Salesforce Developer Average Salary Guide 2020

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Salesforce Developer average salaries are a hot topic, and for good reason! The Salesforce Economy is growing at such an insane rate, that Salesforce Developers find themselves in a favourable position, with higher salaries than equivalent developer roles in other industries.

There’s no doubt that Salesforce Developers are deserving of their compensation – they carry out a core function that allows organisations to extend Salesforce beyond declarative (point-and-click) configuration, build apps, and in turn, optimise business operations. How much do Salesforce Developers earn, and how do you find out?

“Conga"

At SalesforceBen.com, we have been enabling Admins, Consultants and Marketers with these statistics for a number of years. Our latest Salary Infographic gives insight into the salaries for US & UK professionals across the core Salesforce job titles – but this is the first time we have focused on Developers.

You may be quick to notice that I am not a developer! However, a large part of my research for this article was to speak with experienced Salesforce Developers, such as Imran Rahman. Imran is the perfect source of information – he’s a 16x Certified Technical Architect at EMPAUA, who has been through the whole Developer career path, starting in-house working on projects for Heathrow Airport, followed by a 5+ year career working for Salesforce Consultancies. He’s now pursuing the Architect track, now both a System Architect and Application Architect. I’m sure you will learn something from his insights.

I hope to bring context to what your salary should be (or could be) with information to back up that figure – so that you can be armed with ammo when asking for a raise, or applying for a new role. Let’s first look at who Salesforce Developers are and why they are in demand before diving into the salary figures.

Table of Contents

Who are Salesforce Developers? – Roles and Responsibilities

Salesforce Developers extend Salesforce beyond declarative (point-and-click) configuration, to build automation, integrations and apps. Developers will typically use two programming languages: Apex and Javascript.

A developer in the Salesforce world is typically expected to take on a broader range of responsibilities than developers in other industries. The range of responsibilities of a Salesforce developer go from the typical code-based tasks, through to work that requires a level of business acumen. The range of responsibilities tend to broaden with seniority but it’s not universally true that, for example, a senior developer will have skillsets outside of the technical ones (which we will compare later).

On top of coding, Salesforce Developers as they progress can also spend their time on: 

  • Declarative configuration (if it’s part of the code),
  • Business Analysis (BA) work (if it’s required to accurately gather requirements for the code),
  • Solution design.

For the purposes of this guide, we will use the following definitions:  

  • Junior developer: 0 – 2 years experience (possibly up to 3 years). Writing code based on specific requirements, (eg. basic Apex triggers), testing.
  • Mid-level: 2 – 4 years experience. Integrations, advanced triggers with multiple functions, and front end development.
  • Senior developer: 5+ years experience. Solution design, being the go-to resource! 

You will find a more extensive list of responsibilities for each role later when we explore seniority in more detail (see: Experience (Seniority)).

Developers vs. programmers?

The salary data that we use from the Mason Frank Salary Survey states ‘developers / programmers’ as the category. This led me to ask: “are there any differences between Salesforce Developers and programmers?”

We have already said that Salesforce Developers are expected to take on a broader range of responsibilities than their counterparts working with other technologies. We could think of a ‘programmer’, is a developer in a more traditional sense, solely dedicated to coding. Whereas a Salesforce Developer needs to be aware of other platform features and extra expectations, such as solution design, business analysis). Now that we have our definitions clearer, let’s take a quick look at the market demand for Salesforce developers.

Demand for Salesforce Developers

The flagship research on the Salesforce economy predicts that 4.2 million new jobs will be created by 2024, thanks to Salesforce and its growing network of partners and customers. This is a promising sign for any individual who has placed their bets on a career in Salesforce.

Other research reports the “stark imbalance between supply and demand for technical roles

like architects and developers”, with the largest number of job openings for developers and consultants. Salesforce-related developer profiles on LinkedIn grew 134% in the year 2018-19.

Source: Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report, research by 10K Advisors.

The chart above paints a clear picture of Salesforce Developer demand. Other research from Ergonized looked at the 74,679 Salesforce Developer job postings on LinkedIn from October 2019 to the end of April 2020 (approximately 72% of all Salesforce job postings during that period).

