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Progressing Your Career as a Salesforce Developer in 2021

Many people will be thinking about how they can progress their career as a Salesforce Developer in the next 12 months. This may mean moving up a role in your job title from a junior developer to a developer, or from a developer to a senior developer. It may mean gaining new certifications or just learning more about a specific feature you have not worked with before to play a bigger role in upcoming or ongoing projects. In this blog we will discuss some of the actions you can take to progress your career this year. Gain a New Certification Perhaps the most obvious thing you can do to progress your career this year is to gain a new certification. Salesforce currently have 6 certifications focussed on developers covering the core platform as well as Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud. For new and more junior developers, getting your Platform App Builder and Platform Developer I certifications under your belt should be a priority, as these will not only ensure you have a great baseline understanding of the platform but many employers also now have these as prerequisites for further promotion. What if you already have these or are a more experienced mid-level developer? I would highly recommend looking at the (relatively) new JavaScript Developer I certification. I teach the certification preparation and accompanying Lightning Web Components course for this with Salesforce, and can say hand on heart that studying for this exam will ensure that you have both a concrete understanding of the basics of JavaScript as well as a good working knowledge of writing Lightning Web Components. The Platform Developer II certification is also extremely useful for solidifying your understanding of Apex and the core platform and should be strongly considered if you want to show you truly understand how the core platform works. Finally, consider differentiating yourself from the crowd with the Marketing Cloud Developer, B2C Commerce Developer, MuleSoft Developer or Heroku Architecture Designer certifications. Whilst the JavaScript Developer I exam may still be fairly rare, these certifications are rarer in general and will help you stand out from the crowd and expose you to a new set of technologies and ideas that will truly help you to grow your knowledge and progress.

Join a Developer Group and Share Your Knowledge Speaking of exposing yourself to new ideas, one of the best ways of doing this is to attend a developer group and learn what others are doing. There are now hundreds of Trailblazer Community Groups across the globe and it is easy to start one near you if there is not one already. These groups are a great way to meet new people, hear from others about what they are doing, and broaden your view of what can be done with the platform (and how best to do it). Not only will all this extra knowledge help you to potentially progress in your current role, but they are a great place to network and meet new people who may be looking to hire. I have personally found 3 roles through the community and have either hired or helped get hired dozens more through introductions and community contacts. A great way of getting noticed is to share what you think or have been working on as well. Speaking at events looks great on a CV and will get your name out there helping you move on to a new role should that be the best way for you to progress.

Work on a Side Project When you want to speak at an event, what should you speak about? How do you get ideas or allow yourself to work with a part of the platform or piece of technology you haven’t used before? Easy – work on a side project! It is really easy to start building something that is just a basic idea and have it balloon from there. I have given a number of Dreamforce talks on topics such as Machine Learning with Apex, Virtual Reality and Microservices/Event Driven Architectures. All of those started as little side projects to allow me to test features out and grew into talks I was able to deliver at Dreamforce. You can also assist on existing open source projects on the side as well to help deliver features you want to see and grow your knowledge. You may even be able to bring what you have learned and implemented into your work to help you improve your daily life and become a more valuable team member.

Take a Course and Read a Book There are many courses and books available out there aimed at helping you get up to speed with a concept, platform feature, or understand the platform at a deeper level. I have used a number of these myself and own a variety of great books which have really helped me to take time to sit and think about what the author is saying. You don’t always have to agree with what they are saying, but just taking the time to read through it, understand the process and what they are conveying can help you get into the mind of someone who has previously worked through a problem. This is why I wrote my latest book, Mastering Apex Programming, as I wanted to help Salesforce Developers understand how and when they should use specific features, as well as the thought process of working with them. My aim was not to replace the documentation or the other great books out there, but to help address common questions I had heard from the community:

  • How do I decide what tool to use?

  • How do I make my code easier to debug and less error prone?

  • How do I make my code more performant and scale better?

Along with many others. If you are looking to become a more senior developer and better understand the Apex language and its features then it was written for you. For courses, there is the Trailhead Academy for official Salesforce training, as well as great content and courses on sites like Udemy and Pluralsight to name but a few. These courses are a fantastic way of getting to learn at your own pace from an expert to level up your skillset to help you in progressing your career.

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