The Salesforce Admin Role: Rise and Resurgence
The Salesforce ecosystem is flourishing. Even in the face of an economic slowdown, Salesforce as a company is going from strength to strength; the ecosystem’s growth over the past few years is no joke, Salesforce’s customer base is growing, and with the number of users skyrocketing, there’s no sign of it slowing down.
However, the number of high-caliber Salesforce professionals ready to launch Salesforce into the exosphere is slowing down. There’s a huge shortage of developers across all platforms, evidenced by rapidly rising salaries and influxes of LinkedIn recruiter messages finding their way into inboxes across the world – not just in the Salesforce space.
The role of the Salesforce Admin has a bigger part to play in this than you might have realized – but what does that really mean?
The Changing Job Market
Some people believe that the dwindling demand for admins and the over-saturation of candidates in the job market has sent the admin role on a path towards redundancy. Despite these thoughts, admins are the key to solving one of the biggest challenges on the platform.
In tandem with Salesforce’s exponential growth, we see a huge amount of opportunity in the job market. Demand for Salesforce professionals to implement, manage, and elevate companies’ investment in the Salesforce platform is rocketing at an unprecedented pace. But we’re also starting to see a shift, again, in the type of Salesforce professional being hunted.
Is the Salesforce Admin Role Disappearing?
Two years ago, it was widely predicted that the Salesforce Admin position was becoming redundant since companies seemed more focused on hiring Salesforce Developers. With increasingly complex demands on the platform that called for pro-code developers, the admin role seemed to be on a trajectory towards extinction.
This wasn’t helped by the pandemic. Businesses needed to pivot rapidly to transform their digital capability, and Salesforce Developers were the folks of choice for most to achieve it, with further bespoke customization introducing more complexity and tech debt.
However, while companies still want to hire more and more Salesforce Developers, the admin role has quietly made a resurgence:
- Low code is here to stay: Salesforce’s investment into “low-code” builders and tools.
- Businesses need admins more than ever: Driving technology adoption in the face of employee retention challenges.
- The gap is closing between admins and developers: Admins’ greater understanding of quality development practices, like DevOps, has greatly narrowed the gap.
Low Code is Here to Stay
Salesforce is ‘all in’ on low/no code – that’s one of the first things anyone new to the space learns, and the idea is etched into our collective memories. Some of us fondly remember the alliterative “clicks, not code” strapline that was reiterated for a long time.
But over time the extensibility of the platform became challenging without custom code. Thus, the demand grew for developers with the skills to build workflows, execute tasks, and integrate several disparate systems as Salesforce started to become the Tier 1 Enterprise Application behemoth it is today.
This evolution definitely hasn’t come without its challenges though. We’re seeing it with Flow, DevOps Center, and MuleSoft. Salesforce is still all in on advanced declarative functionality. TDX22 reinforced that this is the future of the platform.
This isn’t just any declarative functionality either. It’s the type that empowers admins and brings them tighter into developer-driven workflows and activities, arming teams with the skills and capability to deliver quality applications faster with confidence. This is why we are seeing this product direction and investment from Salesforce.
Businesses Need Admins More Than Ever
At Gearset we work with Executive teams, Platform Owners, Centers of Excellence, and the teams on the ground delivering business-as-usual and special projects. We hear a common theme, from SMB through to Enterprise: there’s a talent shortage – attraction and retention is a challenge.
As a result, businesses are turning to technology to help them overcome those challenges, and Salesforce Admins are the ones at front of mind for adoption. Admins are going to be the ones to bridge the gap and play a critical role in driving the success of Salesforce in their organizations.
After all, admins are the lifeblood of an org. They keep the lights on, and they’re long overdue an upgraded arsenal to allow them to deliver fantastic features for their end users. Also, declarative development capabilities are arguably easier to learn.
Now that’s not to say that it’s too difficult for the majority of folks to learn to code – it’s just that the learning curve of learning to code is much steeper.
Trailhead is a fantastic platform for helping everyone, from fresh graduates to established Trailblazers and career changers, to adopt Salesforce or learn new skills. However, it can often be a double-edged sword.
Some argue that the admin job market is becoming oversaturated, and the low barrier to entry of learning the basics could be a contributing factor. So, the question is this: how does an admin remain competitive, and how do they show real value that’s going to have a positive impact on their current or future employer?
Trailhead is now being supported by complementary platforms, like DevOps Launchpad and Salesforce Ben’s training platform, that bring specific knowledge and skills. These platforms give admins the best chance at success personally, as well as help their organization’s overarching success. For businesses to flourish, they need to fully lean into technology and be committed to enabling ongoing learning and development of their people. After all, people are the backbone of any successful business function. Organizations that invest in closing the admin–developer chasm are going to prevail.
The skills gap between Salesforce Admins and Developers is closing, and it has the potential to close even more. Some organizations are already realizing this, and as a result are on a recruitment drive for skilled admins.
Organizations providing an environment to elevate their existing admins, and attract new ones, will successfully build the teams that can deliver the Salesforce solutions needed by the wider business. We’re at an exciting inflection point, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens from here.