Times like these get you to think – how prepared are you for the inevitable crash of our industry?
Oracle, IBM, HP – these companies were once the “Salesforces” of their generation. But every great company has a rise and a fall. And Salesforce is no exception.
Make no mistake, the Salesforce industry will decline during your career. It’ll happen as quickly as how Salesforce hit Oracle. And once you realize the decline is here, it’s already too late to prepare.
You need to be ready for an industry shift starting today. Here are my recommendations:
Admins will likely struggle the most during the transition:
That said, it’s certainly not a doomed career path. Here’s what I’d do to prepare:
Developers have the strongest career security of the main Salesforce paths during a transition:
Nothing is guaranteed though. Developers still need to prepare for the worst:
Technical architects are also well positioned to overcome industry shifts:
Technical architects too should prepare for industry changes:
No matter how secure you think your job is, we all need to plan for the long-term.
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst!
Since it’s totally online and free, there’s really no reason not to register for the event!
I’m very honored to be a speaker too!
Hope you join and ask me some tough questions! I’ll answer everything with my heart, ha ha ha.
See ya there!
There’s a big topic around Salesforce certifications that no one wants to talk about…
Are Salesforce certifications actually a good test of someone’s knowledge?
Translation: is it really worth getting 5+ certifications?
The truth is, I don’t believe certifications are a true indication of someone’s skill. Some of the best people I’ve ever worked with have zero certifications, and vice versa.
At the same time, I also believe no multiple choice test can tell you how good someone will be on the job. For their scale, Salesforce certs actually do really, really well. I don’t know how I’d improve the program, honestly, while keeping it computer graded.
Furthermore, the amount of cheating going on with certifications these days is beyond rampant. To those tempted to use dumps – stolen questions from the actual exam – I hope you can find wisdom and plan for a successful career, not just a successful exam. That’s another elephant altogether.
All of this may lead you to believe that getting certifications, especially a lot of certifications, is a waste of your time. That’s a trap. Don’t fall for it.
The truth is, getting certifications is the best thing you can do for your career. Here’s why:
Ethically, I don’t believe the certifications arms race is a good thing. And if you feel that way too, I think you’re on to something. Realistically though, I can’t in good faith recommend anyone to gamble their livelihood over this. Certifications are one of the many taxes we should come to terms with in our careers, whether in the Salesforce industry or not.
For my best certification preparation tips, read every word of my Ultimate Certifications Guide.
Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts on this!
First off, hope you and your loved ones are keeping healthy!
If you’ve got the energy for it, now’s a good time to learn a new skill and secure your financial future!
For the entire month of April, all courses in the Apex Academy are FREE!!
Now is an especially good time because I just updated the course!
If you’re really feeling ambitious, you can start my recommended 15 week coding plan, which includes extra homework and projects. Go through it quickly so it’s all free!!
Most importantly though, stay healthy and hug your loved ones extra tight.
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!