Salesforce is a hot product and has created quite a stir in the technology industry. New customers are signing contracts every single day, and that means that more and more Salesforce Administrators, Developer and Consultants are needed.

Getting your Salesforce career started isn’t difficult, but it may take time. Salesforce has matured enough that companies are looking for experienced individuals with a proven knowledge of the platform and hands-on experience. However, by taking the appropriate steps to learn and network, you can find your Salesforce dream job.

Below are the five steps I think you should take to jump-start your career. I have also included some of the frequent questions I get about starting a career at the bottom of the post.

1. Create a Free Admin Playground Account

Anyone interested in learning Salesforce should create a free #AwesomeAdmin edition account. This provides you access to all of the features and functionality of Salesforce, which allows you to explore and play with the newest features and get hands-on experience with the application.

Admin orgs are 100% free forever, and will remain active as long as you login once every six months. I personally still have and use my original admin org that is now four years old!

With this org, you can do the following.

  • Install AppExchange packages to test them and become familiar with the install process.
  • Build new features and functionality in Salesforce (like custom fields, objects, and workflow rules).
  • Create and execute APEX code (for those who are developers) including Visualforce.
  • Access the Salesforce Success Community, which provides an endless supply of Salesforce documentation produced by Salesforce and the community.
  • and much more.

The Admin account is your portal to learning and playing with Salesforce. It’s easy to setup so take a moment to that before you do anything else.

Click here to create your free admin playground account.

2. Get Your Hands Dirty

Once your admin account is created, it’s time to start playing! There are multiple resources available which I recommend for getting started.

Salesforce Trailhead is an interactive learning tool developed by Salesforce. It’s very similar to Code Academy in that it has modules you’ll work through using your admin org. Along the way, you’ll learn the basics of Salesforce while earning points and badges. It’s phenomenal (and totally free). Take the custom Admin Hero Trailmix specifically designed for this blog post which will help you get started!

Force.com Platform Fundamentals is the “old school” way of learning Salesforce. This large book is very detailed and thorough. It’s still an excellent resource and provides some in-depth content that will get you even deeper into the fundamentals of the application. This PDF version is updated with each of the three Salesforce releases.

If you are interested in the true documentation style training guides, check out this page that links to all of the Force.com books currently available for reference. If you attend Dreamforce, and you prefer printed books, be sure to go to the Developer Zone to get a hard copy of the most recent version.

Salesforce Cheat Sheets are also available. These quick reference guides can be printed and hung in your office. Even as an experienced Administrator, I still reference these on occasion for a quick reminder of how to leverage specific functionality. These too can be found at Dreamforce as a nice printed and laminated hard-copy.

Zero to Hero is a post series right here on Admin Hero that aims to simplify some of the official Salesforce documentation and provide an easy way to learn the basics of Salesforce.

Salesforce’s YouTube channel is also a great resource for those of us who like video learning. Between Salesforce produced topical how-to videos to hour-long Dreamforce session videos, this is an excellent resource.

3. Join a User Group and Network

Networking is one of the single best things I have personally done for my career, and most of the people I have met have been through my local user group.

With over 200 users groups around the world, there is bound to be one in your area. These groups are 100% by the community, for the community. They provide a way to learn new features of the platform, learn how other customers are using Salesforce, and meet local Salesforce talent who can help you find jobs or answer questions you have on a regular basis.

To get the most out of these meetings, you need to overcome any fears you have with networking. Make it a goal to engage in a conversation with at least one person and trade contact information. You’ll find that this will slowly build your network and you’ll perhaps find a mentor or job opportunity.

Click here to find a user group in your area.

4. Leverage Your Social Networks

Social media is a great way to build your network and engage with others in the community. Salesforce users tend to prefer Twitter, but you’ll find Salesforce users sharing information on nearly every social network.

Jump into the conversation. Follow people or topics that are interesting to you. Begin to get on the radar of those in the community. I have learned a lot from users on Twitter and the Success Community. Find a channel that you can quickly engage in and have at it.

