Lately, friends, family and others have been inquiring about switching careers and I usually say “Check out Salesforce”. It’s in high demand, pays well, and has lots of opportunity. My recommendation is to look into becoming a Salesforce administrator aka an admin. An admin is one who uses their computer to connect to Salesforce through their browser and other tools to administer Salesforce. Salesforce is cloud-based software that allows businesses to manage various parts of their business such as sales, customer service, and marketing. It is very customizable. What is Salesforce? goes into more detail.
How does one become a Salesforce Admin? Let’s explore the job further and then discuss how to become one.
In the U.S., an entry-level, junior Salesforce admin should expect a base salary of around $60,000 – $70,000 plus benefits as of February 2022. This could be higher depending on other factors such as specific industry or domain expertise and job market conditions. Within a few years, one could exceed $100K if they keep growing and providing more value. One may need to change jobs to get a significant pay increase.
Expect to work in front of a computer for 8+ hours a day for usually 40+ hours per week. For entry-level admins, I would expect many employers would prefer their employees to be in the office instead of home for various reasons BUT some may allow full-time remote or hybrid employees.
An entry-level admin will often work with end-users to find out their needs and then customize Salesforce to meet them. An admin will also often work with a more technical person such as a Senior Administrator or an Architect to implement more complex solutions.
- Basic Computer skills such as opening web pages in a browser, email, spreadsheets, and creating documents in Word.
- Good Communication Skills. Admins typically work with many parts of the business and need to communicate effectively.
- Self-learner. There is a lot to learn but the resources are there and most are free but this requires mostly one to teach themselves.
- Bachelor’s Degree? Many employers like applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in something but with the current job market, it’s not always required.
Typical Day-to-Day Responsibilities
- Working with the business, such as sales, customer service, and marketing, to determine their needs and then satisfying their requirements in Salesforce. Some examples:
- Create and run reports to provide the necessary information.
- Configuring security to only allow employees to see and do what they’re allowed.
- Creating automation to update records when certain conditions are met.
- Sending notifications to employees such as a reminder email.
- Mass inserting, updating, or deleting records in the database.
- User management. Create, update, and deactivate users so employees can use Salesforce appropriately.
- Configure the user interface so users have a streamlined, business tailored experience.
- Stay updated on Salesforce’s latest features.
How To Become an Admin
The high-level steps to become an Admin are learn Salesforce, get admin certified, network and get experience. This will take a while and be a considerable effort. My guess is this will take 3-6 months and a few hundred hours.
Salesforce has a free, browser-based learning management system called Trailhead. Click the Sign-Up button and finish the setup steps. Next, start with Get Started with Trailhead. After that create some hands-on orgs and dive into the Admin related content with the Beginner and Intermediate trails. Now, keep learning more via Trailhead but also try to implement your own customizations to reinforce your learning.
Your main objectives are to learn enough to get Admin certified and become adept with the declarative, point-n-click features of Salesforce.
Get Admin Certified
You need to obtain the Admin certification. This indicates you have the minimum technical skills to do the Admin job. The certification costs $200 and is multiple choice but it’s hard. One can retake it as many times as needed for $100. Use the Admin Cert Prep Trail to study. One can also take the Admin Practice test for $20 but it doesn’t award the Admin certification. However the practice test is representative of the real test and the results will guide you where to study further.
There are many other certifications but the admin is the entry-level one to obtain. There are classes and other resource one can pay for that range from $10s to $1,000s. One should use the free resources available like Trailhead and YouTube to skill up and then try the certification before using paid resources because many of the free resources provides great instructional value. Try out different things and see what works for you.
There are people out there who can help in your journey. For example, the Salesforce community has area-based “community groups” that host meetings where anyone can attend and participate. Group Directory. Look for the “Admin” groups in your area and get involved.
Ohana Slack is an online chat-based site where people can ask questions and collaborate about everything Salesforce. It was started in 2017 and now has over 7,500 members as of Feb 2022. Folks here are friendly and helpful and can provide other ideas for how to learn and become a Salesforce admin.
Learning the fundamentals is great but one has to gain practical experience too. One way is Trailhead Superbadges which dive deeper into a particular area and represent typical work done. These usually take tens of hours but greatly reinforce your learning.
Volunteering is another way. Reach out to your network, local community groups, and join and advertise in the volunteers for non-profits community group. Ideally, you’ll have a few months worth of experience and some major work accomplished that can be shared with future employers.
After gaining experience, reach out to Salesforce recruiters and your network so they help with your job search. Reaching out to recruiters beforehand may be worth while too to get their advice but waiting will likely be more fruitful.
Talent Stacker is a for-profit organization that offers a paid program for people to become Salesforce admins and helps them find a job. I’ve heard good things but haven’t used it or know anyone who has. They have a free 5-day challenge for people to check it out. This is not an endorsement but another avenue to explore.
Please share your advice in the comments below.