Research from 10k advisors found that over half of the respondents agreed that ‘Lightning Development’ is a highly sought after ‘technical’ Salesforce skill, with a further third agreeing it’s talent that’s hard to find and retain in an organisation (we will talk about the same graph in terms of integration skills later).

Source: Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report, research by 10K Advisors.

Global Salesforce Developer Salaries

The data in this section is from the Mason Frank Salary Survey, based on self-reported information from 2,500+ Salesforce professionals, spanning a range of job titles, industries, and geographic locations.

 US ($)Canada
(C$)
UK (£)
JuniorU$129,250C$111,750
£60,000
SeniorU$153,500C$129,500
£75,250
ContractU$115 p/hC$117.50 p/h
£612.5 p/d

 Germany (€)France (€)Spain (€)Benelux (€)Italy (€)
Junior€63,500
€52,250
€35,500
€50,250
€27,500
Senior€76,500
€66,500
€44,500
€60,000+
€40,000
Contractn/a€587.5 p/d
n/an/an/a

 Australia (AU$)*Japan
(¥)
Singapore (S$)
JuniorAU$130,000
¥5,255,000
S$64,500
SeniorAU$150,000
¥7,285,000
S$85,500
ContractAU$1,175 p/d
n/an/a

Are Juniors Actually Juniors?

A lot can happen in 3 years, especially with a Salesforce career. Our definition, shared by Mason Frank, is that junior developers will have up to 3 years of experience. Using the number of years experience can lead to skewed data if respondents have accelerated their careers (see ‘Accelerating Through – Maximizing your Experience’)

One leader of a London-based Salesforce consultancy pointed this out:

“In the UK salary data here, it says they can earn 60k, which doesn’t reflect reality. I think it’s more reflective of a mid-level developer. I suppose it’s probably people at the latter end of ‘junior’. A junior starting out would maybe be on £30k, after 2 years maybe £40k, and after 3 years maybe £50-60k. I think that works with driven people like a couple of developers that we’ve worked with.”

Salesforce Developers Salary Factors

One single figure without context can be misleading: there will be a significant difference in the salaries based on certain factors. We will dive into the following factors in this guide:

  • Experience (Seniority)
  • Background with Other Development Languages
  • Certifications
  • Generalists vs. Specialists
  • Location
  • End User vs. Consultancies

Experience (Seniority)

As with any profession, the more experience and responsibility you take on in your job, the higher your salary expectations should be. We defined a junior/mid-level/senior architect based on the number of years experience they have and the types of activities they are carrying out in their role. Here is the more extensive list I promised earlier:

Junior

0 – 2 years, maybe 3 years.

  • Writing code based on specific requirements, eg
  • Basic Apex triggers (update a field)
  • Basic Visualforce pages/Lightning pages that have a single purpose
  • Testing
  • Absorbing knowledge around best practice development.

And, if you work in a small organization, or are even a solo developer: 

  • Salesforce Admin overlap, point-and-click configuration

Mid-level

2 – 4 years.

  • Integrations
  • Understanding security considerations,
  • Working with large sets of data.
  • Advanced triggers with multiple functions (and interlinked), across multiple objects, multiple applications, eg. creating payment schedules for invoices (involves multiple functions). 
  • Be proficient in best practice development, making decisions in-line with best practice independently. 

What if you are working for an end user organisation that doesn’t have any integration requirements? What are other activities that Salesforce Developers do as they progress beyond being a junior? 

  • Front end development, building beyond the standard Salesforce UI, eg. building a custom stock checker application (will need to build this using VF page or LWC).
  • Bulkification
  • Working with large data sets.

Senior

5+ years

  • You will be expected to work independently, and will become a resource for other team members to call upon for assistance.
  • Solution design (architecting), including the considerations, limitations, and the impact. (‘Technical Consultant’ is a typical label here – we will expand on this later. See: ‘In-house vs. Consultancies).
  • Know best practice development inside and out.
  • The split between practical work vs. overseeing work will vary from organisation-to-organisation (and the individual’s preference, to some extent).