5. Volunteer

Once you have a baseline knowledge of Salesforce, it’s time to apply that knowledge to a real-world scenario. If you’re needing to build your resume with projects before getting a full-time job somewhere, volunteering is an excellent way to do that.

Nonprofits all over the world are finding the value of Salesforce and due to limited resource, they are also looking for talented individuals to help set up or maintain their Salesforce orgs on small projects.

There are multiple places to find volunteer opportunities. Check out the Salesforce Foundation or Community Corps for virtual or local pro bono volunteer opportunities.

Now that we’ve covered the steps to get started let me address some common questions.

Do I have the skills to become a Salesforce Administrator?

I get asked this question a lot. Many people are looking to make a career change, and there is concern that they don’t have the experience or background the become a successful Salesforce Administrator.

It’s important to remember that Salesforce is a tool, and any tool can be learned. It’s similar to learning Facebook, or Outlook or how to pay a bill online. To learn Salesforce does not require any particular background. Anyone can learn it.

A Salesforce Administrator is a business process expert. Administrators work closely with business stakeholders to learn and understand issues happening in existing processes or to gather requirements for new processes. The skill to being a Salesforce Administrator comes in knowing how to take those process requirements and implement them successfully in Salesforce.

There are multiple characteristics that successful Salesforce Administrators should possess. You should note that these characteristics are my opinion and not a requirement. But the really good Salesforce Administrators that I’ve met possess these characteristics.

  • Ability to listen and empathize with users. This is a “customer facing” position. Users are your customers. They deserve great customer service. If you have the ability to listen and learn about their problems, issues, and needs, you’ll do great.
  • Exceptional communicator. Communication is critical. Not only are the best administrators great at listening, but they are great at communicating. This role tends to work with individuals at all levels; from the CEO to the end user. Knowing how to communicate effectively with each at each level will bode well.
  • Ability to think outside the box. There is not a set way to do anything in Salesforce. That’s part of the beauty of the tool. That also means that for any one process or set of requirements, there are multiple solutions. You’ll need to think outside the box to ensure that all possibilities are captured and that the needs of the business are being met. This requires creative and critical thinking.

Should I become an Administrator or Developer?

Another common question is, should I become an Administrator or Developer?

This question is hard to answer because everyone is different. But, there is some basic information I can provide that may help you make a decision.

Administrators tend to be more customer-facing. We work with the business directly on a more regular basis. This requires a different skill set as a result. Administrators focus on declarative development (meaning we develop with clicks, not code).

Developers are typically knowledgeable in another coding language or have the ability to learn a coding language. While they do work directly with business users and stakeholders, they tend to operate more in the background; working more closely with the Administrator than the internal customer.

If you are interested in becoming a Developer, it is still recommended that you learn Salesforce as an Administrator. Ideally, you should not create code for something that can be done declaratively with the application. The only way to know what can and can’t be done with the platform using declarative development is to learn it! The best developers will validate this as well.

If you are still unsure of where to go down the track of Admin or Developer track, read this post, Beginner’s Guide to Salesforce Certification, to learn more.

Remember, you can do this! You just need to want it bad enough.

Admin Hero Trailmix

I’ve put together this Jumpstart Your Salesforce Career Trailhead Trailmix just for you! It’s a fun and easy way to get started with your Salesforce learning journey. Sign up for a free Admin Playgroup or Dev Org, and you’re off to the races!

Photo Credit: Oscar Rethwell via Flickr

266 thoughts on “ 5 Steps to Jump-Start Your Salesforce Career ”

  1. Hi Brent,
    I am an iseries developer with 11 years of experience. There is a downward trend for iseries jobs and since a few years I m getting it very difficult to find a stable iseries job.
    So should i jump to Salesforce? What should I go for? And also what things i need to consider before making this change?

    Like

    1. Job transitions are hard, but you can do it! If you have developer experience, evaluate the Developer channels in the Salesforce Community. You’ll probably find a lot to like there! Good luck!

