Admins / Career / Developers

Salesforce Admin vs. Developer [Infographic]

By Lauren Westwood

At first glance, Salesforce Admins and Salesforce Developers may appear to be two very different roles. There are plenty of obvious differences between them (declarative versus programmatic, anyone?), but there are also some important overlaps that newcomers may not be aware of.

As relative ‘newbies’ to the Salesforce ecosystem, a few members of the SFB team set out on a mission to get to grips with both roles – from day-to-day responsibilities to potential career paths. And what better way to present these two distinct personas to help newcomers understand… You guessed it – an infographic!

Salesforce Admin vs. Developer: Who’s Who?

As the two roles are not always clearly understood, we thought this would be a great opportunity to establish the similarities and differences in a visual, easy-to-understand way.

Typically, a developer uses code daily, whereas an admin tends to use ‘clicks, not code’. Admins gather requirements and interact with users directly to understand their business needs. If the platform cannot be configured using clicks… that’s when the developer steps in!

– Julia & Lottie, Salesforce Ben

A Quick Recap

When it comes to the question of ‘Salesforce Admin vs. Developer’, here’s a reminder of the key differences between the two personas, including the key skills required and potential future roles in the ecosystem.

Salesforce AdminSalesforce Developer
Roles & ResponsibilitiesDeclarative: Works with ‘clicks, not code’. Configures core platform functionality for maximum return on investment.Programmatic: Works with code. Extends the platform with code, when it cannot be done declaratively.
Key SkillsUser and data management | reports and dashboards | user training | Security and access | process automation | mapping business processes
Apex | Visualforce | JavaScript | HTML | application lifecycle | development environments and deployment
Career PathHead of CRM | Business Analyst | Functional Salesforce Consultant | Solution Architect Solution Architect | Technical Architect | Technical Salesforce Consultant

Final Thoughts

As with most roles, there are varying levels of nuance at play depending on the size and nature of the organization. You may have a whole host of developers working on independent projects, or perhaps you’re a solo admin wearing several hats at once. Either way, we hope this infographic has provided some clarity when it comes to defining the roles of admin and developer.

Still curious? Take a look at the following resources:

The Author

Lauren Westwood

Lauren is the Content Director at Salesforce Ben.


    David Franklin
    August 21, 2015 8:06 pm
    Ben, Great information and thanks for feeding this into the community and putting Austin, Tx in your graph, our home base. I hope the corporation and recruiting firms pay close attention. There is a distinct different between a Salesforce Developer 401 and 501 which would be a coder/programmer in all other worlds. Admin's like myself which also carries the Developer certification are not Coders (Dev 501). When asking for an Admin with 501 skills then you need to expect to pay 501 Developer pricing for that talent. This is hard to find, a mixture of business process (201) and coding (501) type of person. Generally, it is one or the other. Let's see how the new Platform Certification play into these corporate/consulting roles. Love your post Ben, look forward to more.
    Ben McCarthy
    August 24, 2015 9:26 am
    Hi David, Thanks for your kind words and I completely agree. I think the "Developer" certification named by Salesforce can be a bit confusing sometimes, hopefully the new certs are going to describe roles better with platform app builder and developer I & II.
    May 06, 2016 3:04 pm
    Ben, This is a great article. I realize its been some time since you've written this but i was wondering. How does this stack up to the certifications that are available today? I am very interested in this as it seems that the considerations for what was a dev 1 and what was an advanced administrator are now much different. Please correct me if i am mistaken.
    Ben McCarthy
    May 06, 2016 4:28 pm
    Hey Jared, you're half right! The old Dev exam and advanced Dev exam has been replaced with 3. Platform app builder (point and click) , platform developer 1 and platform developer 2. The adv admin is still the same though. Hope this helps
    Ayoub Morghati
    March 20, 2017 11:17 am
    Hi Ben, Great article and thanks for sharing your knowledge. As I want to become a Salesforce Admin, I'd like to ask you about the best path to learn and the best tools in the market in your opinion? Also whether you think I should read the 6000 pages guide of Salesforce or only a part of it is useful for Admins? Thanks Bob
    Darshan Sood
    August 30, 2022 2:48 pm
    Hi Ben Its quite informative and clearly distinguishes both the roles Thanks Darshan Sood
    Darshan Sood
    August 30, 2022 2:48 pm
    Hi Ben Its quite informative and clearly distinguishes both the roles Thanks Darshan Sood

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