When I took my last exam at college, I thought I was done – no more exams. Little did I know at the time that I’d end up in IT and would take more exams (and continue to do so) than during my college life.
I used to work in the Siebel/Oracle CRM space before, I fell into the Siebel bandwagon in 2001 and rode it until 2010. Then I switched to Salesforce and what a refreshing change it was.
Salesforce is a hot topic right now and will probably stay that way for at least the next 5 years. I don’t think any technology will ever last forever, so it is definitely possible Salesforce might experience a slow death, just like Siebel. At this point however, I can’t see that happening in the near (5-year) future.
In technology you have to stay marketable, you have to stay ahead of change. Enjoy the Salesforce ride, but don’t rest, watch what’s going on out there, keep an eye open, be curious and keep learning. What you already know from other CRMs and/or programming languages, what you’re learning with Salesforce, these are concepts, languages, skills that are transferable to the Salesforce of the future. Keep learning!
Siebel was HOT in the early noughties.. but it was overpriced, labor-intensive, and taxing on the local IT infrastructure.
Salesforce is so much better than that.
The user interface is very clean and simple and it takes very little time to make changes and have something to show.
A lot can be done via button-click administration, even automation such as automatically creating tasks, sending emails, or making field updates.
The next step is Visual Workflow, which still is button-clicky, but allows you do a little more advanced programming, such as looping through records, creating, updating, querying, and even deleting records.
The more hard-core developers can use Salesforce’s Apex programming language. If you know other object-oriented languages, it is not that big a leap. Some of the quirks of Apex include governor limits, which forces you to be more efficient in your coding. Also, code cannot be migrated from a development environment, until you have reached at least 75% test coverage.
This is another checkpoint to ensure your code is efficient.
The beauty of Salesforce also lies in its user community. There is a lot of help out there, from Salesforce’s own developer community and user forum to a gazillion blogs by Salesforce administrators and developers.
Between the developer community message boards and Youtube and Salesforce blogs you’re really just a few Google searches away from solving any issue.
The community is more than happy to chime in with suggestions or entire solutions, even when it comes to coding.
Another nice touch is that anyone can get a free developer org set up that comes with 2 user licenses and *full functionality*. That means you can build everything and anything and test it out and dump it.
Being a developer org there are some limitations, of course (e.g. number of mass emails to send, available storage space), but it makes for a great playground.
Here’s a link to a Salesforce-provided page of training documents tutorials with step-by-step instructions on how to build an app, write Apex code, build Visualforce pages (cf. Salesforce dynamic HTML), understand security concepts etc.
You can get proficient fairly quickly, but you will have to put in a considerable amount of time to become an expert.
Consider also Salesforce’s free Trailhead training modules: