Do you aspire to become a Salesforce Developer? Are you stuck on what steps you should take? I have taught Salesforce in a number of places: on my youtube channel (Salesforce Chef), at Montgomery College (the largest community college in Maryland), at a Native American reservation in Oregon, and also to colleagues at Accounting Seed.
Based on my extensive teaching and development experience here are the 8 steps to getting your first job as a Salesforce Developer:
1. Be a Strong Salesforce Admin
Cement your Salesforce Admin knowledge! I recommend spending 3 months to study for and pass the below 5 certifications.
- Salesforce Certified Administrator
- Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator
- Salesforce Certified App Builder
- Sales Cloud Consultant
- Service Cloud Consultant
There are tonnes of resources and testimonials on Youtube and Google that you can leverage.
2. Make Salesforce Personal → Run Your life on Salesforce
Navigating and customizing your Salesforce org should become as natural and easy as navigating and customizing your iPhone’s settings. To become comfortable with Salesforce, use Salesforce for your personal needs. Is there something specific you can use Salesforce for?
Could you use Salesforce to keep track of your job applications? Each job application is an Opportunity that you are trying to close. The company you are applying for is an Account and the people at the company that you are interacting with are Contacts.
How about also tracking your visits to your doctor/mechanic as an Activity task? If you want to take it a step further- can you use workflows, process builders, triggers to automate something (i.e following up on an interview)?
The more features of Salesforce you use the more you will appreciate Salesforce and easier it would be for you to get a job. You would be learning Salesforce even without realizing it.
3. Pass the Platform Developer (PDI) Certification
It is essential for you to pass the Platform Developer Certification because it will help to make up for any lack in your Salesforce Development experience. Although some of the material on the exam is out of date (as it primarily focuses on Visualforce) you should still pass this Certification – plus, it will demonstrate your tenacity to learn.
4. Pass the Scrum Master Certification
When you join a project you should know the key terms used in an agile project such as backlog, sprint, stand up meetings. You can ace this certification from Scrum.org after 2 days of studying. Also, the exam is open book. This certification should decorate your resume.
5. Join Your Local Salesforce Developer Community Group
You might feel intimidated by other more experienced Developers, but don’t worry. Since the Salesforce Trailblazer Community helps each other you will be inspired and guided by fellow Developers.
Start building a local friend network of Salesforce professionals by attending your first Trailblazer Community Group. Learn about their Salesforce journey: how did they find their first job? How did they learn Apex? Also, did you know that recruiters typically come to the Developer meetups? So this is an opportunity to get a feel for local opportunities and get your questions answered and recruited!
6. Get on Salesforce StackExchange
The Salesforce StackExchange is the best resource to crowdsource the community’s help on your specific Developer questions, even if, initially, the questions discussed on the forum will be far beyond your expertise.
Still, bookmark the Salesforce StackExchange and get in the habit of logging in once a week, seeking an opportunity to ask a good question (not an easy task but you can do it. I did it!) and getting to 100 reputation points.
7. Find a Technical Mentor
It can be a challenge to get used to writing code, and easy to feel stuck and overwhelmed if you don’t come from an IT or coding background. That was the case with me! A lot of the coding concepts might not make sense (wait, what is an Exception? If it is an error why is it called an Exception? Is not being Exceptional supposed to be a good thing?!).
It all will start clicking only after 6 months. The key is to survive these initial 6 months until you get used to Apex, LWCs and Salesforce in general. Keep up your Salesforce momentum! An aspiring Developer should find a technical mentor to overcome obstacles. This person will explain the mistakes in your code, how to achieve higher and better code coverage or how to debug your code.
How do you find such a mentor? You could look in your local Salesforce Community (point #5), or you could look on Upwork. If you are interested in seeing how to do this step-by-step check out my Youtube video on this topic.
8. Apply to Jobs & Track your Mistakes
Have you been to job interviews? In your personal Salesforce org keep track of all the interviews you have had; for each interview, created an Opportunity record, and in the Activity related list, record all the questions that you were asked, what mistakes you think you made and how you could do better. If you’re looking for help with the interview, then check out 30 of the top interview questions and answers!
The beautiful thing with coding interviews is that it is an objective process; therefore, you can tell what your weaknesses/gaps are, so you can work on them (using Trailhead, community friends or Googling), and do better on your next interview.
You will be surprised how much better you will get pretty quickly. Focus on questions that you answered poorly. Write out the answer for those question and practice it so that you answer that question much better at the next interview. By tracking your mistakes and making incremental improvements you will become a very attractive candidate very fast.
If you aspire to become a Salesforce Developer, I hope that these 8 steps help you towards getting your first job as a Salesforce Developer.