 Typical Workload/TasksWhat is required to reach this level:
Junior1. Writing code based on specific requirements, (eg. basic Apex triggers)Have experience in web development/Java, or you are a Computer Science graduate
2. TestingLearn Apex. This is the best development language to learn because it is fundamental to Salesforce (plus, it’s a lighter version of Java).
Mid-level1. IntegrationsGet exposed to integrations: you can work your way up to more complex ones. Good examples of integrations to have experience with can be found in the ‘Knowledge of Integrations’ section
2. Advanced triggers with multiple functions
3. Front end development
Senior1. Solution designSolution design and its considerations (security, scalability, limits)
2. Being the go-to resource!Simply experience many projects and Salesforce implementations as you can!

In previous SalesforceBen.com salary guides, we’ve seen a pattern emerge: that experience trumps certifications when it comes to determining and increasing your salary. I was keen to find out if Imran agreed: “Experience is more important than certifications. Experience trumps everything.”

Background with Other Development Languages

When it comes to determining your seniority, it is not only the experience you gain in a Salesforce Developer role, but also the previous experience you bring to the table as a developer.

Being proficient in other development languages, specifically Java, will mean you can grasp Apex easier – after all, think of Apex almost like a simpler version of Java. Couple this with knowledge of Javascript, you will be ahead of the game in exploring the newer Salesforce development framework, Lightning Web Components, which is based on the same language.

Progressing into the ‘mid-level’ responsibilities will be easier and faster, as you will be able to reuse those same JavaScript concepts which will enable developers to not only develop backend processes (through Apex) but also front facing interfaces for customised experiences.

Certifications

Salesforce Developer certifications are another factor that have the potential to influence your salary. We found something common with our other Salary Guides: the experience vs. certifications debate.   

Of the 2,500+ Salesforce professionals that responded, 36% of respondents hold the Platform Developer I (3rd most popular certification), and 10% of respondents had Platform Developer II (9th most popular). Both certifications making into the top 10 makes a statement about their popularity, considering there are 30+ Salesforce certifications!

Salesforce professionals love getting Certifications – they are a milestone in your career, that prove that you know what you are talking about, and are leverage if you are looking for a more senior position internally, or looking for a job in another company.

In the Salary Survey, respondents were asked if they experienced an increase in their salary after earning a certification:

  • 44% did, reporting an average salary increase of 24%,
  • 56% did not, their salaries remained the same.

A 50/50 chance that your salary could increase the more certifications you earn can’t be ignored. 

Refocusing back on developers, almost a third (30%) believe that holding the Platform Developer II is likely to increase your worth (ranked 4th), followed closely by Platform Developer I, where 28% of respondents were in agreement (5th ranked).

Notice how I said developer certifications have the potential to influence your salary. While this data is great to get a snapshot of general attitudes towards certifications and their relationship to salary, these figures may be clouded by what people think (their opinion), vs. what happens on the job market (the reality).  

Based on my conversations with Imran and a few other developers, certifications won’t directly affect the salary you will achieve – your experience will. Let’s take two marketers: Joe and Carole. Joe is a Salesforce Developer with 2 years experience, and has achieved 5 certifications (PD1, PD2, and others). He is interviewing against Carole, a Salesforce Developer with 5 years experience (some Salesforce development, web development, combined with an understanding of DevOps), and has 1 single certification (PD1). Assuming they are both good candidates with no major flaws, I would expect the hiring manager to hire Carole. I would also expect Carole to demand a higher salary based on her 5 years of experience and parallel skill sets.

If both individuals have equal technical experience, then certifications will act as the tie-breaker and justify a higher salary, too. Otherwise, Imran has seen that when both individuals have equal technical experience, they would command the same salary. 

There is one exception – applying to implementation partners (AKA consultancies/SIs). Certifications help these partners achieve new tiers and recognition in their Salesforce partnership (this post goes into the details why); therefore, Certifications become a currency they value, more than an end-user would (we will expand on this later. See: ‘In-house vs. Consultancies’).

Generalists vs. Specialists

Generally, there aren’t many specialisations when it comes to Salesforce Developers – ‘Apex is Apex’, as Imran put it plainly, being the main attribute you need to have as a Salesforce Developer, and apply Apex in a variety of increasingly complex ways.

Lightning Web Components offer a specialised pathway, considered another area of development within Salesforce (based on Javascript). Apex will still always be the core (it’s very unlikely you can be just a LWC developer), eg. you will be an Apex developer and Lightning Web Component specialist.

