Not gonna lie, I’ve made a few really questionable hires over the years.
I fell into the trap of mediocre interviewing – yes as the person conducting the interview!
I’d put way too much stock in a person’s certifications and I’d ask a lot of the common, mediocre questions, like, What’s the difference between a lookup and master-detail relationship?
The problem with these type of questions is it’s too easy to prepare for them. You end up testing someone’s memorization rather than their critical thinking skills. Just like certifications.
But even though I was a horrible interviewer, I knew I could really tell the quality of someone’s skill once I actually started working together with them on a project.
So that’s how I recommend interviewing people now: build something, together! Make it like an actual brainstorming meeting you’d have with a colleague for that spicy new feature. Example:
You’ll want to find your own open ended scenario that mimics projects in your org. And if you build it right, no one can study for it – a candidate can only draw on their own experience and ingenuity.
As for the questions above, they may or may not be questions I actually ask in the interview 😜
You can become a Salesforce developer this year!
I have witnessed so many people from all sorts of backgrounds become Salesforce developers that I 100% believe that anyone can code. I don’t care what your situation is, you can do this too!
Step 1: Watch this Intro to Apex Dreamforce 2019 session!
Step 2: Learn the basics of Salesforce administration!
There is no scenario where you can become a good Salesforce developer without also being a good Salesforce admin. You must know both to succeed, and preferably, know the admin side first.
Check out my Ultimate Certifications Guide for tips on how to prepare!
Step 3: Take my online Salesforce Developer course!
Each tutorial has homework and extra credit assignments for the overachievers. There’s also a final project that’s based on a common real-world scenario.
Overall the course brings all my best content into one place – I update it often!
Other highly recommended resources:
Step 4: Pass the Platform Developer I certification!
This achievements opens the floodgates for employers to start reaching out to you with job offers. Perhaps just as importantly, it shuts up the impostor syndrome that may have been boiling inside you. See my Ultimate Certifications Guide for my best tips!
Step 5: Promise me you’ll become a Salesforce developer!
Write a comment on this post and hold yourself accountable to the world!
I have nothing but respect to those with the courage to do this step. Trust me, I know your fears!
You can do this – I believe in you!
The other day I was making a bunch of t-shirts and unfortunately the batch was a failure.
That’s OK though! There’s nothing wrong with failing.
A wise person once told me, You either pass, or you learn, and well, I think about that often.
These days, it can be especially tough accepting your failures. And to help you move on, I’ll be giving away FREE T-SHIRTS from my “failed” batch. I hope you wear them with your chins held high!
How to get a free “failed” t-shirt:
I know talking about your failures isn’t easy. So I guess I’ll start with mine:
Phew! A lot of that’s not easy to admit. Hopefully it’ll help other people say theirs too.
Hope you enjoy this!!
P.S. the shirts in this batch are failures because their logos aren’t centered. That’s it!
Preface: this post is part of The Definitive Salesforce Careers Guide series.
For the first time ever, it’s getting harder and harder to find a job as a Salesforce admin.
It’s not because demand for Salesforce is decreasing however. Salesforce is still by far the #1 player. Rather, the supply of Salesforce admins is increasing really, really, quickly.
That said, you can still find a job with 100% success, you just have to be smart about it. Follow these tips and it’ll be hard for companies NOT to hire you. If I had to start all over again, here’s what I’d do:
|Get FIVE Salesforce certifications|
I imagine this feat sounds ridiculous to most newcomers.
Realistically, getting five certifications with zero Salesforce experience is not uncommon. For some people, this step will only take a month. Remember, these tests are conveniently taken online as well.
How else will your resume stand out vs people with experience and certs? You have to out-cert them.
See my Salesforce Certifications Guide for info on which certs to take and how to prepare for them!
|Earn 100 Trailhead badges and 3 super badges|
Certifications will give you depth, and Trailhead will give you breadth of knowledge.
Make sure to put your Trailhead Ranger (100 badges) status on your resume. This signals to employers that you’re serious about learning Salesforce and you’ve put in the time to prove it.
|Join two Salesforce user groups|
The Salesforce community is a special phenomena. People really like helping each other here!
Getting involved will multiply your success in the Salesforce world. It’s almost unheard of to be a strong Salesforce professional without somehow being involved in the community.
There is such a strong correlation here that I ask every interview candidate how much they’re involved in the Salesforce community. It’s a big red flag if they don’t go to user groups.
