Thinking about a tech career? There are a lot of different directions, but the  Salesforce developer path is one that will enable you to quickly get started and expose you to numerous technologies as you work with companies to integrate and customize Salesforce. While a coding background is definitely helpful, Salesforce is a really good place to start your tech career.

You can explore this career path from the perspective of two of our Salesforce developers, Erwin and Sergio. They’re both new to Salesforce development, having joined Oktana Bolivia in 2020. They deserve an extra round of applause since their team started remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic!

In Bolivia, very few people know about Salesforce which surprises most of our team because they can see it’s a platform with a lot of potential. Because of its size and complexity, with so many different products, learning Salesforce on your own can be intimidating, but Erwin and Sergio have found that the learning materials and coaching provided by their trainer made everything much easier. 

Since childhood, both Erwin and Sergio showed a strong interest in technology, especially video game creation. This passion eventually led them both to software development. Before they joined Oktana, they had never worked with Salesforce, but had gained experience with different languages like Angular, C++, and Java. 

Similarities with common programming languages

Now that they have been working with the platform for several months, they have found some similarities with common programming languages:

  • Salesforce uses Apex, a proprietary language very similar to Java. The syntax is Java, but simpler.
  • The same happens with Lightning Web Components. They have a Java base, making their creation easier for Java developers.
  • The way Salesforce manages data is by storing everything in metadata. You can manipulate it using SOQL, which is similar to SQL.

Benefits of Salesforce

As a Salesforce developer, you help businesses by helping them integrate with a secure and scalable platform that’s easy to customize and upgrade without anything breaking. From the point of view of our Oktana Bolivia, here are some additional benefits of Salesforce:

  • Efficient: With just clicks, you can create a structure very quickly. Comparing it with other programming languages where you have to create the database from scratch, using Salesforce is much easier because the database structure is already created for you. Also, the way Salesforce organizes your information is great. If you have to make a change in Salesforce, and if you setup your metadata correctly, it is simpler to reorganize it, saving a lot of time.
  • Drag & drop page layouts: Salesforce lets you move fast by dragging elements and following defined steps which allows you to focus on other development.
  • Mobile: Salesforce offers a mobile application that lets you work like you would in the browser. When you build functionality for Salesforce, it can be made immediately available on the Salesforce app, so you don’t need to build a separate mobile app. 
  • Platform: The Salesforce platform is very intuitive. Salesforce teaches you to think about the easiest way to solve a problem, so it’s quite easy to follow this trend. For example, if you start working with Lightning Web Components, when you get some practice, you learn to create components one on top of the other and that interact within the same page, understanding how the components communicate with each other.
  • Environments: Salesforce already has everything hosted for you. It’s easier to develop in a sandbox environment, then upload it later to production. You don’t have to deploy, just take it to a sandbox to upload it later to a host and then production.

Salesforce best practices

On the other hand, working with Salesforce forces you to learn good programming practices like:

  • When you develop with Salesforce, it forces you to be more orderly and develop in the most optimal way possible, so your code is not chaotic. It’s really how you should program on any platform in any language.
  • Likewise, all the out-of-the-box tools are very well made and give you ideas of how you should develop if you aren’t working in Salesforce.

“I consider that the creators of Salesforce are THE BEST, they thought it through very well, and you learn from this.”

Erwin M – Developer

Challenges while learning Salesforce

Maybe the toughest thing is the declarative part of the flows. Salesforce has tools to automate data management. One is the Process Builder where you can develop with clicks, also with the Flow Builder, which allows you to create complex solutions all with clicks, too. In the beginning, it can be a bit complicated to select the right tool for each type of request, but with practice, you get to know everything that Salesforce offers and can do.

Plus, at Oktana, with the onboarding training and experience on different practice projects, you have an excellent base to get to know Salesforce much better. 

“There is a lot of information about Salesforce, so it is difficult to know everything, but with practice, you gradually get used to using this platform”  

Sergio Z – Developer

Why should you become a Salesforce Developer?

Erwin and Sergio highly recommend taking this career path, because it allows you to create different types of solutions, learn good practices and it’s a great way to start learning a different form of programming. Also, there is a lot of demand related to this career. 

It’s not necessary to have previous knowledge of Salesforce before starting this career path. If you know the basics of programming, that is enough. But, it does facilitate learning to have prior knowledge of web development, JavaScript, or basic Java (or C#).

What it’s like working with other cultures

Erwin and Sergio think it’s great, and fascinating, to work with people across several countries – every day they learn about the customs, food, culture, and places they would love to visit in Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and the United States. They also learn many of the similarities between countries. 

Something funny Erwin found when he started working at Oktana was that he had thought Salesforce was a simple and straightforward CRM tool, but after training and working with it, he was completely surprised by the size and potential of the platform. For Sergio, when he started working at Oktana, it was the first time he had worked with a Mac as a working tool. He thinks it isn’t as bad as some comments he’s heard from those who don’t use Macs, it has quite interesting and useful things.

It has been interesting getting started at a new job, learning new technologies, during COVID. For example, for Erwin, it was interesting several paid events around the world that used to take place in person, are now broadcast over the internet for free, allowing people to know and learn much more about Salesforce and new technologies for developing software. In the case of Sergio, working completely from home has great advantages. The fact of literally getting out of bed and taking a couple of steps to be in your work area, instead of taking a bus to go to the office, is really motivating. It’s also really relaxing too, at the end of the day, simply log your hours and close your Mac to be at home and rest. 

We’re still growing! If you’re interested in becoming a Salesforce developer in Bolivia, check out some of the Salesforce Certification articles we’ve put together and our current open Salesforce developer positions in Bolivia.

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