As we will see later in the guide, there are certain ways you can specialise as a developer and find your niche, including Salesforce product specialisations (eg. Commerce Cloud), Salesforce Platform Specialisations (eg. Mulesoft), and skills outside of the Salesforce Platform (eg. AWS).

Location

Salary figures are always influenced by location, due to the differences in the cost of living between countries, and within countries.  

Converting all the salaries into US$ makes the geographic comparison easier. Senior developers in the US reported an average salary of around $154k. The UK developers on average earn $91k, in Spain $49k (!), and in Japan the figure is $68k. 

Not only does the country’s economic climate influence salaries (by determining the cost of living), but also the Salesforce economy in these countries has an impact. The balance between supply and demand will determine an individual’s market value (refer back to ‘Demand for Salesforce Developers’ earlier in the guide). 

As a Londoner, I can vouch for how high the cost of living is, with a difference between the city and other regions of the UK. We see this reflected in the US data; Senior developers in San Francisco reported an average salary of around $154k, whereas equivalent professionals in Austin reported averages just under $140k, and for Juniors it’s $140k and $123k, respectively. Unfortunately, we don’t have a city breakdown for other countries, but it’s likely to be the same story.

End User vs. Consultancies

Salesforce consultancies are organisations made up of skilled Salesforce professionals that sell implementation services, training and more. These companies are also referred to as implementation partners, or SIs. 

We have already seen one type of influence that working for a Salesforce consultancy has (valuing certifications more than an end user customer organisation would). When it comes to answering the question: “does working at a consultancy increase your earning potential?”, there are several discussion points. Coming to a conclusion is hard because different people come with their own evidence and anecdotes over which type of organisation offers higher salaries. I will dip into some of these talking points now. 

Workload & Project Variety

At an end user organisation: Requirements are typically more simple and predictable when a developer is working with one single org (less unknowns). 

At a consultancy: there’s a variation in projects and requirements, which may be appealing to some people. The added pressure of project-based work and client deliverables should be a serious consideration before switching to a consultancy role.

The question: “do developers get compensated for the high intensity projects and potential stress?”

Team structure, training & mentorship

At an end user organisation: Organisations may not be as willing to invest in junior developers, and would prefer an individual that was up to standard already (as opposed to a blank canvas). Training, certification exams and recurring certification maintenance combined can become a big cost to organisations, fast.
You’re more likely to find yourself in a smaller team, or solo. You need a team around you if you want to learn quickly.

At a consultancy: There’s a trend with Salesforce consultancies hiring university graduates, then training them up. Junior developers, on these occasions, could find themselves being paid less initially, in exchange for the monetary and time investment the consultancy is making in the individual. It’s a win-win for both the consultancy and the individual.

Furthermore, it’s in a consultancy’s best interest to develop your skill sets. The more experienced you become, the more they can bill you out at (clients pay a higher rate for your time and expertise).

If you find a good mentor internally, it could potentially accelerate your career.

The question: “do consultancies offer a lower salary for junior developers in exchange for the training potential and expert mentorship?”, “Are individuals happy to trade in salary for training and mentorship, if it promises payback in the long term?”

Company Culture

At a consultancy: Salesforce consultancies tend to be organisations that place high importance on ‘company culture’, ‘employee engagement’, simply put – they want to make working for them as appealing as possible, to attract the best developers.

The question: “are developers happy to substitute salary for good company culture and working environment?” 

Cross-functional Experience

At a consultancy: you will have exposure to other aspects of projects, eg. business analysis, project management, pre-sales.

Being a ‘technical consultant’ can certainly have appeal. We all know that technical knowledge paired with business analysis skills is a winning combination, and these individuals will be those that ask “why do you want to do it that way?”, asking questions to understand if they are missing some context before proposing an alternative solution that aligns better to Salesforce best practice. 

The question: “are developers attracted to the opportunity to diversify their business orientated skills, to have the option to move into different career paths in the future?”

Contract Developers 

Working on a contract basis is also another style of working that developers can pursue. As you see in the salary data, contracting comes with separate salary potential. However, Imran was right to point out that contracting is best suited for senior developers that could ‘handle whatever the client will throw at them’.

