Admin

Salesforce as a career path: how to get a Salesforce job

March 3, 2022
  •  
15 min read
DA Ledger

Understand Salesforce as a career path by breaking down an Admin job description

Do you ever read a job description for a Salesforce position and are confused after reading it?

Let me tell you a secret: the articles about "how to get into Salesforce," "how to get a Salesforce job," or "how to get a job as a Salesforce administrator" don't cover what you're about to read.

The articles you read don't cover what you're really trying to learn.

"I wonder how I'm going to get a Salesforce job."

"What are they asking for in this Salesforce job description?"

" I don't know what this job description is asking for. I should rethink my Salesforce career path."

Today, that stops. Never read the description for a Salesforce job without being confused again.

Breaking down a Salesforce administrator job description

In this blog post, I’m going to break down a Salesforce Administrator and Developer Hybrid role at one of the fastest growing technology companies in the AI sector: Databricks. 

By the end of this, you’ll have an understanding of what one of the top tech companies is looking for in Salesforce administrator talent. I'll also show you how to get a Salesforce job because you'll know what skills you need for success.

Now, JUST to be clear: I am not sponsored by Databricks. I thought their job posting would be instructional here. If you can get a company like this on your resume and do well in the role, it will be very easy to find Salesforce positions in the future. 

This blog post will be broken down into the following chapters, so feel free to navigate to the places that make the most sense for your journey to get a Salesforce job:

  1. Learning about the company
  2. Breaking down the title
  3. Pay
  4. The job description
  5. The impact of this position on the company

Let’s get started.

How to research the company to get a job

Your first step is to research what the company does and how it makes its money.

Databricks is a Data and AI company and have about 7k customers. 

Over 40% of the Fortune 500 (aka the largest US companies) use the Databricks Lakehouse Platform to unify their data, analytics, and AI. 

They’re an SF based company, but have offices around the world. 

If you want to learn more about them, I’d suggest 

  • Looking up recent news articles
  • Watching YouTube demos on their products and services
  • Looking up their leadership team
  • Researching their board of directors
  • Searching for other employees who do Salesforce work or are stakeholders at Databricks
  • Now, let’s move on to analyzing the Title of the Salesforce administrator job.

The title of the Salesforce position

So the Title is called Salesforce Developer Administrator. 

It’s one of the more confusing job titles I’ve seen, but my hunch is that they’re looking for an Admin with a little more Developer experience, but not necessarily a Developer. 

So if we were on a spectrum, the Developer Administrator would be a little more technical than just the Administrator. 

I did a little more research and found that, at the time of this blogpost, Databricks is hiring for multiple Salesforce positions: 

  • Sr. Salesforce Developer
  • Lead Salesforce Developer 
  • Senior Manager (Salesforce) Business Systems

Now, it may not be the case that the company you're applying for is hiring for many Salesforce jobs.

Nonetheless, reading other job postings for the same team is a gold mine because it gives you more information about the needs of the team you’d be applying for.

I recommend you read them after we break down the Salesforce Admin-Dev role. If you’re watching this video and the job postings are no longer available, you can find a link to the text of the other job postings on the Some Magic Nuggets article on this topic by clicking the link in the Description below.

How to find out how much a Salesforce job pays

The posting doesn’t mention salary here, but I’ll show you a way you can come up with a rough estimation for how much they pay.

For tech companies like Databricks, you can almost certainly find how much software engineers get paid by going to a website like Levels.fyi

So, if I go to the website, and search Databricks, you’ll find the average compensation by level. L3s (aka entry level engineers) make on average around $213k in total compensation. L6s (which are staff engineers) make a whopping $758k! These numbers are so high! 

But, that’s not what this role is going to pay. But based on how much money the company is shelling out for engineers, I wouldn’t be surprised to guess that Databricks pays pretty well for Salesforce talent. 

Okay, now to break down what they’re ACTUALLY looking for in this position.

3+ years of experience with Salesforce administration:

Have you worked as a Salesforce administrator in some capacity in 3 years? 

If I’m the Salesforce hiring manager for Databricks, I would probably make an exception if they were a Salesforce administrator at a startup or a company that is similar to Databricks (data & AI company) because there might be overlap in what they did before

3+ years is not a hard rule by the way.

Experience with the life cycle development - including Salesforce deployment/packaging using Metadata API, change sets, and code coverage.

What’s the Metadata API?

It’s basically how developers can move metadata – think of Apex code or configuration like Flows, Process Builder, and Workflow Rules – between different Salesforce orgs. They’re faster than change sets, that’s for sure.

What’s a Change set?