      Like

  2. Hi Brent,

    I am an AS/400 I-series professional of having 10+ years of experience. I have good development and production support experience in AS/400. Since there are no more good job opportunities in AS/400, I want to move to cloud computing. Should I go for Salesforce Admin or Salesforce Dev. I have basic knowledge of core java.

    Like

  3. Brent I have a question. I am almost done with the Trailhead training suggested for the ADM 201 prep and will then start to work on the study guide to prep for exam in August. I have tried to find volunteer work in order to gain some experience for my resume as many sites suggest but they all seem to fall through the cracks for one reason or another. How necessary is it to have experience if I have a ADM 201 cert in reference to finding a job after I am certified? It seems most jobs out there want 3-5 years experience as an Admin.

    Like

    1. Not sure that I know how to answer this question as I haven’t been in the job market in a while. Things have changed since I first got started. If you’re looking to work with a non profit, be sure to mention that you’re willing to work pro bono. While it’s not ideal to do the work without pay, it will provide fantastic experience.

      Like

  4. Hi Brent,
    I have a question regarding difference between Salesforce Admin and Salesforce Project Manager?

    Quite Recently, a friend of mine got an opportunity to work as a PM in a firm that focuses on Salesforce. My friend is from a non technical background, so he doesn’t know what to expect from a PM role in Salesforce.

    He is currently going through the Trailhead for Admin and catching up the concepts. But, just to know what would a PM do that is different from the role of an admin. With whatever I have read, a PM should first be an admin + have skills to handle people and projects.

    If you could explain, what kind of roles a PM would generally be facing, like technicalities he should know, or if he would be just collecting requirements, and delegating it to people to get work done or would he get his hands dirty with some coding?
    If you could explain a few things about the role, it would be of great help.

    Thanks
    Regards
    V

    Like

    1. It really depends on the job description being provided. If the role is a true PM role, technical experience may not be needed. The PM would be in charge of ensuring that the project is on schedule and budget, and that resources are being prioritized to complete the project. But, if the role is also responsible for delivery, then yes, knowledge of the platform is much more important. I hope that helps!

      Like

  5. Hi Brent! Great Blog and article! I am currently a General Manager for a Big box retailer, but with the increased and inevitable store closings and pressure from online companies I am taking a leap into the salesforce realm! I have been doing the trailhead and salesforce platform tutorials for about three months, though I have been intrigued and researching for the last year. I will be taking a 40 hour one week intense course in two weeks…. and then hopefully about a week or two afterwards try for my admin 201 cert. How feasible and realistic is it to get a job immediately after passing my cert? Also, would it be easier for me to go the business / account manager type role first or just go for the traditional admin job? Starting out it’s not so much about the salary as it is the job security and possibilities that come with the training after I’m more able to operate the platform effectively and efficiently. Oh Yeah… I just passed my 40th birthday and so I’m kind guessing now is the time, though with 2 young kids I still feel 25!

    Like

    1. Hi Jimmie! Thanks for the comment. What I’ve been hearing from some folks is that it’s been “difficult” to find a position, even with a certification. However, I don’t know what the circumstances are and what defines difficult for that person. Personally, I’m still being asked to interview for positions on a regular basis. I would say that you’re chances are good in finding a position. Wow the socks off of those that you’re interviewing with and show them that you have a good knowledge of Salesforce, even if it’s relatively new and you’ll be fine! PS – my thought has always been “go big or go home.” Shoot for the big league positions and see what happens! Good luck!

      Like

  6. Hi Brent!
    I am currently a Test lead, I have 9 years of experience in Testing i good knowledge on overall testing process (Except Automation).
    In my current Project i have been working on Salesforce for 3 years with 1 year of experience in Onsite

    I would like to switch my career as Salesforce Consultant\BA

    Can you please suggest me whether i can move as Salesforce Consultant\BA.

    Also please suggest me the necessary training details.

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment! Not really sure how to advise you in your transition except to think about what the transition will mean to you. Why do you want to transition? Will you enjoy the job? These questions should be asked and then, if you decide to make the transition – just go for it! Good luck!

