Editor’s note: Make sure to check out the latest version of this guide!
My goal is to help you learn how to code in Salesforce as quickly as possible!
This is a 4-step program:
Step 1: Read sfdc99.com.
Start here and don’t forget to write comments with your feedback!
Step 2: Buy Head First Java.
I strongly recommend this book because:
Step 3: Check out Trailhead, Salesforce’s new, official training tutorials!
Trailhead is an interactive training module full of videos, code snippets, challenges… and it integrates with your own personal developer org!
Step 4: Write some actual code in Salesforce.
Try to think of some simple, silly triggers you can write. If none come to mind, do the Sfdc99 quizzes!
(Optional) Take an intermediate-level coding class.
If you find you’re really enjoying coding and maybe want to do it full-time, invest in your fundamentals! Check out your local community college for courses.
I do NOT recommend:
I was tricked into buying the Development with the Force.com Platform book because there was no other book on the market for Apex. The small number of reviews looked decent but in reality, there were very few chapters dedicated to actual programming and they were not catered towards beginners at all. To make things worse, most of the material in the book is outdated and no longer relevant. I spent a weekend trying to get any value from this book but eventually ditched it. Save your time and money and use it elsewhere.
Excellent websiteexcellent work
I’m trying to learn some java before I start learning Apex; could you recommend what I should focus on and how far I should go with my java studies before I start understanding Apex?
Hey Davis, Thanks for providing these amazing tips for learning sales force, I am a beginner in the domain and eager to learn this technology to a top level. Keep sharing such amazing tips and keep helping beginners like me.
3 years back i completed my degree… Now i want to learn salesforce…But I am poor in languages like C, C+ Java…could you please guide me… How to learn easily and how to get the job quickly…..
Hi I’m commerce student and I want to learn salesforce am I eligible for this ?
Hi I’m working in tech support, I want to learn Salesforce development. Could any one guide me from where to start ? Admin , apex , vf or admin vf , apex?
Best way to learn salesforce first learn Admin..Admin topics is connected to Apex and visualforce as well as lightning..if u need more clarification just mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tech support y u not interested.
Salesforce developer is fully based on cloud technology.one should have good knowledge on coding like Java ,c#
Also database SQL.
Learn some basic concept ,and first start learning coding part in Salesforce.
Your insights are really worth following. I am from a testing ground through and through for 10 years. Now I want to learn Sales force and move into Sales force testing.
Can you please recommend which certification/s are valid for me to jump into this field.
Also, is learning Java in depth is mandatory ?
Check this out for certs info:
No need to learn Java these days, plenty of Apex resources out there!
Thanks David for the information. I have completed the Trailhead training for Admin Certificate. I am planning to take it by Oct end. Will keep you posted.
How long did it take you to complete the trainings in trailhead? Is that enough to prepare for the exam? I’m planning to do the same but I do not currently work in an admin role, so I’m just looking for more information
Hey Davis, Thanks for providing these amazing tips for learning sales force, I am a beginner in the domain and eager to learn this technology to a top level. Keep sharing such amazing tips and keep helping beginners like me.
I am a project manager with 16+ years IT experience, having worked on niche technologies and basic Java knowledge.
Do you think learning salesforce at this stage will be helpful for my career ?
If yes, how do I go about it so that I can start managing salesforce projects later on ?
Good Day, i am working as a Project Manager for Salesforce projects for a year now and have completed Admin beginner and Intermediate module from Trailhead.
I have no knowledge of Coding and donot find myself that i can learn it easily. Could you please guide what all i can do in Salesforce if i dont want to go into coding. I am preparing myself for Business Analyst role but not sure what is te right approach,
You probably should read my latest post!
Hi Davis. Am project manager in SFDC. Eventhough am functional background, to excell further i want learn coding aswell so that i can increase my opportunity in the arket. till date i never done coding but now i want learn. suggest me a potential path. thanks in advance. wazeed
I believe this post tells you everything you need to know!
I want to make a carrier in salesforce. I have some knowledge about JAVA && PHP because i am a cs student.
so please suggest me what should i do and tell me some resource to leran salesforce
My whole site!! =) Are there questions you have that are unanswered?
hello bro !
do salesforce developer have to code all day as android and java developers vigorously ??
i hate coding if i have to do it for more than 6 hours every working day ……. i was an android developer earlier for 7 months , i love coding but doing it for more than 6 hours every working day sucks man …….. should i go for salesforces ???
early waiting for an answer big bro !!
hooooooooo!.. one day i ll meet you..
I hope we do too!
why DML is not allowed in constructor?
