Pardot.
There has been a lot of focus on Lightning Experience and Einstein from Salesforce HQ. Getting up on these technologies will become increasingly important as ISVs and Platform License companies incorporate them in their products.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.