Ways to Increase your Salesforce Developer Salary

  • Accelerating Through – Maximizing your Experience
  • Accelerating Through – if You Chose Consultancy
  • Knowledge of Integrations
  • Find a Niche – Suggested Specialisations
  • Thoughts on Self-learning as a Developer

Accelerating Through - Maximizing your Experience

There were some tips Imran dropped into the conversation that could help you to accelerate through the junior-mid-senior career path. You will have heard some of these already in the guide, so treat this as a summary: 

  • Could potentially accelerate your career if you have a good mentor (likely in a consultancy, where it’s in the consultancy’s best interest).
  • Surround yourself with a team (you need a team around you if you want to learn quickly).
  • Self-learning: Trailhead has made upskilling as a Salesforce Developer accessible and easy. Imran noted that certain topics are better suited for self-learning than others. Look to Trailhead for things that don’t have multiple ways to get it done, eg. creating a component to show a related list, using Lightning Web Components (LWC). Trailhead will cover the set way to accomplish these, as opposed to developing an integration with an ERP solution, which is best learned with the guidance of a mentor.
  • If you have a background in development (transferring from one technology that uses Java to Salesforce), you will pick it up quicker.
  • Understanding technical specs: specifications for the work to be completed can range from being brief (eg. ‘we need an Apex Trigger to do XYZ’), or they can be more detailed into specific functions – it depends on who wrote the spec. A junior developer will find it easier to read from the more detailed specs. As you become more senior, the instructions are likely to get more brief, and you will be expected to work in line with Salesforce development best practices (without it being explicitly written into the spec). 

The technical expertise that will help you go further, faster: 

 

  • Integrations (there’s a whole section coming up on this topic),
  • Building beyond the standard Salesforce UI eg. building a custom stock checker application,
  • Advanced triggers with multiple functions (and interlinked), across multiple objects, multiple applications, eg. creating payment schedules for invoices.

You should never overlook skills that are common amongst developers. Here are some examples:  

  • Experience in web development (CSS/HTML markup can always help with Communities)
  • Understanding HTTP and best practices, this might help in optimising a website (i.e. using SVGs instead of Images etc)
  • Understanding SQL and interfacing with databases.

Accelerating Through - if You Chose Consultancy

As we mentioned in the ‘End User vs. Consultancies’ section, Salesforce consultancies tend to be organisations that place a high importance on ‘company culture’, ‘employee engagement’, simply put – they want to make working for them as appealing as possible, to attract the best developers.

If you chose to go down the consultancy route, being a good ‘cultural fit’ by having good communication skills with both clients and internal colleagues will help towards your success in a consultancy.

You will have the opportunity to gain experience as a ‘technical consultant’, where you will be able to pair technical knowledge with business analysis skills – which everyone knows is a winning combination!

Knowledge of Integrations

Integrations are the key factor that separates mid-level developers from juniors.

Having knowledge around integrations, especially more complex ones will simultaneously boost your seniority and salary range. When I spoke to Imran, he estimated this could be around 75% of the workload, judging from his experience. Companies have got to get data from somewhere, and integrations are critical, especially if an organisation cannot afford a middleware.

Integrations signify a step up because there are many more factors to consider when making two systems interact with each other, for example security, and working with large sets of data. Common integrations that are good to have ‘under your belt’: GoToWebinar, Xero, any web application, ERPs.

Let’s call upon the same chart we showed earlier in this guide from the 10k advisors research, which found that ‘Integrations’ were the highest ‘technical’ Salesforce skill in demand, with 59% of respondents agreeing:

Source: Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report, research by 10K Advisors.

You may think that applications with pre-built integrations on the market are not as valuable or in demand as other, more obscure, options. However, regardless if there’s something an organisation can install, sometimes you need to expand on top of that, why you need to create further integrations to do that.

Summary

There’s no doubt that Salesforce Developers are deserving of their compensation – they carry out a core function that allows organisations to extend Salesforce beyond declarative (point-and-click) configuration, build apps, and in turn, optimise business operations.

I hope this guide has given some background into how the Salesforce Developer career path is structured, and what your salary should be in relation to where you are personally. You would have also heard some ideas and tips on how to increase your salary. With the salary data collected from the largest salary survey, you will be armed with ammo when asking for a raise, or applying for a new role.

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