      Like

  7. Hello Brent,

    Wonderful blog….i Had a few queries i was looking answers to –
    Background – I am a QA professional with 10 years of experience working in Automation testing.
    1) Would it be a right descision to take up salesforce as a career switch option at this experience????
    2) What would be the right track for me to start my career i salesforce ?
    3) How could i make my self desirable for recruiters/work as a freelancer?
    4) Which career path pays off better and is promising from long term perspective?
    5) I am working with VB scripting…would my current skills be additional benefits to my recruiters?
    6) Which programming languages do i need to know?

    Like

    1. From my experience, Salesforce is never a bad option to pursue! I would follow the steps outlined in this blog post. Trailhead is a great place to get started. You’ll also find out if you like working with Salesforce by using Trailhead. You don’t need to know a programming language if you’re looking to become an Admin, but if you want to get into development, Salesforce uses a language called Apex which is based on the concepts of Java.

      Like

  8. Hi Brent,

    I do really appreciate your write-up. The issue is that I keep getting request to include my company’s name and address before I can join the success community. What do you suggest that I do?And is the success community different from the the user groups?

    Thanks for your response.

    Like

    1. First, I would suggest using you free Developer account to access the community so that you aren’t tied to your company account should you change jobs. Since you’re then using a developer account, you can enter any company information you want – including FAKE information! The Success Community is the hub for user group activity, so while you don’t need to be on the Success Community to be a part of a user group, you’ll be missing out on a valuable communication tool if you aren’t on the Success Community.

      Like

  9. Salesforce is always a really a very good place to start our career. I work with a few certified Salesforce admins. They typically work on solving process issues for Sales, Support and Management.

    Like

  10. Hi Brent,

    I really appreciate your write up and the suggestions given to each of the posts.

    I am working as a business development manager(core sales) and i am getting a lot of suggestions to get salesforce certification for more better opportunities further. I am a biology student by education, but later got into sales. Could you please suggest me what all positions or roles would i fit into if i get the salesforce certification?? what job roles can i apply for with my sales background, if I do salesforce ?

    Like

  11. Hi Brent,

    I am wireless mobile engineer and I am planning to change my domain. I was searching for different options and I liked Salesforce Developer option.
    I am new to this field. I already opened a developer account and started working on work sheets and other stuff to get familiarity with the platform. now what I am thinking is if I work on real life projects then I will get a better idea about platform as practical knowledge is very much important.
    Could you please suggest me how to proceed with this approach? Any guidance?

    Thanks
    –girija

    Like

  12. Hi Brent,

    I have gone through all your posts.Nice suggestions.I am also looking to start my career in Salesforce.I have already completed course and also signed up in trailhead and earned around 22 badges.Still continuing.I got into non profit organization and volunteering currently.But my question is how to build my resume any sample resumes.

    Thanks.

    Roopa.

    Like

  13. Hi brent
    After my graduation in commerce I completed my salesforce admin 201 training but as a fresher still i did not find any job relating to salesforce so i joined other organizations from commerce field but still searching job for salesforce ,would you please recommend what type of job role should i apply being from commerce background and fresher in salesforce

    Like

  14. Hi,
    I am Sr. Software Engineer(Manual Testing ) having 7 years of experience, and want to start my career in salesforce, I was planning to join the salesforce university and Enroll into “Administration Essentials for New Admins” Course will it help me or not?
    Can you please guide me.

    Like

  15. Hello Brent,

    This was a great read. I am a liberal arts degree holder who fell in love while using it as an end user during university. I have since attained my ADM 201 certification. I regularly use trailhead to practice and stay up to date (I go on there weekly). The issue I have been facing is I can’t seem to get interviews for Salesforce job since getting my certification. Are there particular kind of jobs you recommend I look into? I am in the tri state area. Should I continue piling on certifications? will that help me break in?

    I will look into the groups and volunteer sites as you mentioned. I previously registered to a site for volunteer work but I have had no success.

    any advice you could give would be appreciated.

