Career / Admins

8 Salesforce Admin Career Paths You Should Explore

By Ben McCarthy

The Salesforce Admin role is one of the most common across the ecosystem and is also typically the gateway role into Salesforce. Whether you entered via the “Accidental Admin” route or had your heart set on a role within the ecosystem, becoming a Salesforce Admin is a rite of passage for many of us.

One massive advantage of becoming a Salesforce Admin is that it immerses you within the Salesforce ecosystem. You are learning first-hand the platform’s power, how users interact with it, and how it ultimately affects a business’s bottom line. This means you are perfectly placed to use the role to springboard your career to the next level. Let’s explore…

Breaking Down the Admin Role

It’s safe to assume that Salesforce end-users make up the largest segment of the Salesforce job market. With around 3,000 ISVs on the AppExchange and roughly 2,000 Salesforce consultancies around the globe, this is dwarfed by Salesforce’s 150,000 customers.

Within each Salesforce customer will be varying sizes of teams, some ranging from a solo Admin, all the way up to teams of over 100 for some of the largest orgs on earth. Roles within these organizations will range from Project Managers, Developers, Product Owners, and more.

The Salesforce Admin role itself could take many forms. In smaller Orgs with a solo admin or a very small team, Admins may wear multiple hats. They will take on the responsibility of the business analyst, functional consultant, trainer, and possibly even development (Evolving into an Admineloper). Whilst in larger orgs, these roles will likely be split out into separate responsibilities. So whilst Salesforce admins do tend to have a defined job description, responsibilities and job titles may differ from company to company.

Using Your Admin Role as a Springboard

There are many advantages to working in a role as a Salesforce Admin, but I’d like to pick two that stand out.

Firstly, as mentioned above, you are seeing first-hand how businesses use Salesforce. In any other job in the Salesforce ecosystem, such as working in a consultancy, ISV, or Salesforce themselves, you will be working with end-users. Understanding what is important to a business that uses Salesforce, and being able to empathize with customers, is a superpower.

Of course, it’s possible to work at any of these companies without working for an end-user first, but it may be harder to really understand the benefits of Salesforce, why businesses really need it, and what they are expecting to get out of their implementation.

Secondly, you will tend to have a very broad experience of working across, or with, different roles. If you are a solo Admin you will be wearing many different hats, and if you are working in a larger team, you will be working alongside different roles and functions. This gives you a huge advantage in properly identifying what you enjoy, and where you want to take your career. 

Money, titles, and prestige all play into the decision to move on from your current company, but the most important aspect is to find a role you enjoy and that challenges you.

Another factor that should play into your decision is your future career path. You may have a dream job in mind – do you want to become a developer? Work at Salesforce? Become a CTA? Run your own consultancy? If you have a specific career path in mind, it’s important to factor this into your next move. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common career paths for Salesforce Admins making the move.

1. Functional Consultant

Difficulty – Medium

Salary – $130,750 – $155,750

Salesforce Consultants are the backbone of Salesforce consultancies, also known as SIs (Solution Integrators). The vast majority of Salesforce end-users will be affiliated with a Consultancy, whether it was when their initial implementation when they bought Salesforce, for ongoing maintenance, or for more complex pieces of their org.

Consultants come in a couple of flavors; functional and technical. Technical consultants tend to be more senior, as they can generally code. On the other hand, functional is more similar to Admins, working with the declarative side of the platform. 

Functional consultants can have a wide breadth of responsibilities. In smaller consultancies, you may be involved in a project from pre-sales to requirements gathering, implementation, and go-live. In larger organizations, you may just be brought in for the actual implementation and go-live, with pre-sales and business analysts performing the former responsibilities.

Consultancies are a hive of knowledge, you will be working with people who are much more senior, providing a great opportunity to learn, whilst working on complex projects. Whilst this always keeps things challenging, consultancies aren’t without their disadvantages and may be considered slightly more stressful than an Admin role. However, you are generally provided with a higher salary. 

2. Business Analyst

Difficulty –Medium

Salary – $116,000 – $144,750

Getting a bit bored with custom fields, reports, and Flow? Want to work closer with the business on requirements, user stories, and business process mapping? Meet the Business Analyst or, the “Big Tuna”, named for its surge in demand a couple of years back.

The Business Analyst role is relatively new in the Salesforce ecosystem. Whilst it will have existed for many years in some form or another, it was only in July 2022 that Salesforce made a specific business analyst certification for the role. 

BAs are a vital part of the Salesforce ecosystem and may work as either an end-user in a large team or in a consultancy. They are the bridge between the business and the technical teams, ensuring that requirements are properly gathered, the business is understood, and providing user stories for the technical team to create a solution.

In some consultancies and organizations, the Admins or Consultants will be tasked with these responsibilities. Whilst this can successfully work on smaller projects, you usually need to bring out the big guns for larger, more complex projects.

3. Product Owner

Difficulty – Medium

Salary – $150,000+

If you love being a Salesforce Admin but are looking for that next step up in your career, becoming a Product Owner just might be the ticket.

Salesforce Product Owners could also be described as CRM Managers, or senior admins, and work for end-users. However, they will typically not be working on the technical implementation itself. Instead, they will be leading a team of technical individuals and supporting them in prioritizing specific tasks and projects to meet business goals.