If you haven’t worked with Salesforce before, I would think of it as a way to send customization from one org to another (very clunky).

My recommendation is to learn about ways to improve upon change sets if that’s what Databricks is using, which I highly doubt they are.

The last bullet point on the What they’re looking for portion of the job description asks for experience with Copado, so my hunch is they’re using this as their DevOps and change management tool for Salesforce. Or at least they’re on a trial run with it.

Code coverage

What does code coverage have to do with Salesforce admin work? 

Did you know that you need a minimum code coverage in order to deploy code to production? They probably want you to know that here since they’re calling it out in the job description

This next one’s kind of bulky:

Hands-on experience configuring Flows, Validations, Salesforce Portal (Community portal), Salesforce CPQ, Service Console, Lightning Pages, SOQL, REST APIs and Data loads. 

Here, we can get a little bit of an insight on the shape of their Salesforce org.

With Flows, Validation Rules, and Data Loads, that sounds like just standard Salesforce Administrator stuff.

At the time of this recording, Flows are what you should be learning (not Process Builders cause they’re saying bye to that).

Validation Rules are pretty standard with enforcing adherence to a certain data standard.

Data loads

You'll likely get data load requests from your stakeholders.

It'll be to either insert/update/delete records that they want you to modify.

You should be able to have a pretty good ability to go back and forth with a stakeholder if you see the data isn’t clean.

Or, if you have clarifying questions about the data loads you’re expected to do, be sure to ask them.

Salesforce Portal (Communities)

Quick primer - marketed as a low code way to build a portal for people like your customers to interact with your company.

So reading this lets me know they may have not updated the job description since the portal was renamed to Experience Cloud.

So if you’re applying, call that out somewhere and get yourself some brownie points for knowing what you’re talking about!

Anyway, if they’re using Experience Cloud, my guess is that they’re Experience Cloud for their customers to raise tickets and check on the status of their cases.

Given that they have about 7,000 customers, you can start to take a guess at how large their Experience Cloud footprint can be.

Service Console

Quick primer - Service Console is a standard Lightning Console app that’s there for service reps to do things like manage cases faster, see all customer data at once, and keep up details of the case (via history and notes).

If they’re using Service Console, I have further reason to believe that their support teams (that are there to support the customer) are using Service Console to take action on a customer’s case.

It’s likely that the service reps are using Service Console to interact with their customers with support tickets, and that the customers are using Communities/aka Experience Cloud to interact with Databricks.

Salesforce CPQ

Salesforce CPQ is the bane of many people’s existence. The reason why people leave the ecosystem. I’m kidding…kind of.

If you don’t know, Salesforce CPQ stands for Configure - Price - Quote, and its Salesforce way of trying to make the selling process easier.

Getting CPQ certified is apparently no easy feat, and maintaining it can be difficult.

Databricks is using Salesforce CPQ to generate quotes, send them to customers, and my guess is they’re using an e-signature platform of some sort to track the customer signature and storing it in Salesforce or somewhere else.

If you haven’t learned about CPQ, I’d recommend taking a Trailhead on it or watching some YouTube videos to acclimate yourself to this world.

Companies’ appetite for CPQ is unmatched. This is a hot thing to know in the Salesforce ecosystem in 2022.

Lightning Pages

They're basically a custom layout that lets you design pages to use in Salesforce.

They’re on every object and my guess Databricks wants to know if you can configure them with little oversight. If, for example, someone gives you a task to re-arrange the account page, could you do it?

SOQL: what every Salesforce developer needs to know

This one’s a little interesting, because usually SOQL falls squarely within the development side of things, but since this is a hybrid role, there is a subtle expectation that you at least have somewhat of a grasp on SOQL.

If you don’t know wha SOQL is, it’s a way for you to retrieve data from objects in Salesforce. If you know what SQL is, then SOQL is like SQL, but much more limited.

Even if you’re an admin, I’d highly recommend you at least learning a little bit of SOQL. Knowing even how to read SOQL makes you very dangerous. In a good way.

Salesforce REST APIs

At a high level, Salesforce REST APIs basically give you programmatic access to your data in your Salesforce instance.

It’s how most applications that need to integrate with Salesforce will do it. This is the tell that Databricks has integrations going in and out of Salesforce. Probably a lot of them.

They probably have Databricks product data syncing to Salesforce and they’re probably sending sales signals to other systems via REST APIs.

Knowledge of security and governance (profiles, permission sets, data visibility, sharing settings)

It’s basically asking if you know the lessons from Salesforce’s Who Sees What? Playlist on YouTube. 

