Making your Salesforce solution work and look as your live business processes require is a task that most often implies custom Salesforce development. Development activities differ for various Salesforce projects, be it data migration from legacy CRM or a greenfield Salesforce implementation. The latter may include business process automation with code, custom reports and dashboards creation, Salesforce app development, or provision of third-party integrations using custom tools built from scratch.
To make your Salesforce development project a successful one, it’s important to hire a skilled and motivated tech team. As a Salesforce partner with 11 years in CRM development, we can assist you with understanding whether your potential Salesforce services provider’s employees are proficient in custom Salesforce development.
You need 4 types of Salesforce-specific roles in a Salesforce development project: a consultant, an architect, a developer, and an administrator. There are also a project manager, a business analyst and test engineers engaged in any development project, but I’ll concentrate on dedicated Salesforce professionals with specific technical skillset.
Let’s start with a Salesforce consultant, a person a customer first meets at the consulting stage of a project. The consultant serves as an intermediary between the customer and the technical team. The consultant’s core responsibility is to bridge the gap between business and technology, and propose the most suitable Salesforce means to address the customer’s specific problems. To verify a Salesforce consultant’s proficiency, a customer can check their understanding of business processes of companies in their domain by offering them problem-solving tasks with their business specifics at the interview.
Salesforce architect designs the architectural model of the future Salesforce CRM and custom applications. The architect needs to have a good knowledge of the Salesforce products and development tools, solid development background, ample experience in integrating Salesforce with third-party systems via APIs, and designing custom integrations or applications. The Salesforce architect is present at every development project stage, with the biggest contribution to the design, implementation, and deployment stages.
Salesforce administrator is responsible for tuning a Salesforce solution with point-and-click tools. Automating business workflows and approval processes, creating reports and dashboards, enabling email templates, introducing user roles and permission sets, and training users on Salesforce are a few examples of a Salesforce admin’s tasks. Additionally, Salesforce administrators are responsible for the support of a Salesforce solution.
Are all these roles needed for a project?
As for the need for all those experts in a development project, I’d say it highly depends on the project’s scope. If we take, for instance, data migration from legacy CRM to Salesforce, an experienced Salesforce developer (or several of them) would be enough since the customer usually has a list of data objects and documents to transfer and clear requirements to the migration process (e.g., exact time when the automated data migration should take place). However, a team of professionals needed for large-scale projects, like Salesforce greenfield implementation, would be different. Such projects tend to entail massive code-based customizations of the solution and manifold third-party integrations, so a Salesforce project team staffed with a consultant, an architect, developers and an administrator is a must.
How to check the skills of a Salesforce consultant, architect, developer, and administrator? What certificates should they possess?
There’re 9 certificates available for a Salesforce consultant. Each of them proves their experience with the following Salesforce products: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Nonprofit Cloud, Community Cloud, Education Cloud, Pardot, Field Service Lightning and Einstein Analytics.
Speaking of the architect’s certificates, there are 4 types of credentials that acknowledge their skills: Salesforce Application Architect proves the architect’s ability to create a user role hierarchy, data models, and appropriate sharing mechanisms for a Salesforce solution. The System Architect certificate focuses on working with external systems, providing Salesforce-third-party integrations and securing access between different systems (like ERP, DMS, and ecommerce platforms). The deeper level of a Salesforce architect’s knowledge and expertise should be proved with the Technical Architect certification. A certified Technical Architect is a top professional with minimum 5 years of implementation experience and 3 years of experience as a Salesforce architect. Such a specialist has in-depth knowledge of the Salesforce platforms (like Force.com and Lightning Platform) and ample experience in working within different development life cycle methodologies (e.g. Agile, Scrum and others). Finally, the Heroku Architecture Designer certificate acknowledges the experience in designing and building apps on the Heroku platform owned by Salesforce.
There are 5 certificates available for Salesforce developers: Platform App Builder, Platform Developer I and II, B2C Commerce Developer and Marketing Cloud Developer. Each of them proves a certain skillset, say, a person who holds the Salesforce Platform App Builder credential can build custom applications using the declarative customization capabilities. As for developing Salesforce-based solutions with code means, like Apex Code, Lightning Components and Visualforce, these skills are proved with Platform Developer I and II certificates.
Finally, there are 4 certificates for Salesforce administrators. Administrator proves the skill of basic tuning of a Salesforce solution after the implementation. Advanced Administrator acknowledges the competency in configuring the platform and using advanced Salesforce default features (like Transaction Security used to manage and monitor user activity in a Salesforce solution) to solve business problems. CPQ Specialist proves the skill in implementing the Salesforce CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote). Platform App Builder proves the ability to build and deploy custom applications with no-code means.
I wouldn’t say it’s critical. A non-certified Salesforce developer with relevant experience (say, experience in Salesforce app development for AppExchange makes such a developer a good match for similar future projects) can handle a development project successfully, too. However, if a certification is present, it becomes a reliable and valued proof of the developer’s competencies and skills.
What soft skills make Salesforce professionals productive?
I’d say that problem-solving skills and creativity top the chart since they help to diversify approaches and provide inventive solutions to project tasks, which can’t be addressed with ready-made tools. Being a good communicator and team player also pays off, when it comes to discussing requirements with a customer or collaborating with members of a project team.
We have summarized the skills and certificates that Salesforce development team members should possess and divided them into the Required and Good-to-Have categories.
- development skills
- basic HTML
- basic Java
- Apex Code
- Lightning Components
- soft skills:
- Problem-solving skills
- Communication skills
- Team work
- Salesforce developer certificates, like:
- Platform App Builder
- Platform Developer I
- Platform Developer II
- B2C Commerce Developer
- Marketing Cloud Developer
In case you need other Salesforce professionals for the project, look for Salesforce consultants, architects, and administrators holding the following certificates:
- Salesforce consultant certificates:
- Sales Cloud Consultant
- Service Cloud Consultant
- Marketing Cloud Consultant
- Nonprofit Cloud Consultant
- Community Cloud Consultant
- Pardot Consultant
- Field Service Lightning Consultant
- Education Cloud Consultant
- Einstein Analytics and Discovery Consultant
- Salesforce architect certificates:
- Application Architect
- System Architect
- Technical Architect
- Heroku Architecture Designer
- Salesforce administrator certificates:
- Advanced Administrator
- Platform App Builder
- CPQ Specialist
A Salesforce partner with 11 years of experience, we can provide a custom Salesforce app for your internal use or listing it on AppExchange.