Plus, Salesforce recruiters love to hang out at user groups. I’ve gotten a job at one myself!
Find two users groups out of the hundreds of in-person or virtual groups around you!
|Build your own business using Salesforce|
This is required step. It separates the serious people from those just going through the motions.
Build a business in Salesforce – any business. It doesn’t have to involve money. You just need to think like a CEO and build a Salesforce org from scratch using your own creativity.
Example: got a bunch of old stuff lying around? Build a free Salesforce org to track your efforts selling them. You can use Opportunities to track the status, sale date, and price of each item.
Another example: track all your job applications using Salesforce. Use Accounts for each company, and Opportunities for each application. Heck, do whatever is interesting to you!
Put the org login on your resume and show off your reports on your phone during interviews.
This step is absolutely required as it fills the Salesforce experience gap on your resume.
P.S. a volunteer Salesforce position is another great way to get experience – if you can find one!
|Optional: Learn to code!|
While the Salesforce admin job market is squeezing, the developer market is as hot as ever!
I firmly believe that anyone can code – especially in the Salesforce industry. So many people from so many different backgrounds have succeeded. Plus, learning to code is easier than it has ever been!
You don’t even need to be a good developer. Or a full-time developer. A hybrid admin / developer is extremely popular – especially for the smaller businesses that are more likely to hire newcomers.
All your hard work to get in this industry will be well worth it – especially to your wallet!
And for more Salesforce career tips, check out my Salesforce Careers Guide!
Preface: This is part of the Technical Architect series.
It’s true – architects represent the pinnacle of Salesforce knowledge and they are likely the highest paid people in the room… but what does an architect actually do all day?
I’ve learned a lot about this path as I transitioned from a developer to an architect at Google and failed the Technical Architect Review Board. I thought I’d share some of my learnings!
|Architects are the technical leads of a Salesforce org|
This really goes without saying. What’s less obvious though is that if you have a bad Salesforce org, the architect is really the person to blame – that’s the level of responsibility put on the architect!
Is your Salesforce org too slow? Does the data model meet your reporting needs? How about security? Is the org over-engineered? Is the UI intuitive? Are there a lot of bugs?
An architect’s job is to make sure the right tools and processes are in place to prevent these issues!
|Architects are NOT people managers|
People and technology are two very different things. One person can’t manage both effectively.
In fact, the two positions are somewhat opposites. People choose the architect career path specifically to stay close to the technology and avoid managing people.
But that doesn’t mean architects can avoid people altogether. People skills are a critical skill for an architect – you must be able to influence people without directly managing them!
|Architects design solutions, but they don’t actually build them|
Someone who both designs and implements a solution is a developer. Architects are different because they mostly just focus on the design.
An architect’s design includes diagrams such as:
It might seem strange to have someone focus just on design and not actually on building things. As you may know, the devil is in the details. But in order to scale you must let go!
|Architects work on BIG Salesforce implementations|
Architects are masters of scale. The smaller the Salesforce org, the less it needs an architect.
If you were the CEO of a company and you could only hire one person to build your Salesforce org, you wouldn’t want to hire an architect. An architect’s specialty is designing, not building.
But if your company is massive and you have teams of people implementing Salesforce, an architect is your best friend! They’d make sure everyone is building according to grand design.
Practically speaking, if your org doesn’t have thousands of users, objects with millions of records, or highly sensitive business functions/integrations, you might not need an architect.
|Architects must be good presenters|
A huge part of your job is getting people to buy in to your technical vision.
You must present effectively to people with different backgrounds and objectives. Executives, business stakeholders, and technical teams are all interested in different things.
Presenting is such an important skill for architects that it’s the final test on your CTA journey!
|Architects are great developers|
90% of Certified Technical Architects I’ve met have development backgrounds.
While expert coding skills are not strictly necessary to be an architect, it’s a MASSIVE advantage as it opens up the doors to work on very complex scenarios. And if you’re going to be the technical lead of teams of developers, you should at least be able to speak their language.
|Architects are often the red tape in an org|
Imagine a Salesforce org where everyone has System Administrator permissions in production.
Someone may innocently create a new field. Then someone else might want to install that cool new AppExchange app they heard about. Oops! The intern accidentally deleted all your permission sets!
This simply will not scale. The more admins and developers you have, the more controls need to be in place so things don’t accidentally break. It is the architect’s job to enforce these rules!
|Salesforce is just one piece of an architect’s knowledge|
One can’t only know Salesforce and expect to become an architect!
