My Transition from Programmer to Salesforce Administrator

An Ode to Code

Technology is all around us and it’s a great time to be a part of a growing industry. A growing industry, a need for change, and an opportunity helped pique my interest in computer programming. My journey started almost two years ago when I took my first coding class. Like many of my past classmates and colleagues, I thought technology was only creating websites. Therefore, my mind was set on making a career in working on and building websites.

After completing my first coding class, which was an introduction to HTML/CSS, I was hooked. I loved beginning with a blank canvas and being able to design, color, and put together something not only pretty but functional. It gave me a sense of accomplishment, it was like a new high seeing a bunch of code turn a blank space to a neat website. I kept taking classes and delved deeper into the coding world by using things like Bootstrap, Flexbox, and JavaScript.

One Jump (Into Salesforce)

I finally felt that I found my passion; this was it! I was ready to take on my career as a computer programmer. “How could I ever leave programming?” I thought to myself. It was so much fun and there would always be room for me to grow.

Until one day, about a year into my programming journey, I had an amazing internship offer with Shift3 Technologies. However, this internship was NOT coding; it was Salesforce administration. When the opportunity first arose, I thought to myself, “What the heck is Salesforce?” Followed by my second thought, “I do not want to get into sales; I’m not a salesperson. I’m a programmer.” I had many doubts when deciding to pursue this rare internship opportunity. Did I really want to ditch programming and learn something completely new? Did I want to throw away all the time and effort I put into learning this new skill? After thoughtful consideration, I decided to take a leap of faith and dive into the Salesforce ecosystem.

A Whole New Role

What is Salesforce? Salesforce is a customer relationship management solution that delivers personalized experiences for companies and customers. It provides powerful and connected products for improving marketing, sales, commerce, service, IT and so much more. When learning about Salesforce, I quickly found out I would be taking on an Administrator role. Additionally, I discovered this meant there was going to be no code involved. This revelation was difficult to process at first as I loved programming, but I adjusted, pushed through, and realized Salesforce is a huge platform with many things to offer and learn. I quickly realized I enjoyed learning everything about Salesforce; how convenient it is, how many options it has, and how personalized it can be. With or without code.

Salesforce makes learning the software easy by providing a self-serve learning platform called Trailhead. Trailhead is kept up to date with training, information, and hands-on activities on important topics. Although Salesforce made it very easy for me to learn the software, being part of an internship with a great organization was also very important when learning Salesforce. My internship team was always there to help and encourage me throughout my journey. I didn’t realize it was going to be so easy to pivot from strictly programming to strictly Salesforce.

A New, Fantastic Point of View

I was able to get great hands-on experience within the company building out a Salesforce org and continue to build out for other companies within the organization. I attribute my hard work and previous experience as the biggest keys to making an effortless transition to Salesforce. The programmer thought process definitely gave me the correct mindset for Salesforce Learning. For example, if you have an issue with a line of code, you test, try something different (because there could be multiple solutions when coding) and eventually get it to work. The same technique can be applied to Salesforce; if there’s an issue with configuration, there are many ways to fix the issue and arrive at a solution.

Having the fortunate experience to explore programming and Salesforce, I found many similarities and differences. When it comes to Salesforce, writing code is optional; instead of writing out code you can create many configurations and online portals with just a click of the mouse. Salesforce is also very flexible; if you love code and want to be a developer, you absolutely can. Salesforce developers use code to create enhanced customizations or application solutions. Although I didn’t believe I could enjoy Salesforce as much as I did programming, one difference that changed my mindset was being able to see the impact my work had on end users. Seeing their excitement from solutions I helped implement (thereby making their lives easier) is a fantastic, rewarding feeling.

Creating Something Out of Nothing

Like programming, Salesforce makes it possible to create something out of nothing. Although Salesforce can be more business-oriented, the approach is very similar to programming. You get requirements, create software to meet those needs, and when completed it’s turned over to the client.

Another similarity between both is there is always something new to learn. There are many languages of code, new languages always coming out, and new changes always being made. This also applies for Salesforce; you can learn many roles such as administrator, developer, architect, and project manager. You could also learn different services within the platform, such as Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Manufacturing Cloud. A misconception about Salesforce is that you are boxing yourself into learning only one skill. In actuality, Salesforce is a huge ecosystem with a suite of tools with endless ways of implementing and improving them.

Trust the Magic Carpet Ride

Fast forward to a year after beginning my journey. I am now a full-time Salesforce Administrator for Shift3 Technologies. As I wrote this blog I asked myself, “Did I make the right decision?”

I can now happily and confidently say “Yes, I did!” Code will always have a place in my heart, but Salesforce keeps me excited about the future with endless opportunities. Technology is now much more than building websites for me; it is my career, my passion and a source of motivation. If you are ever thinking about transitioning careers, especially if you are already in the technology field, I want you to know that it’s never too late. I began as a teacher and decided to pivot to programming. If you want to learn something new, or grow in the technology field, take a chance and check out Salesforce! If you’re begun your journey into Salesforce and are ready to take a certification test, be sure to read my colleague’s blog post regarding how to prep for your exam.

You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Shift3

Shift3 Technologies is made up of brilliant, certified Salesforce admins and developers; we’re proud to have each of them on our team. We would love for them to prove their development prowess on your next project.

Our team uses a consultative approach to help you determine the best strategy to identify your challenges, implement appropriate solutions and enhance your systems. Frustrated with Salesforce? Learn to love it again with our 3-part blog series. For a free consultation, email info@shift3tech.com today.

This post was written by Melissa Varela, a Certified Salesforce Admin, teacher at heart and believer that Salesforce truly makes people’s lives easier. Melissa has become a regular contributor to the Shift3 Technologies blog and is currently a key presenter for the California Trailblazer Series.

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