It’s easier said than done to learn this information, and sharing can be such a frustrating thing to learn. But once you know these concepts, you’re unstoppable as a Salesforce admin.

My recommendation is to watch the Who Sees What playlist on Youtube. I’ll link it in the description below.

Next bullet point: Support the development team and product teams in assessing the defects (L3 support), sandbox refreshes

Here, you’re supporting the development team and product teams in figuring out bugs.

For context, L1 support is basically the first line of defense at a company. L1 support is limited in their technical knowledge and if they can’t solve the issue, will punt it to L2, who can take over the case.

When L2 can’t fix an issue, it’ll come to L3.

L3 support is known as the last line of support and it's mainly a development team that handles technical issues. You will play a role in being the last line of defense for technical issues.

Oh yeah, and it also mentions sandbox refreshes here! My guess is you’ll likely be in charge of running the sandbox refresh playbook if Databricks has one. 

If they don’t, I’d highly suggest highlighting your experience with running sandbox refresh playbooks if you did it at a previous company.

The playbook may include things like how to communicate with the stakeholders that a refresh is happening and identifying concerns if stakeholders have any concerns with refreshing on the date you want. 

And of course, this actually includes refreshing the sandbox and running any post-sandbox refresh steps (like setting up SSO, running custom scripts to re-point integration URLs, and other things). 

Let’s take a look at the next point…

Recommend and Implement best-practices for the Salesforce team related to configuration, integrations and deployment

Here’s my takeaway for this bullet point.

When you’re recommending best practices, that signals to me that you won’t be in a passive role and the team will give you a fair amount of autonomy to make choices that you think is best for the Salesforce org, and best for the company. If you have ideas on how to improve their Salesforce instance, they want you to speak up. 

Also, if you’re recommending, you’re likely Implement best practices: Jeff Nesler wrote a post on Salesforce Ben and its titled Salesforce Best Practices for Admins: Do’s and Don’ts

I’d recommend having these best practices in your back pocket when moving to any new Salesforce org. 

It covers best practices around things like System Performance, General System administration, Change Management, Troubleshooting, and other things. 

Going over that article will cover the Configuration word in this bullet point.

With respect to Integrations, I personally wouldn’t expect for you to know all the Salesforce integration patterns. Salesforce has a page titled Integration Patterns and Practices that I’d recommend you SKIM, but by no means am I truly expecting you to know Integration patterns like the back of your hand.

Last, when they mention Deployment best practices, they’re talking about your thoughts on

Next bullet point.

Experience managing third-party app-exchange products such as Financial Force, Docusign

Third party app exchange products: So, the AppExchange is a marketplace where you can buy solutions to your problems. They have things like apps, components, and you can even buy consulting services from there. 

FinancialForce and DocuSign - both the products mentioned earlier - are on the AppExchange store. But, why would Databricks use them?

FinancialForce

Let’s look at FinancialForce first. In the Lead Salesforce Engineer position at Databricks, one of the bullet points that they’re looking for says “Experience with customer success platforms like FinancialForce are a plus.” 

FinancialForce has three different solutions that customers can choose: ERP Cloud, Professional Services, and Customer Success Cloud.

We just found a piece of the Databricks Salesforce implementation puzzle - I feel pretty confident in saying they’re using Customer Success Cloud! 

Software like this will track when it's worth reaching out to the customer. It’s meant to do things like preventing churn or making sure the customer is set up for success because they have an upcoming renewal. It’s likely that Success Cloud can even send out automated nurture messages to customers to make sure they’re getting the most out of their products.

Why am I saying all this? Because - if you can speak to the reasons why a company like Databricks would invest in something like a Customer Success Cloud, then you’re not only demonstrating that you’re a great Salesforce admin, but that you also have a great business mind. That’s a huge competitive advantage when it comes to applying for positions like these. 

DocuSign

Now, let’s talk a little about DocuSign. If you don’t know, DocuSign is an e-signature platform that helps customers send and sign documents from practically anywhere. 

It’s worth asking ourselves why Databricks would want to use them in the first place.

Did you know that DocuSign also has a Salesforce integration that enables people to prepare, sign, and act on documents within both Salesforce and Slack?

Why would that be important to Databricks?

Yes, they’re probably using DocuSign to send offer letters to candidates. But that’s not all.

My hunch is that they’re using DocuSign and Salesforce CPQ in tandem to send order forms to customers so they can sign them.

I don’t think they would be mentioning DocuSign here unless there was some tie back to Salesforce.

Since they mentioned CPQ earlier in the job description, and CPQ implementations and eSignature platforms pair well together, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re using something like DocuSign Agreement Cloud for Salesforce, which aims to speed up deal cycles.