Here you go:
I would like to hear how would you describe or answer to a question “What salesforce is all about” to a person who is not heard of the term salesforce. Awaiting eagerly for your response
One giant playground!
David, quick question. I purchased Beginning Programming with Java For Dummies and I actually like it much better than Head First. I actually am almost to page 100 and just got it on Saturday and I couldn’t get past page 50 with Head First. Anything I could be missing from reading one over the other? I noticed Head First is a longer read, but maybe thats because it has more quizzes and such.
Different strokes for different folks =)
Really any book will teach you what you need to know. There’s nothing glaring missing from any programming book otherwise they probably wouldn’t be published. Plus, no matter what book you read you’re going to have to compliment it with some tutorials online.
I never read the Dummies version but it’s a big enough brand that you have nothing to worry about =)
Pingback: Oakley Sports
I just want to say big thanks to u for running this page, it is really awesome stuff available here and your great guidance means a lot to all of us and don’t stop ur postings and your knowledge sharing which helps to motivate us.. Cheers. :)
I am Ajay. I am belong to Mechanical branch and I have no idea in any Programming like C/C++/Java . I want to be a Salesforce developer for what can I do
I have little knowledge about HTML/CSS
and Which type of Software I can Develop like
The world is your oyster! All you need to get started is on this page!
I come from Testing background. I would like to shift to salesforce.
As i don’t have any knowledge on coding side.
As you have mentioned Apex is 90% of Java. I don’t come from a java background.
Would be possible for me to adapt the new stream ?
Anyone can code!
i want to do salesforce training course but i am belongs to electronics branch and i have no idea in any programming language like java or oops .i want to be a salesforce developer for that what can i do ?
All you gotta do is follow the steps on this page! =)
A quick question for you. Should I bother writing each and every code piece from Head First Java while I go through it? Is understanding the concepts enough for now? If I start writing all code, I cannot possibly finish 10 pages a day (especially after the first 100 pages when that Simple dot com game thing appears).
What was your approach (related to practicing code) when going through that book?
Good enough question to answer in a mailbag!!
Hi David Liu,
Which book Should i order in An Amazon. in that site i found 3 books
I am really thankful to you for such a amazing website to get started with Salesforce and become a developer. However may be I am not able understand the programming concepts, so I am not able to move forward further to become expert on coding. If I start writing the code and if I get stuck then I can not proceed further. I really want to become good developer, whenever I see experts doing magics I really feel that I wanted to become like that. For some reason I am getting demotivated just because I don’t have programming background as I came from e-learning background.
Whenever I step into SFDC99, I feel motivated and then gradually by seeing the code I get scared and get out of that.
Today finally I bought two books, Advance Apex programming and Head First Java. Couple of months ago I had started reading Head First Java book and it was inspiring to learn java, however I got stuck from page number 100 and then stopped reading. At that time I thought I can not learn any programming language.
I know basics of OOP concepts but not advance concepts, that is where I am struggling.
I really need your motivational words get started……..:(……:) and if you would give me homework..:) what I need to do, so I will prepare a every day plan accordingly.
I am keeping a target of 3 months to become a good developer. I am already working on salesforce since 7 months, but still not confident of writing a trigger as I don’t have scope to write a code here and I am leading a team.
Thank you so much for your valuable efforts and it is very helpful.
You need to slow down and think big picture! Think about what’s most important in your life.
Remember, learning to code has nothing to do with how smart you are. It’s all about perseverance and commitment. The struggles you’re going through are things every single student has encountered many, many times along the way. I still go through the same phases when learning coding concepts!
What I often tell myself is this: what’s scarier, trying my hardest and failing, or giving it 60% effort and failing? Ask yourself the same question and you’ll know what to do next!
Thanks for your inspiring words David.
Yes, I will do it and I am confident that I can become a good developer.
You go Ajay!
Hi David, I am a finance professional with knowledge of SAP FI, Oracle Finance, JDE as an end user and little bit more in SAP FI. I am planing to learn salesforce development and I do not know programming or languages. What do you suggest, what should I learn before I start salesforce?
No need to learn anything first – jump right in to Salesforce!
what are the java concepts required to learn sales force?
Basic syntax and objects =)
Hi I want to learn Salse Force,Is relay Java is required and also kindly suggest me which version is good.
Java helps a lot, it was critical for me while learning! It’s a very well documented language whereas Apex is not. And the good news is they’re bith similar languages. =)
I have a pretty old version of Head First Java (2nd edition, covers up to Java 5.0), would it be relevant because it is about the basic Java concepts?
