Navigating Your Salesforce Career in 2021 and Beyond
In our latest STEM series event, we welcomed a panel of industry Trailblazers to talk about the future of jobs in the Salesforce Ecosystem.
How will Salesforce job opportunities evolve over the next few years?
How should people transitioning to Salesforce from another industry apply their skills to their job search?
Just how important are certifications and achievements at this stage of your Salesforce career?
Should you pursue the admin career path, developer, or another route?
We answered all these questions and more, and here are some nuggets of experience we share with you.
How Would You Summarize the State of the Salesforce Job Market Right Now?
We have good news, the Salesforce job market is doing better than ever, but its needs have changed.
Angela Mahoney started her Salesforce career 15 years ago as an 'accidental admin.'
When she began managing an team of developers and admins, her biggest fear was that they would leave, snatched up by another company, because they were receiving multiple job offers "every time they stepped off the elevator."
Common for managers in the Ecosystem, this fear is still present a decade later. The industry keeps growing and growing, and there is always going to be more and more room as companies continue to embrace digital transformation, respond to the new post-COVID normal, and strive for greater efficiency in the virtual workplace. With so many different career paths to choose from, the possibilities are endless once you discover which direction is right for you.
How will Salesforce job opportunities evolve over the next few years?
In a world facing unprecedented event after unprecedented event, the future of an industry is harder than ever to predict with any measure of accuracy. The top experts in the field, though, are the ones with the most insight into how things will continue to change and how trends have taken root so far.
As David Liu says, admins are going to struggle to find good jobs over the next few years because the supply of available professionals is disproportionate to the demand as the industry calls for cross-trained, multi-faceted professionals. The best companies to work for are changing their needs quickly, generating a need for cross-trained professionals that can carry out their vision and offer expertise on its direction.
Having a developer or a development team is instrumental to a company's ability to utilize the Salesforce platform most effectively, as Angela Mahoney points out. Branching out into other skill sets adds value to a resume and increases marketability through a job search or promotion track that cannot be matched. Those who started out their careers as entry level admins, or the "doers" of the Ecosystem, need to constantly be growing, learning, and pushing themselves out of their comfort zones, as Stephanie Herrera says to be successful.
This holds true for people at every stage of their Salesforce career. Sheldon Simmons shared that his middle-school aged son is presently learning Java Script, indicating that the shifts in required technical skills for an entry level professional are already shaping the future of the available labor supply. If he, or any of the other panelists, had stayed stagnant in one spot when their companies asked them to do something outside of their training, none of them would have been in a position to speak on a panel in 2021, and would have been left behind in the successful career ladder.
How Relevant are Salesforce Certifications and Achievements to Your Career?
So, how should someone go about making themselves more valuable in the Salesforce Ecosystem to an employer or company, once someone has identified the need for more training?
The most obvious answer is, get certifications. There are many, many of those to choose from and they stand out to a hiring manager in a job search that can be proved with working knowledge, especially if you are 'younger' in your Salesforce career.
But is this true for everyone, at every stage of their career? Well, yes and no.
For those transitioning to Salesforce from other industries and leveraging their prior skills and experience, Angela Mahoney says that certifications might not be as important as other indicators of ability. Technical skills can be taught much more easily than functional ones that come with years of using the platform.
If you are 'older' in your career, certifications simply do not hold as much weight against demonstrated capability and make little difference to most companies. David Liu suggests that more developed Salesforce professionals invest in the Salesforce community, spreading their knowledge and being a resource for others for the best ROI.
Having the soft skills to accompany your certifications, experience, and knowledge matters significantly, after someone has proved that they can accomplish their goals through learning the technical skills in their chosen career path, says Sheldon Simmons. True in any developed career, companies need more than hard ability in those they promote to leadership roles. The most successful Salesforce professionals should have a well-rounded mix of traits to offer the job market.
How Do You Decide Which Salesforce Career Path is Right For You?
David Liu suggests that you get introspective with your genuine likes and dislikes in the type of work you perform in order to identify which career path is going to be the most conducive to your long-term success in the Salesforce Ecosystem.
"If you are generally a people-person, admin is a great path that can extend into consultancy, business analyst, or solutions architect.
If you like to sit down and think about things for a long time and execute, then developer is the path for you.
If you like to work at big companies with big teams at scale, then technical architect is right for you."
Owning the instance and managing a team, a real hard skill in itself, can result in a lucrative and high-paying career for a good people-person in the Ecosystem, Stephanie Herrera says, and not enough people are doing it. Needing the ability to solve problems never goes away, your problem set just changes through time, says Angela Mahoney. To keep in touch with a technical skill set while developing higher level skills, volunteering in the community is the best way to stay sharp and not lose the fun of working in the platform on a regular basis.
Speaking with a mentor or drawing on your network is a great way to help identify what path you are best suited to. Sheldon Simmons had never considered a career as a consultant until his mentor pointed out to him how much he loved to talk with people, and this path lets him balance his favorite things about working in Salesforce.
Should You Work With a Salesforce Recruiter?
"A good recruiter will make sure you're getting what you're worth, says Angela Mahoney. Not all recruiters are created equally, so choose carefully which ones you want to work with."
Once a Salesforce professional has entered the job search process, often the first place they look is within their own professional networks or job boards. While this is natural and expected, knowing how to properly package and present yourself to hiring managers is a skill that takes years of development and practice, says Stephanie Herrera.
"Getting your foot in the door of a company is one of the hardest things about the job search process and a recruiter is someone you want on your team, says Sheldon Simmons. Don't let people undervalue you because you'll probably end up saving them millions in the long run."
Recruiters can help bring that out in you, they know things about the job market that others simply do not, are experienced in negotiating higher salaries for their candidates, and can help you take advantage of all the opportunities out there. David Liu told the audience about his one time working a recruiter who doubled his salary because they were able to convince the employer to pay the market rate for a professional of David's caliber.
For more advice about navigating your Salesforce career through and beyond 2021, you may view the full previously live virtual event on the our website.
Keep scrolling for more answers from our panelists!