Product Owners work very closely with stakeholders within the business, understanding their requirements, and goals. These requirements will then need to be prioritized and communicated to the team for them to implement the changes.

The Product Owner will be ultimately responsible for the implementation, and if you want to move away from the technical day-to-day but still have a big impact on a Salesforce Org, this could be the role for you.

4. Niche Ninja

Difficulty – Medium/Hard

Salary – $150,000 – 200,000+

If there’s one thing we’ve loved talking about over the past couple of years at Salesforce Ben, it’s how niching down can advance your career quickly. 

As Salesforce becomes more saturated at the Admin level, it’s important to stand out from the crowd and find your USP as a Salesforce professional. This might be specializing in a product, an industry, or a discipline that is particularly hard to master (Project Management comes to mind). 

Most Salesforce ecosystem niches are typically only open to Salesforce professionals with a few years of experience on the platform. For example, mastering CPQ or Field Service Lightning will be very hard from a junior perspective  –  you need a significant amount of knowledge on the core products such as Sales or Service Cloud before diving into one of the many Salesforce niches you can learn.

Whilst it’s true that without CPQ experience, you are probably not going to land a specialist CPQ job, you can try to ensure that your next move will leave you exposed to niche products, and not just run-of-the-mill Sales and Service Cloud. Try and find a company with a large org that uses multiple Salesforce products, or even a consultancy that has a particular specialization, such as Data Cloud or Salesforce Industries that utilizes OmniStudio.

5. Admineloper/Developer

Difficulty – Hard

Salary – $150,000 – $200,000+

Whilst Admin and Developer roles have typically always been separate, there is a rise in demand for “Adminelopers” –  a hybrid role that combines declarative and programmatic responsibilities. 

As the Salesforce job market is currently in decline, employers are looking to get more bang for their buck. Instead of hiring two expensive resources on six-figure salaries, they would rather request one resource, with the skills for two, and so the Admineloper was born.

Developers are typically paid more than Admins, due to the higher barrier to entry of learning how to code. This means that some Admins may choose to lean into the Developer career path if they already know their way around LWCs and Apex, or perhaps double down on learning to become more of an Admineloper. 

Although the market is rough at the moment, there is no doubt that there will always be a higher demand for an Admineloper hybrid role, over just a Declarative Admin.

6. Project Manager

Difficulty – Hard

Salary – $150,000 – $250,000+

Whilst some are born to configure and solutionize on the Salesforce platform, others are destined to manage Salesforce projects. Ensuring that they are kept to scope, on time, and within the budget (the ultimate trifecta).

Salesforce Project Managers need a combination of special skills to fulfill their role. They need impeccable communication skills, the ability to lead a team, provide feedback, be diplomatic, and have a good understanding of the Salesforce platform. 

Keeping a project to scope, on time, and within budget, is not easy. But if you can do this, you will make your employer ecstatic, your project team will love you, and your happy customers will keep coming back for more. Although this is easy to say, putting it into practice is a lot harder. This is exactly why good project managers are highly rewarded financially and don’t exactly have a ceiling on what you can earn compared to other Salesforce roles.

7. Technical/Solution Architect

Difficulty Medium/Hard

Salary – $175,000 – $250,000+

Technical or Solution Architects are the ultimate technical authority on a project. They are responsible for ensuring a solution is built to the technical specification while using the best practices.

These roles are not easy to achieve in the Salesforce ecosystem. You need a great deal of experience in your locker, such as working across multiple Salesforce orgs, and implementing a lot of projects or products from scratch. You will need to know about every core feature, and be able to lead a team when they come asking you questions about best practices, or the best way to solutionize.

However, depending on your experience as a Salesforce Admin, you may be in a perfect position to learn yourself a promotion and leapfrog your way to an Architect position. 

These positions will typically exist in large Salesforce end-users, Salesforce consultancies, as well as Salesforce ISVs. Although, the roles in ISVs will typically be responsible for architecting solutions using the specific App. 

8. Solutions Engineer

Difficulty – Hard

Salary – $200,000-300,000

One of the more popular routes for Salesforce Admins who want to add a commercial string to their bow, the Solution Engineer role is full of excitement and is well rewarded.

SEs typically work at Salesforce, ISVs, and SIs. They are the technical bridge between the salesperson, and the customer/prospect, helping create demos of the correlating product they are selling, answering technical questions and the product, and technically supporting the deal in any way they can.

SEs are a vital part of the sales process for a lot of organizations and are well rewarded in terms of a base salary, as well as a healthy commission for helping sell deals. 

Many Salesforce Admins enjoy switching to a career as a Solution Engineer due to the change of pace in their career. You will be completely removed from Salesforce projects and focussed solely on the sales process. This can provide a lot more variety in your role but does technically take you away from real-life Salesforce implementations.


The Salesforce Admin role provides a fantastic foundation for you to leapfrog your career deeper into the Salesforce ecosystem, and the skills that you have built up over multiple years can easily be transferred into other roles.

The Salesforce ecosystem is powered by end-users spending money on more Salesforce products, AppExchange products, and Salesforce consultancy projects. 

In essence, if you have a good understanding of why and how end-users use Salesforce, you will be an asset to any of the aforementioned companies. 

The Author

Ben McCarthy

Ben is the Founder of Salesforce Ben. He also works as a Non-Exec Director & Advisor for various companies within the Salesforce Ecosystem.

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