I just realized that the link you had was for the 2nd version! :-)
^_^ you have great taste in books!
Please point me in the right direction to access all the sample codes thats been used on the video tutorials. I would like to practice them and I am not able to find it on this site, do I have to get it from the sfdc99 org?
Here you go =)
I have 8 years experience in SQA process consultanting and presales.I want to move into delivery and willing to learn Salesforce development.I dont have any coding experience prior.Let me know is salesforce good option to opt as future career path.
Check out this post:
What are the important topics which salesforce developer have must to do.
i am a student trying to learn salesforce as the free user.i have NO idea how to write a trigger to generate auto sms to a client’s moblile everytime a new lead is created.Is it even possible?if yes, how and if no, why?
It’s possible but you’ll likely have to use an API to do so – check out Twilio as I know others have used that before!
OR – there are definitely apps on the AppExchange that can do this!
Basically you can’t do it completely out of the box since Salesforce doesn’t have any SMS tools, so you’ll need to use services from another company.
is it necessary to learn JAVA before I start if sfdc as I am a complete beginner.
Since I have some .NET knowledge, will that be of some use or I have to learn JAVA from scratch.
If you have an OO background you’ll have no sweat without Java. Java is mainly for people who haven’t coded yet in a language. But you’ll pick up Apex quickly from .NET!
Hi, I have a mainframe development experience of 10 yrs. I want to be competetive in the market, so want to learn salesforce, could ypu please let me know how good is that learning sales force having mainframe experience, will companies consider for salesforce job in present market?
Mainframe experience won’t apply to your Salesforce job at all, so focus on learning Salesforce really well!
I’m a fresher engineer and I have heard this field is great to start your carrier with.
Where shall I start from and what is the future scope of this.
I have knowledge of c,c++, visual c# only
The future is bright and you can learn quick =) Join the rising tide while you can!
I am mainframe developer, recently i got opportunity to switch to salesforce. I have not done any other coding other then COBOL. DO you think it will be easier to switch to salesforce
Yes! Check this post out!
Hope you are doing well.
It is indeed great motivation following the wonderful initiative called SDFC99.com.
I am currently working as a Business Development Manager for SAP Practice across North America. I have an experience for 8 years now in Sales & Marketing currently working on a Staff Augmentation for various Partners. The reason why i am mentioning this is because i have recently started Sales force Technology and it would amazing to me as i have now nice 6 to 8 months of experience using Sales force CRM.
I have now made my vision to move towards Sales force where i would be starting from Scratch as a Admin > Developer > Solution Architect where i want to see my self running an IT Company to sell sales force solution.
Can you please drive me through as how should i start getting training on sales force for fresher and later evolve to next stages.
Look forward to your reply. Thanks,
Start to finish, baby!
Was a lackluster C++/Unix Programmer for a decade now..Coding wasnt something I enjoyed all these days but I kept my job,though. I seem to be pretty good at every other aspect except coding and could never come to terms with writing 1000s of lines of code on vi editor.
Anyways coming to now,quit the job..did some brainstorming and exactly 3 weeks back decided to go salesforce route. Gave my 401 test today evening and passed.After I came home I promised myself I wouldnt waste my effort I put in for 2 weeks and keep myself motivated to get a break in sfdc..and lady luck,I stumbled across your site.. Never felt so thrilled in my adult like..Not the kind who would ever post something on any forums/sites but just wanted to reply here to show my gratitude for this site
I have just got the head first java ebook 5 mins back and my clock starts now..I am doing 10 pages today and starting tomorrow will spend more time on this site
Wanted to ask you something – may be I will know better once I go through your site – this seems to be geared up towards a 3 month schedule..I have been off work for half-year now and can use some quick rampup
What do you suggest? More classes and more pages?
Appreciate if you can chime in with what you feel
Today is Day 1 – Wish me all the best !!
Vijai – I have a lot of hope and pride for people like you because your message hits me at the core! I sincerely wish you the best during your ramp up time and I believe in your drive!
You can totally ramp up quicker than three months using this schedule, especially since you already have a coding background. My advice to you is to code, code, and code – do every quiz available on this site!
After 3 chapters try to do this one:
More quizzes coming soon – best of luck buddy!
Thats an awesome quick response from you!
Appreciate your kind words and I hope I wont let you & me down..Been used to the latter but added you to act as a motivation for me :)
Good luck with everything you do – You are a great man.
Hi David , you mentioned a book for advance apex [http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Apex-Programming-Salesforce-com-Force-com-ebook/dp/B009MSSC92/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1406133633&sr=8-2&keywords=advanced+apex+programming] , it seems really costly in Indian Rs.