    Like

    1. Hi David! I would suggest looking for some hands-on experience by volunteering your time with a non-profit or similar organization. Certifications are great at showing your knowledge in Salesforce, but from my experience, certification is not as beneficial without the experience. Good luck!

      Like

  16. Hello Brent,

    i am have two years of experience in Application Support Analyst role.

    Can you let me know in what way ADM 201 certification will be helpful to boost up my career.

    Thanks

    Like

  17. Hi Brent,

    I am a SAP CRM functional Consultant with 3 years of experience. Prior to this I have completed MBA in Marketing. I have seen most of our clients are moving to cloud based CRMs. I am eager to make a career in Salesforce and I am studying for Admin certification. I want to be a Salesforce Functional Consultant. Considering I have no experience in Salesforce, but as I have the CRM domain knowledge, is there a possibility to get a job as a Salesforce consultant. Which certifications do you suggest for a profile like mine.

    Regards,
    Akshay

    Like

  18. Hi Brent,

    Thank you for posting! Perfect timing that I found you blog. I started training for my Adm cert and I’m loving it. What are your thoughts on getting a my first job leveraging prior experience and skills. Background (attorney) and Customer Relations/Supply Chain. My skills are client centric and strategy so this feels like I’m updating my skills to the latest software. Do think prospective employers would see it that way?

    You wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

    Best,
    Marci

    Like

  19. Hi Brent,

    I have been working in the contact center for over 15 years now, I am looking to change my field, I was told by a colleague that Salesforce would be a good option for me, considering the fact that the company I work for may also adopt this new technology. But I would like to know if I can be a good fit to take up the course. Please advise.

    Like

  20. Salesforce is a hot product and has created quite a stir in the technology industry. New customers are signing contracts every single day, and that means that more and more Salesforce Administrators, Developer and Consultants are needed.

    Like

  21. hi Hi Brent, Nice post!

    i have 9yrs of experience in Testing software application, to become SF Admin, should i have to know about any software programming ? what are the other prerequisites.? kindly let us know.

    Like

  22. Hello Brent,

    Thank you for clarifying doubts about Salesforce platform.
    I’ve been working on Salesforce platform for over couple of years and I’ve ADM 201, ADM 301 and DEV 401 and platform 1 certifications,now I am looking for a change , I am looking into the job market but confused with what type of jobs do I need to apply.
    I’ve strong command on all the Salesforce configurations and I can write triggers for any complex requirements using salesforce best practices and good with visualforce pages. However, I’m not really good with html/css/javascript and API’s so what type of jobs I need to apply.

    Like

  23. Hello Brent,

    I am an experienced SAP consultant (Techno / Functional) Project Manager that is looking to transition into Salesforce.
    Two Questions Sir, and I would greatly appreciate if you can please share your wisdom.
    What is the future of the new SF Lightning?
    Also, on a “Project” as a SF Administrator, what are the ‘MUST HAVE’ skills?

    Like

    1. Hi, Ed! Lightning is where Salesforce is focusing the majority of their development. It’s definitely the future of the Salesforce platform. In terms of Salesforce Admin skills, I would say you need to be a bit of a people person, like challenges, can collect feedback and ask probing questions of users, be able to problem solve creatively, and know the ins and outs of the Salesforce platform. You may want to read the “So You Want My Job: Salesforce Administrator” post for more details. https://www.adminhero.com/so-you-want-my-job-salesforce-administrator/

      Like

      1. Thanks Brent. And the article was great.
        Are you planning to do an article related to “What cannot be done with Salesforce?” :). With such an amazing tool (Salesforce), where so much can be done, I think it would help newbies and experienced folks to know what CANNOT be done with Salesforce.

        Like

  24. Hello Brent,
    I am would like to change my career to SFDC,so could you please suggest me how much coding in sfdc and what are the prerequisites to sfdc. and how the sfdc job openings.

    Like

  25. Hi Brent,

    I was working in sales profession from past 5 years. Please suggest me if can take SFDC/Administartion/business analyst jobs now. What should i learn in specific to get into Salesforce Administartion/business analyst . ?? Please send your valuable sufggestions in changing my career now.

