If career growth is on your radar, you need to look at becoming a Salesforce developer! According to Hire On-Demand, demand for talent with Salesforce knowledge has grown 159% since 2008 and the need for developer talent increased 90% last year! Those are big numbers! Administrators are uniquely positioned to fill this need. Aside from the huge demand, why should you look at becoming a developer, and how do you get started?
First, let’s look at some of the reasons why we should learn some code.
- Declarative functionality only goes so far. The Salesforce platform is wonderful for the simple fact that you don’t need to know code. Point and click works wonderfully and will meet most needs. But when you know code, you have the ability to create and enhance functionality, to streamline processes and overcome those pesky Salesforce system limitations. When I look at what companies like Virgin America are doing with the platform through code dev, my mind begins to wander!
- It can do wicked cool stuff! The beauty of the Salesforce Platform is that there is no limit to what can be done! Simplify the process of closing an opportunity by writing a trigger that will automatically update the Stage and Close Date when you use a hashtag like #closedwon on the record Chatter feed! Create custom Visualforce pages for your records to add more columns and customize the UI of that record. Heck, if you want to create your own look and feel to all of the Salesforce UI you could probably do that! Put your thinking cap on and see what you come up with!
- A little goes a long way. You don’t need to know a lot of code to get started! Start with the basics, and you will begin to understand the structure and language quickly!
Unfortunately, Salesforce doesn’t offer Apex 101 as a course, but there are a lot of great resources online to help you get started in your developer journey. Ready to get started? Here is how to begin!
- Create a developer account. Salesforce offers free developer editions on their developer site. These developer orgs are totally free and yours to keep forever! These editions provide you with access to the Apex programming language, Visualforce and the whole host of integration APIs and allows you to begin coding right away! The developer website is also a great resource for everything related to the platform so bookmark that page!
- Look at and work with code samples. The Cookbook is a fantastic resource for code sharing. Look through the catalog to find real code and install it into your developer edition. Work with the code to understand how it was written and try to modify or extend it. You can also install some free unmanaged packages from the AppExchange. These packages allow you to view and modify the code source. Reviewing the code in your developer org is another great way to learn.
- Find a mentor and/or local developer group. Finding someone who knows how to code, and is patient enough and willing to mentor is really your best bet to learn quickly. Take some time to code with your mentor and have them explain what they are doing as they work to build the trigger or Visualforce page. Once you are comfortable, have them watch you while you generate code. If you aren’t sure where to find a mentor, check to see if there is a local developer group. Here in Denver, we have a small developer group who gets together on a regular basis. Ask your local user group leader if they are aware of a group in your area.
Learning to code can be a daunting task, especially for those of us who have no background in computer languages. But, if you really want to push yourself and grow your career, the resources are there and available to you! Good luck!