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How to Stand Out as a Salesforce Developer

It isn’t news that the Salesforce ecosystem is growing. Last year, there were more than 5 acquisitions, 50 major enhancements and new features to the Salesforce multi-cloud, and the company itself issued revenue guidance of $13.23-13.24 billion. 

For those working in the ecosystem, this translated to a prediction that 3.3 million jobs would be created in the Salesforce economy by 2022. That works out at over one million jobs a year revolving around the CRM platform that is growing at such an exponential rate they currently set to become the fastest enterprise software company in history to reach $16 billion in revenue by fiscal year 2019.

But, what do these numbers mean to Salesforce developers? Across the board, the need for Salesforce skills is increasing – and nowhere is that more true than in the case of Salesforce developers. On Indeed’s annual listing of ‘The Best Jobs of 2019’, Salesforce developers beat out the likes of accounts and data scientists to come in at an incredible tenth position – with the data showing that there’s been a 128% increase in job postings for Salesforce developers.

Salesforce developers get a median salary of USD140,000. A freelancer, on the other hand, gets a median daily rate of USD850. 

Clearly, the demand is there. Recent research shows that the number of Salesforce developer job openings outpace available talent by 4:1. 

With that in mind, the question remains: how do you get one of these coveted Salesforce developer jobs? Finding a job listing probably won’t be hard, but with so many people vying to get into the world of Salesforce, how do you compete with the amount of talent out there? The good news is, whether you’re fresh onto the Salesforce market, or you’re already a seasoned expert simply looking for a new challenge, there is always something you can do to stand out in the world of Salesforce developers.

  Work on Your Core Skills

This one might sound pretty obvious; if you want to stand out as a skilled professional, you should brush up on your skills. But, in a world like Salesforce where changes happen rapidly with constant enhancements and new features every year, you have to ensure your skills are constantly up to date. Are you familiar with the latest release updates to Apex and Visualforce? Are you clued up on Lightning Experience development and Lightning Components? 

Luckily, Salesforce makes this pretty easy for you with their Trailhead initiative which enables Salesforce professionals to explore and advance their tech skills that the job market is crying out for. And if online learning modules aren’t for you, then there are hundreds of Meet-Ups dedicated to the discussion and progression of the Salesforce skills sets.

Regardless of how you choose to keep on top of the ecosystem, you can’t expect to stand out if you’re not willing to keep your knowledge and your skills up-to-date.

However, looking past the technology itself, a core skill for Salesforce Developers is innovation. As Sarah Franklin put it in a recent Salesforce blog: 

“The Salesforce platform gives developers a constantly evolving set of tools that keep pace with modern and advanced technical trends. If the newest thing coming out is AI, or blockchain, or serverless, or something that hasn’t been created yet, Salesforce developers don’t have to worry about how to add that technology to their stack. They trust we will innovate and build these technologies into our platform for them to then build into their apps for their business.”

The bottom line is that you can’t just focus on working with the technology; focus on what you can do differently and how you can harness new features that Salesforce is rolling out to truly transform a business and how it can operate.

  Don't Forget Your Soft Skills

That being said, it’s all well and good having the best development skills out there, but if you forgo the soft skills, you might very well find it difficult to stand out among the crowd. As is often the case with highly technical positions, people tend to prioritize getting the hands-on skills right first.

But if you can’t communicate with a team, or stand up in a room and discuss the complexities of your Salesforce instance in layman’s terms, then you’re likely going to struggle to climb up the ranks. Here’s what we think the top soft skills are that you should continue to develop and demonstrate: 

  • Deliver thoughtful solutions: Always remember why you are building something for a business. Don’t just go for the most technically advanced option out there; instead, consider what you are trying to help the business achieve, take into consideration the most important nuances or factors that make this business different from others, and let that guide your solution. 

  • Relentlessly analyze: Developers need to understand how their solution will be used, and be passionate about analyzing all the business outcomes that are required.

  • Work well with others: Salesforce development is not a solo mission. More often than not, you will work in conjunction with a number of other team members – whether they are developers or admins. Taking the time to work with this team and advancing their skills will enable you to elevate the solutions and way that you work. In the long term, you will also be able to work on more challenging tasks and higher value activities. 

  • Improve and learn: It goes hand in hand with our previous advice, but Salesforce is a constantly evolving ecosystem. Developers should have this same mentality of rapid continuous improvement, and be agile and adaptable to new technologies and methods. It also goes on to say that you should be willing to learn from mistakes and humble enough to learn from teammates.

  Get Certified

With the previous two tips focusing on solidifying your skills, it’s no wonder that our penultimate tip centers on getting proof of your skills in writing – getting officially certified. In the world of Salesforce, certifications are clear indicators that not only have you invested time and effort into honing your skills, but also that you hit a certain standard.

While some have disputed how effective certifications are in terms of differentiating yourself to hiring managers or recruiters, it’s difficult to question what they have come to signify in the world of Salesforce. A definitive proof excellence among Salesforce professionals, having one of these on your CV on LinkedIn won’t go unnoticed.

Certifications undoubtedly prove to potential employers that you really possess the skills that you’re claiming to have. When they see that you have invested in being the best in your field, employers become more keen to invest in you as a professional. Data shows that the average salary of a Salesforce expert with no certifications, and those with just one, differ by an average of USD 17,000. 

  Make Yourself a ‘Go-To’ and Get Known for It

We’ve already touched on the fact that the world of Salesforce development is multi-faceted and while it’s definitely important to keep on top of the new releases and changes going on, you need to make yourself known for a particular niche if you really want to stand out.

Whether it’s building up experience in a specific industry or making one particular product your bread and butter, you can be assured that a plethora of businesses out there will be prepared to pay the right price to get an expert on board. 

To get that attention, shout about your experience on LinkedIn, ask for personal recommendations on your page, and definitely highlight any Trailhead badges or certifications you have achieved that demonstrate your specialty. Salesforce – despite being colossal in size – is actually a very close-knit community. If you can become known for one particular thing, it won’t go unnoticed for long.

  Keep Learning

While Salesforce development is a highly lucrative career option, it is only the start of a hugely satisfying career with unparalleled potential. At the very top of this is the Salesforce Certified Technical Architect. According to Salesforce, this is the pinnacle certification for those who demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and capabilities to design and build high-performance technical solutions on the Salesforce platform across all areas of domain expertise.

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However, there are quite a few steps to get there, and a truly successful Salesforce Developer will have this upwards mentality throughout their career. 

Indeed, you’ll only increase in demand as you move progressively; for instance, while the number of Salesforce developer job opening stands at 4:1, the number for technical architects stands at 10:1. When you become a technical architect, you can expect to be earning a median salary of USD167,000. If you are a Certified Technical Architect, salary goes upwards of USD200,000.

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