    Like

  26. I find that it is very hard to crack in without an IT background or project experience, even with the certs (which I have). Can anyone who has come from a non-IT background provide advice as to what you did exactly. I have had no luck thoust far.

    Like

    1. I do think it’s harder to get into Salesforce today compared to a few years ago as competition has heated up and companies finally have a grasp on what they are looking for. It used to be that you could B.S. your way into a role and the company wouldn’t know any different. Keep at it – something will open up for you!

      Like

  27. I’m so glad to have found this resource! I am currently learning to use NPSP alongside our organization’s IT Consultant. We’ve been so impressed with what we’ve learned so far and know that we’ve barely scratched the surface of what SF will be able to do for our nonprofit. My goal is to become an Admin so that I can help train our affiliates. Thanks for all the helpful info!

    Like

  28. Brunt,

    congratulations!!

    Nice Blog post for any beginner who have great zeal to start career in Salesforce. I recommend Salesforce is best CRM solutions for any business. Every one who is willing to start career as Salesforce consultant should have good qualities that an expert need to possessed.

    Like

  29. Hi Brunt,

    You have written this blog very nicely, i appreciate your work. As we know, Demands of cloud computing professionals are increasing by each passing day. Companies are competing to hire limited numbers of professionals experienced in cloud computing. So, this blog post will be very helpful for those who are seeking to star their career in cloud computing.

    Like

  30. Hi I am experienced Business Analyst and want to make move as a Salesforce Business Analyst but i am new to salesforce. Can someone advice me where to start from and what certification should i do?

    Like

  31. Nice Blog . I am a Salesforce Developer from past 2 months. I recently started my career in Salesforce. I was from Electrical background and I found that everyone can learn Salesforce , you just need to be passionate and hardworking whatever you want to do. Salesforce is a ocean . You can’t quickly learn it , you need to give time in learning salesforce.

    Like

  32. Hi, I have 12 yrs mainframe exp and good in coding etc.. planning to shift my carrier, so please could you suggest salesforce is good to switch( opportunities wise ) , if yes, please suggest the some learning path / guidance for start from Zero.

    Like

  33. Thank Brent for the information! I have a friend who told me about Sales Force. I am a Systems Analyst for the DOD. I want to make the leap to the “Real” world. This platform looks promising. I love big data, I really like how you can take raw data from many different sources, chop it up and present it. Just trying to get my foot in the door of Sales Force. Currently deployed over seas and have a lot of down time….Time to go hiking!!

    Like

  34. Hi…. I have completed BE in IT in 2014. I have no experience in any Organization. Now I want certification in Salesforce developer . Please suggest me.

    Like

  35. Hi Brent,

    This information was helpful. I am working into Automation Software Testing for 12 yrs and am looking for a change in my career as I am not comfortable in Automation coding.
    I have already started my Salesforce admin training and I am looking for a career that would not involve any coding. But I am worried about the salary that I would get and would it be somewhat at par with the salary that i get currently. I draw 16L annually. Or how is the salary structure in the Salesforce domain. Would this a good decision to change the career considering the salary.

    Thanks.

    Like

    1. Rahul, I can only speak for my local market and the Salesforce talent here in the United States, but the salaries here are very competitive. It’s a great space to be involved in. I would encourage you to find some folks in your local community that may be able to answer your question with more context on the job market. Good luck!

      Like

  36. Hi Brent,

    I am working in salesforce technology for the last two years.
    I wanted to pursue non-coding part in my career.
    Could you please guide me which role shall i take in saleforce technology for that?

    Thanks
    Rishabh

    Like

  37. Hi , I want to work as a freelance consultant, i am technical person with more than 10+ years experience in application development, but now i want to work as a independent consultant, please let me know how can i start ?
    Thanks,
    Aarindam

    Like

  38. Hi sir i am working in bpo non voice sector . I need to change my carrier .. More importantly i jst completed 12th std only. If it is posible to getting job in sales force admin? After completed sales force admin courses??

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.