Salesforce is the number one cloud provider in the customer relationship management (CRM) space. Not only have they set the industry standard for sales workforce automation, but they also have developed a platform for customization of their software through their Force.com product. In the software development world, we’re always looking for ways to develop faster and leaner and deliver software products in months instead of years. Let’s analyze what Salesforce has to offer and why it’s a great career for an aspiring software developer.
Reason #1 – Declarative Features When writing a piece of software, the preference is to take more of a declarative approach than a programmatic approach as much as possible. Tools like Process Builder and Schema Builder allow developers to quickly create workflows and data schemas with little to no code. Process Builder gives you the capability to declare basic workflow tasks, such as creating and updating database records, sending emails, and escalating for manager approval. With Schema Builder, you can skip putting together thousands of lines of SQL code to create your DDL scripts. Simply create your schema in a diagram that looks as familiar as an entity-relationship diagram, and you’re all set. As a developer, declarative features help us build common functionalities rapidly and consistently.
Reason #2 – Full Customization If a solution is unique, sometimes declarative features alone will not cut it. Force.com provides APEX, Triggers, Visualforce, and Lightning for fully customizing solutions. These tools give developers the ability to write code that executes within the Salesforce platform. For example, APEX is a powerful, Java-like language for writing business logic and algorithms. It includes support for inline database access using SOQL or SOSL (Salesforce Object Query Language and Salesforce Object Search Language, respectively) plus automatic conversion into sObjects so you can quickly begin working with that data within APEX. Visualforce provides a markup language for creating user interfaces with syntax that shares similarities with HTML and JSP. Developers are guided into following the standard MVC architecture by connecting Visualforce UI components to their controllers on the server side. Lightning Component Framework introduces faster client-side rendering on UI components and out-of-the-box components, plus support for custom React and Angular code.
Reason #3 – Career Growth Salesforce holds most of the market share in the cloud CRM space, and they are the fourth largest software firm. In 2017, their revenues exceeded $8 billion with over 20% year-over-year growth over the last few years. Over 90% of their revenue comes from subscription and support, and Salesforce relies heavily on developers out in the field to perform implementations and customizations of their product. An IDC white paper found that Salesforce and its customer base would create 3.3 million new jobs and more than $859 billion in new business revenues worldwide by 2022. The corporate Salesforce employees only number about 29,000, but most of the work opportunities reside in the development of new solutions using the Salesforce platform.
Reason #4 – Technical Documentation Salesforce provides extensive documentation for working with their products. All documentation is available publicly in their developer guides with step-by-step instructions for getting started with Salesforce. To have more fun along the learning journey, their Trailheads modules help you to skill up while also accumulating points and badges to show off your skills to others in the Salesforce community. Trailheads include all aspects of Salesforce, including administration, development, architecture, business analysis, and end users. The Salesforce Developer Community gives you a channel to connect with other developers and ask more specific questions while you troubleshoot your code.
Reason #5 – Community The annual Salesforce conference, Dreamforce (We’ll be there! Meet us at booth #537), brings over 170 thousand developers from around the world to San Francisco to talk Salesforce. The conference highlights new features in Salesforce as well as discussions on the general software market. After 5pm each night, the conference shifts gears into more casual conversation over food and drinks. Many Dreamforce events have included concerts with top artists, such as Metallica, Bruno Mars, Green Day, U2, and Fleetwood Mac.
Salesforce is a fantastic cloud platform provider that has progressed their core offerings to provide a full platform for developing custom applications. Their declarative and programmatic features give so much out-of-the-box functionality while also lending the developer full control for customization. With vast career opportunities, in-depth technical documentation, and a connected developer community, you can easily build your skills and career within the Salesforce space. With so much of the business world moving to the Cloud, getting into Salesforce can lead you into to a long and fruitful IT career.