In bigger companies, Salesforce is a small piece of the ecosystem. Architects must know:
|Most architects work at consulting firms or Fortune 500 companies|
Big Salesforce implementations almost always use consulting partners. If not, they likely have big Fortune 500 resources to spend on a big internal Salesforce team. Architect’s are all about big!
Do architect positions exist outside of these two categories? Definitely! There are always smaller shops that have surprisingly interesting Salesforce orgs. It’s just more rare.
Plus, any company can slap an “Architect” title on a job position =)
I hope this gives you a better picture of the Salesforce Technical Architect career!
If it sounds scary to you, that’s normal. It all sounds scary to me too. No one said it’d be easy!
But you can certainly bet it’s all worth it. Mastery is something we all strive for in the things we care about. The money and the fancy title don’t hurt either!
P.S. if you’re still wondering which Salesforce career path is right for you, check this out:
Salesforce Career Personality Quiz!
Was Dreamforce 2019 the best Dreamforce ever?!
Yes, yes it was! But it was so different than the Dreamforces of the past.
Over the years we’ve been spoiled by career-changing announcements such as Chatter, Salesforce1, Lightning, and Einstein. But this year there really was no big announcement. For the first time ever, post Dreamforce, I don’t feel an urge to try out that next great feature.
…But then how is 2019 the best Dreamforce ever?!
The short answer is Salesforce doesn’t need a career-changing feature every Dreamforce anymore. Just like how Apple no longer needs to blow our minds each keynote to stay in our hearts.
The totality of Salesforce’s innovation has brought us to a point where the industry is bigger than anyone could have predicted, and we lucky to be witnessing greatness.
Here are the top 10 things you need to know from this year’s Dreamforce:
1. Customer 360 Truth is here
Ask any Salesforce employee and they’ll say Customer 360 Truth is the big announcement of 2019.
Customer 360 Truth is that one, singular view where you can see everything you ever wanted to know about a customer… but wasn’t this announced at Dreamforce 2018?
As a customer who only uses four Salesforce clouds versus the 22 shown in the demo – I really have a hard time seeing what 360 does versus the regular Salesforce 18 digit ID!
Gotta buy more Salesforce products I guess!
2. The true BIG moment of Dreamforce: Keynote Protestors!
Mr. Benioff is suddenly thrown into one of the pivotal moments of his career. Millions of people are watching in a state of shock, wondering what he’ll do. A wrong move could cripple the Ohana forever.
Without missing a beat and in the name of free speech, Marc gives the protestor 30 seconds to speak his mind to the audience. A countdown timer appears on the screen.
It was a surreal moment that I’m still thinking about today.
In case you’re wondering, the protestor was speaking out against Salesforce’s contract with the CBP.
3. Tableau hits the Keynote stage!
Wondering what Salesforce’s massive $16 billion acquisition of Tableau means for the industry?
Well, the Dreamforce Keynote probably opened up more questions here than they answered.
Is Tableau going to replace Einstein Analytics? Is Salesforce going to sell two competing products in the same space? Are the products going to merge? These questions went unanswered!
4. Einstein Voice – create custom skills
Now we can make our own Einstein voice commands – no code required. For example, create a custom voice command for sales reps that’ll tell them if they’re on track to hit their quota.
While I believe that it’ll be a few years before Einstein Voice is well adopted (just like in our personal lives), tech like this makes me wonder how other companies can possibly compete with Salesforce!
5. Developer Keynote – Evergreen functions are here!
The big developer announcement this year was Salesforce Evergreen.
Evergreen makes it easy to hook into Salesforce events when using non-Salesforce technologies. Your Node.js app, for example, can quickly be triggered by a Salesforce Platform Event.
The Evergreen announcement mentions non-Salesforce technologies no less than 15 times. It’s time to embrace the fact that you need to know more than just Apex and Lightning long-term.
Not gonna lie, I watched every minute of the Developer Keynote and I still don’t fully understand what Evergreen is. This seems to be the new normal for most Dreamforce keynotes!
6. The REAL Developer Keynote hero – Lightning sandboxes!
Finally, an announcement that I understand!!
Lightning Full Sandboxes are here, and despite my best Googling, little has been published online.
Here’s what we know:
So when would we use Lightning Full sandboxes versus regular Full sandboxes? Great question!
7. Mulesoft is the future of integration
When Salesforce acquired Mulesoft in 2018, I thought it was cute. What a convenient little tool it was for making any integration easy. I expected it to sit quietly in the back seat of the car.