Any alternative where i can get this book , I really want to read it from past one month I trying to get hands on it through asking people or buy getting any coupon that might reduce the price but Iam unable to do so till now
Think of the book as an investment – studying it will make you much more money than its cost!
Or find a few buddies of yours and split the cost – it’s worth it!
There two head first java books in the market, One is you brain on java and A brain friendly java with two cost variation So help me out to choose one.
Thank you David,
You site is very useful and inspiring people to words lean the code who are fearing about the code.
hahaha the one I linked will do the trick!
Firstly I should appreciate for the information you are sharing related to sales force. Coming to myself I have been working as a middle ware (SAP) consultant and would like to upgrade myself in cloud integration. I got suggestions from some of my friends to get into Sales force.
Here are the things I need to get clarified :
1. Sales force a) Developer b) Admin
What are the best sites or books you recommend for learning Developer & Admin as a Beginner.
2. What level of coding is required ?
3. OOPS concepts what books you recommend for the same.
4. certifications: What certifications we need to clear for a better profile?
5. Do we require both developer/admin for the current jobs?
Imp: what concepts we need to work more in SF developer
web seminars : Are there any free web seminars as of now Aug 2014, Is there any free platform for practicing SF developer.
Thanks in advance
hahaha this page has all you need to know!
Get certified ASAP!
I m new to Salesforce … And your website is Great and the thing is I see only triggers in your website ….. Is that mean only Triggers in Apex …. I m asking this bcoz I dont know the answer Don’t take it as wrong…
There’s two basic parts to coding in Salesforce:
1. Triggers – this is the core of Salesforce code
2. Visualforce – this is how to make UI in Salesforce
The next book to read on apex programming after the others mentioned: http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Apex-Programming-Salesforce-com-Force-com-ebook/dp/B009MSSC92/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1406133633&sr=8-2&keywords=advanced+apex+programming
This book is easier to understand if you’ve already done a little bit of apex programming. Also good if you have programming experience just not with apex. It drills into your head the importance of bulkifying apex code which if you’ve already done some work with apex you know how important this is.
Dan is one of my mentors – I’ve learned a TON from him and highly recommend this book! I even reference it on multiple pages on this site too!
Hi David, I am due to start a course in java programming.(I want to use this to understand apex better) I was finding it hard to get to grips with the basic syntax of apex via this site. Don’t get me wrong, I am able to write simple triggers now and this is by far the best site out there for learning apex but I think if i had my diploma in java and the basic understanding of the syntax, it would greatly improve my chances of having a better understanding of Apex.
I have tried to learn apex directly but I am finding it hard with no programming skills.
Do you think the java course would help?
Thanks David for all your help.
Yes! I highly recommend learning Java! This book will help you out too!
Hi, I am new to salesforce.com and i want to know what is the best book for Salesforce developer(For bedinners)
This is all you need!
Wow great website for Salesforce Developers.
Very Nice and effective content. Pretty useful. Its better to start learning and have hands on operation. This link will be very useful for freshers to know more about salesforce http://www.salesforcetraining.in/
Best of luck with your training program Raja!
I have gone through your material and completed the free course you recommended with Udacity (great resource!). I also “attended” your last two webinars (and will join in again next week). I purchased Head First Java – although I don’t know how to set up the SDK, get the appropriate API documentation, or “add an entry to your path environment variable that points the /bin directory.”
My questions may be silly, but I’m going to ask them anyways:
1. Do the apps you build in Salesforce allow other people to use them or only Salesforce users with logins? Like a google form – you can send the form or the url of the form to anyone. The Udacity course did some with the Festival App, but I’m trying to get a clearer picture of what else can be done with Salesforce apps.
2. How do you know when you need to create an app vs a class vs an object? For example, to create a form (like a google form) with videos, images, and questions on it – assuming it could be available to non-Salesforce users (no account or login needed). What would be the first steps to making something like that? Would the form be an app, a class, an object with fields, or something else? I was able to do this with a Visualforce page, but I am wondering if that is the only way.
Thanks for joining the webinars!
You can write code on Salesforce that is accessible to people who don’t have a login. I have only dabbled in this but I believe the feature is called public sites or something like that =) Certainly possible and I know there are more avenues than that too!
The best way to tell when to make an object is to understand how you’d like to report on things. Sounds like your form needs to be at least one object! Apps are just a collection of tabs, and most of the time it doesn’t really matter anyway since anyone can customize their tabs. Classes are simply a way to organize your code!