They may have even had their developer work on a customized flow that meets Databricks’s use cases.

If you don’t know about Docusign specifically, I wouldn’t worry.

Watch some demos on Docusign, specifically ones that show a DocuSign to Salesforce integration. You’ll see why an eSignature platform like DocuSign can be really useful for a business.

Experience with source control tools such as Github, Jenkins, Copado, Sour and oversee the deployment life cycle for Salesforce.

GitHub

It’s a cloud-based Git repository that can help Salesforce professionals manage their codebase and track changes to it.

There are so many resources on how to get set up with GitHub, but I’d recommend you start with Trailhead’s Git and GitHub Basics if you’ve never come across this word before.

Jenkins

If you’re an Admin and you’ve used Jenkins before, I would yell it from the mountaintops!

Not every admin gets this experience and its a huge differentiator.

Basically, Jenkins will enable something that’s called continuous integration. This means that, using Jenkins, developers and admins can integrate code into a shared repository (likely on GitHub) several times a day.

Imagine a scenario where you build a Flow in your developer org, then you push the metadata to a GitHub branch, which will run some tests in another sandbox, and if it passes, then it will push your code to production. You can do that with Jenkins.

But Databricks probably isn’t using Jenkins for that use case, because they’re asking if you’ve ever used Copado before. Copado can take care of this use case because it’s a low-code DevOps and Testing platform. 

Think of DevOps as a way to shorten the Salesforce development lifecycle.

If you built a Flow and it took 2 weeks to build, test, and deploy, you could introduce something like a Copado into your org and cut that down to just a few days.

This is because you could catch bugs early, and you wouldn’t have to worry about manually moving your changes. The DevOps solution could potentially handle it for you! Pretty cool, right?

Companies like Copado, Gearset, and Flosum have taken off in recent years because they have in part been pioneers on the DevOps space. 

Oversee deployment lifecycle for Salesforce: In this case, I would assume that you would have your hand in maintaining the Copado implementation at Databricks. If you’ve never used it before, I wouldn’t sweat it because they have documentation and trainings to help set you up for success. Additionally, there’s probably already institutional knowledge from within Databricks that would help you out.

The opening paragraphs of the Salesforce job description

What it means to be a "product-led organization"

In the second paragraph, they call out that they’re a product led organization - basically, to me, this means that the product is basically the main way that they grab customers.

The product might be free, but it’s going to be so good that eventually they’ll pay for it (whether through really good support, or some other feature that makes the customer happy to pay). 

They also mention they have incredible growth, which makes sense given that at the time of this recording, they just passed $1b in annual run rate, which is like a rough approximation of their annual revenue. Which for a company that’s only about 6 years old, it’s very very impressive.

What to do when the company is looking for a hybrid Salesforce job

It mentions they’re looking for a dev-admin hybrid, which is not something you see very often. 

Not only are you going to be a hybrid, burt you’re going to also be an evangelist for the using Salesforce across the business - and making sure people are using it in the right way.

There’s a lot of leadership expectation, you’ll design, configure, and deploy Salesforce releases, even if you didn’t develop all the components

You’re going to be seen as someone who can help guide the end user and the business on best practices for process development in Salesforce.

You'll also keep an eye on what they want to do in the future.

This is so you can make sure that by the the time you need to implement it in Salesforce, that it’s done with high quality.

You’re probably thinking - "I need to have all these skills?" They better be paying for it. And they sure are.  It’s a high growth company and they’re willing to pay top-dollar to bring in the talent that can help them get to their next revenue goal. 

The fourth paragraph of the Salesforce job description

You’re going to be a lead resource, your skill set is very valuable.

You’re not just an admin, you’re a business partner. It doesn't matter if your a certified Salesforce professional or not.

You can help steer the company towards a better use of the Salesforce platform. Become a Salesforce subject matter expert.

The fifth paragraph of the Salesforce job description

The fifth paragraph is where you unlock who your stakeholders will be - GTM and CS, which stand for Go-To-Market and Customer Success. 

This means your end users would be people who need Salesforce in order for their business functions to work.

These are real world stakeholders and not something you'd see in a simulated working environment. Yes, a training course could prepare you a little bit. But nothing beats real world experience.

This effectively translates to the teams that handle sales and the teams that handle everything that happens after the close of the sale to make sure the customer is happy. 

Moving on - What’s your expected impact?

I don’t really have anything to add here honestly. I would consider it the TLDR of this entire job posting. 

Lastly, I want to reiterate how you can learn more about the company, because knowing more about them and the people you’d be working with puts you at a competitive advantage.

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