Suddenly it’s starting to make sense to me. Salesforce is just a small part of the equation these days. No longer do you have Salesforce sitting alone in your company. It needs to talk to everything. Pretty much every keynote announcement reinforces this. Salesforce is now part of the enterprise.
Plus, every solution on the Certified Technical Architect Review Board uses Mulesoft. Invest!
8. At least two new Architect certifications!
I kid you not, every single person I talked to at Dreamforce wants to be a CTA one day. This is a far cry from just a few years ago when no one knew what a Technical Architect was.
The Architect path has come so far. Kudos to the Salesforce team and for community gems such as Ladies Be Architects for blazing this journey for us.
And now the Architect journey takes its next step forward. Beyond the CTA, we have at least two new certifications. Check out the Partner Keynote at 36 minutes for more info!
9. The best part of Dreamforce is the community
Community driven events are the real can’t-miss sessions of Dreamforce.
If you miss a keynote, or even your favorite session, you can always catch it later online. Miss a community event and you missed your chance forever.
Most of my favorite moments this Dreamforce were from community events led by WIT Developers, Ladies Be Architects, Salesforce Saturday, and RAD Women Code. There’s nothing quite like unwinding with ultra nerds like you after a busy day at Dreamforce.
Pro tip: at Dreamforce, make sure to attend at least one community driven event a day!
10. Free swag is dead at Dreamforce.
The days of coming home from Dreamforce with 50+ t-shirts are over.
This year, Salesforce didn’t give out a single official t-shirt. Not even if you finished any of the event quests. I was so desperate I ended up buying one from the store.
The expo was no better. Among the hundreds of booths, you were lucky if you got 5 shirts.
If you didn’t get a free t-shirt from me, don’t worry, I’ll have a global contest coming this year!
Hope to see y’all at Dreamforce next year!
P.S CONGRATS to Lauren Zolp for winning the Golden Hoodie this year!! Lauren is a former Air Force linguist who found herself unemployed. In six months (with a newborn baby!), she learned to code, passed the Platform Developer I certification, and got a job as a Salesforce Developer. Incredible!
So much good news!!
First of all, I’ve updated the Apex Academy with the latest developments in our industry! Sweet!
Next, the Apex Academy is FREE from now until Sunday November 24th!
I really just want to make it as easy as possible for you to learn to code. Gonna continue to update and add content so you’re never wondering if you can really do this or not!
BTW, I continue to offer scholarships to veterans, their family members, and anyone else in financial need. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
Have a great weekend!
It’s my favorite time of year folks!!
Dreamforce is here. A time for inspiration, learning, and meeting friends.
…But really most importantly, it’s a time for swag.
How to get a limited edition SFDC99 shirt:
Step 1: Find me in person at Dreamforce.
(If you want to learn to code, my session would be a good place to find me!)
Step 2: Tell me what word is highlighted in blue in this puzzle!
1. Salesforce ultimate mastery
3. The new elephant Trailhead character
1. Raccoon costumed Trailhead character
2. CEO and Co-Founder of Salesforce
4. Salesforce’s Aritifical Intelligence product
5. Dreamforce 2018 band
I’ll have t-shirts in every size in both men’s and women’s fits =)
Good luck everyone and happy Dreamforce!
P.S. for those of you NOT attending Dreamforce, don’t worry I’m having another special t-shirt giveaway soon that’s open to everyone around the world!
It has been a while since I gave a real session at Dreamforce!! Let’s do this!!
Check out my session if you have absolutely any interest in:
Of course, I’m going to give out a bunch of special SFDC99 Golden T-Shirts after the session too! It’s my only session and it’ll be the best way to find me!
Dreamforce sessions fill up quickly, so make sure to enroll in my session to guarantee a seat!
David’s note: Clay, you’ve worked so hard and proven to the world that certifications are the BEST way to quickly increase your salary! Thank you for teaching the world this formula and inspiring others to take charge of their careers!
It all started back in 2013, when I got a job at a solar company, working with their inside sales team as a business analyst. They used Salesforce to manage their potential customers and so forth, and though I had only briefly used Salesforce at another job before then, it was the first opportunity I had to really get acquainted with it. Over the next year and a half, my life had progressed through some major milestones; I got married, my wife and I bought a house, and we were now just a few months away from expecting our first baby, and then one day my boss invited me into his office to give me the news. Since our company had been merged into another (bigger company) some months earlier, my position was being dissolved and I was losing my job. I was devastated. How was I going to provide for my new family and afford to keep the house we had just bought?