Thanks for your quick reply!!
It’s great to know I’m on the right track as I did use Sites to make the Visualforce page into a public site.
That makes sense about Apps and classes. Thank you for clarifying those for me!
I’m ready to take 201 Admin certification,could you please give your advise to learn and take 201.I completed 401 Dev I have knowledge on SFDC little bit .
201 is all about memorization =) Check out Quizlet.com for flashcards!
Hear Hear on the Development with Force.com Platform. Not a great book IMO, never got past the 3 or 4 chapters. Looking forward to using your site & the SFDC webinars this month. I am currently a SFDC Admin and would like more development experience with the intention of eventually becoming a Technical Architect.
Thanks for everything on this site.
My pleasure – shoot me an email when you become a TA!!!
I am asp.net/c# programmer. Do you stil recommend me to go through with java book?
Thanks a lot!
You can probably skip the book in that case =) Consider buying the book however if your object oriented theory is not up to date!
I have started feeling your website and feeling confident and happier as I keep being familiarizing with it.
Thanks a bunch, I don’t understand why you do this but you are getting lots of good wishes.
I don’t really know why I do it as well other than a strong gut feeling it’s the right thing to do!
can you please tell me some sites for dev401 certification?
Search DEV 401 in Quizlet.com – there are ton of flashcards on that site!
You’ll immediately know which sections you need to study. Once you can do the flashcards, you can pass the test!
Is it necessary to give other Administrator Exam for Salesforce Dev exam, or if i have knowledge of codding then I can directly give the exam of Salesforce developer exam.
The admin and dev exams are on two separate tracks, so you can jump directly to either one!
More info on prereqs here:
This has been helpful. I have a copy of the book that you don’t recommend. (It was given to me.) I will have to buy the book you recommend. Thanks.
Congrats for your 501 certification.
I have a question,i have 2 orgs,can i login into them simultaneously that means as SSO(single sign on).i do SSO and work in both orgs.
You sure can, I do it all the time with SSO on multiple orgs!
Simply create one in a normal window and another in an incognito window:
(Also, still need to pass the written assignment for DEV 501 unfortunately!)
Best Wishes for your written Assignments for Dev 501.I ll be appearing for Dev 501 in next 2 months.
Best of luck to you too Sanjay!
Make sure to check out Quizlet.com for DEV501 flash cards!
What kind of course would you recommend to take before taking SFDC Developer course?
Some thing like basics in Java?
I live in Irvine, CA, anything around this area would be helpful.
If you’re talking about DEV401 – note that this class covers zero code!
If you’re talking about DEV501, you’ll want to have an intermediate knowledge of coding to get the most out of this course. It assumes you have a strong background in coding – so a beginner’s course isn’t enough. You’ll want to complete an intermediate level course (in Java) before DEV501!
your tutorial actually saving me for a long time regarding trigger and advance trigger. I need more tutorials from you badly ,and I need to create a demo application in Salesforce and to show Clients in a sandbox account . As you know,there are still many topics which we need to know to create a strong application using Salesforce,I need your help for that .I have core java knowledge and i understand Apex pretty well. May I have your email id for the learning purpose and to create dynamic application? i have non coding knowledge on salesforce.
I just need your guidance. Can i have your email id?
I do my best to balance out writing new content on Sfdc99 and helping people with their individual code snippets!
You can find my email address here:
Very true, despite the title “Developer Certification” DEV401 requires NO actual APEX coding knowledge, but DEV501 (Advanced Developer) certainly does. When I was working on a project at Salesforce.com in San Francisco, I was told that it is a VERY hard test, it is not multiple choice, and that the very same person who created the test, FAILED it on his first try!!!
Great advice. I’ll check it out.
hi thanks a lot for your suggestion of starting with java and moving ahead, i was in a doubt regarding this but your website has cleared it.thanks a lot again!
Hi David, I plan to get started on this after Dreamforce : ) , great site and great work on the sfdc community!
Thank you Sharif, it means a lot coming from you!
Great site! really nice work.
I am trying to learn some java before I can start learning Apex, could you suggest what I should be focusing on and how far I should take my study in java before I can start to understand apex?
No problem Ron!
I will recommend you take a very similar path to the one I took!
Start with this book:
Head First Java
The book goes by very quickly! Once you get to page 300 – 400 or so (most of it is pictures), you’re more than ready to get started with Apex!
Of course, you can always start with Apex then later add Java fundamentals, but I think this way is better in the long term.
u made things easier :) i need your autograph :P thanks a ton!