Based on what I had learned about Salesforce during my time there, and what I had discovered about the job and career opportunities within the ecosystem after having been canned, I decided to make a decisive career move and become a Salesforce admin. I started looking for jobs in my market and spent some time going through Trailhead and following along with the exercises in my Developer Edition org.
I came across a Salesforce admin job at a local (much smaller) solar company, which also happened to be based pretty close to where I lived – it seemed to be the perfect fit for me. It was close enough that I decided I would just stop by and introduce myself in person, rather than simply applying online like most people would, hoping that would increase my chances of getting an interview. I found the office (it was a bit hidden), but there wasn’t anyone available at the time to speak to me, so I left my contact info and hoped to hear back from them. The hiring manager let me know later that day that they had just recently filled the position, but that they would keep me in mind in case any other opportunities came up. I was bummed to say the least.
A few months later, and still only semi-employed (I was working side jobs but my income was less than stable), I received a call from the hiring manager at the local solar company and they had a position they wanted to talk to me about. I agreed to meet, and was then offered a position as a junior Salesforce admin! I was so excited I could barely contain myself. Over the next few months, I did the best work I could and learned as much as possible about the platform, and then this company did the same thing to our senior admin that was done to me earlier that year – they laid him off, and gave me the reigns.
I was the sole Salesforce admin/ developer for the company for the next year and a half, and during that time gained invaluable experience. During that time, I also achieved my first two Salesforce certifications, Admin and App Builder, and eventually got to thinking I might be a bit underpaid for all of the growth I had achieved. By this time, I had also set my sights further on the Salesforce horizon, thinking I might like to learn the development (coding) side of the platform, and maybe even go on to someday become an architect!
I began to dip my toes in the job market and see what was available, and to my pleasant surprise, found that Salesforce professionals were indeed in high demand and my knowledge/ skills/ experience were worth a lot more than what I was being paid. After going through several interviews with a handful of recruiters, I was faced with not one but two job offers! Both were offering at least 50% more than I was currently making, which was obviously amazing, and actually one was about $5,000 more than the other, yet it was still a tough decision to choose which offer I should accept. The higher offer was with a large enterprise with multiple orgs, which would have been a great opportunity to expand my capabilities as an admin, but I felt like I might have a harder time progressing much beyond the role of admin with them. The other offer was with a local Salesforce consulting Partner, and while the pay was slightly less, I felt that the experience I could gain as a consultant would accelerate my growth and open more doors in the long run. I ended up opting to go with the latter.
It was with this partner that my path became clear. I came to really enjoy the aspects of discovering our clients’ needs and designing solutions. It was there that I set my goal of achieving the top of the Salesforce pyramid, the title of Certified Technical Architect. It would be a long journey, to be sure, but it would be a great journey and worth all the effort. However, you don’t just climb a mountain or run a marathon without some training first. I continued to utilize Trailhead and soon became a Ranger, and then cemented my foundation with a few more certs: Advanced Admin, Service Cloud Consultant, Sales Cloud Consultant, and Community Cloud Consultant. I also made use of the excellent Apex Academy on Pluralsight (by none other than David Liu!), and earned my Platform Developer 1 certification as well!
By about this time, I had been contacted by a job recruiter with another offer that I couldn’t refuse. It was with another Salesforce consulting Partner, the raise was as big as the last raise I got (putting my salary at about double what it was a year prior, and triple what it was back in 2013!), and the benefits were to die for; I’d be working remotely from home, my health insurance for my entire family would be fully paid for, plus 401k match, paid vacation and paternity leave, you name it. It’s just about everything I would want in a job, and the people have been great. Since joining this partner, I’ve also gone on to earn the Sharing and Visibility Designer, and Data Architecture and Management Designer, making me a Salesforce Certified Application Architect, and from there, Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer, Identity and Access Management Designer, and Integrations Designer, finally making me a Salesforce Certified System Architect!
I know I still have a ways to go in terms of knowledge, certifications, and experience before I’m ready to tackle the prestigious Certified Technical Architect, but I can’t express how grateful I am to God, and to all of the people who have helped me come this far along my journey. The Salesforce platform is a great ecosystem to build a career on and has been an amazing blessing to my family and my life. Thanks David for sharing your story of progress and being an inspiration to me and many others.
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