Salesforce DevOps Career Guide 2021
Salesforce average salaries and career paths are both hot topics, and for good reason! There’s no doubt that Salesforce professionals are deserving of their compensation – they carry out a core function by customizing and building on the Salesforce orgs that are at the heart of their companies’ sales and business operations.
The same goes for DevOps professionals working in the Salesforce ecosystem. DevOps helps businesses get the most out of their Salesforce investment by making it possible for teams to deliver a continuous stream of added value to end users. Salesforce professionals with DevOps expertise are in huge demand. We found that, on average, across all DevOps processes, 85% of teams already use or plan to adopt them in 2021. So it’s no surprise that DevOps knowledge is highly valued!
How much do Salesforce DevOps professionals earn, and how do you find out? What are the career paths available when specialising in DevOps? SalesforceBen.com has been enabling admins, developers, consultants and marketers with these statistics for a number of years, but this is the first time the focus has turned to Salesforce DevOps.
Who are Salesforce DevOps Professionals? – Roles and Responsibilities
DevOps is all about empowering everyone on a team with the tools and processes they need to collaborate effectively and drive new work through the development and release pipeline. Everyone building on Salesforce will need to understand DevOps, in fact, 62% of teams reported that they plan to train up their current workforce on DevOps practices to meet the challenges they face.
Within this workflow, there are often specific DevOps roles and responsibilities, especially in larger teams with more complex processes.
Administrators work alongside developers within the same DevOps process and help keep development and production environments in sync by deploying declarative changes between orgs and source control. They are often responsible for monitoring changes made to orgs and rolling back mistakes.
Developers use automated DevOps processes to test, validate and push code changes through the pipeline, keeping a steady stream of work ready for release. They are also responsible for syncing environments, seeding sandboxes and restoring functionality from data and metadata in the event that anything goes wrong.
QA engineers check that newly developed features and customizations meet user, technical and business requirements. They are responsible for executing tests, including UI testing, and make sure that code conforms to best practice as well as data compliance and security.
Release managers typically work as part of larger teams and are responsible for streamlining the release process. They have complete visibility over the team’s orgs and act as the gate-keepers for deployments, making sure the team’s releases run smoothly.
Architects and team leads develop agile DevOps practices and source-driven workflows for everyone to contribute as seamlessly as possible using the team’s DevOps tools and integrated project management software. They are responsible for DevOps performance and aim to increase the team’s frequency and reliability of releases.
Roles and job titles vary from company to company. But, for the purposes of this guide, we will use the following definitions:
Junior DevOps: 0 – 2 years experience (possibly up to 3 years),
Mid-level DevOps: 2 – 4 years experience,
Senior DevOps: 5+ years experience.
You will find a more extensive list of responsibilities for each level below, where we explore seniority in more detail, see Experience (Seniority).
Where do Salesforce DevOps Professionals Work?
So where do Salesforce DevOps professionals work? The answer: everywhere! Salesforce DevOps is becoming the way to practice modern release management, and every team building on Salesforce should be striving to implement a good DevOps process.
This is especially important for organizations that want to gain agility with faster and more frequent releases. When we gathered data on release velocity, almost 50% of teams release at least once per week, while just 10% release less often than once per month. That’s already significant coverage for organizations where DevOps practices are essential.
Demand for DevOps Professionals
As Salesforce DevOps is becoming more prevalent, it’s increasingly important for all Salesforce professionals to develop relevant skills and experience. DevOps know-how is a key way of progressing your career because many companies are looking to upskill their existing workforce. Some who started out as admins have become developers and then release managers, thanks to DevOps tools and expertise.
As the demand for Salesforce development grows, the need for Salesforce DevOps professionals also grows. Increased demand on the existing team was, by far, the greatest challenge Salesforce teams faced in 2020 (51% of respondents agreed); coupled with the reported difficulties hiring (11.3%), we suspect demand is at an all-time high.
You’ll find opportunities across all industries and in teams of all shapes and sizes. Where organisations are implementing and building on Salesforce, they’ll need DevOps professionals. As a general rule, however, larger release teams are more likely to be practicing or introducing DevOps practices, so you may find more opportunities in those larger teams that have already scaled up their Salesforce development.
Salesforce DevOps Salaries
The data in this section is from the Mason Frank Salary Survey, based on self-reported information from 1,800+ Salesforce professionals, spanning a range of job titles, industries, and geographic locations.
Salesforce DevOps Salary Factors
A single figure without context can be misleading: there will be a significant difference in the salaries based on certain factors. We will dive into the following factors in this guide:
Gaining experience is, of course, the best way to develop your career and increase your salary. DevOps professionals are responsible for ensuring Salesforce releases run smoothly and protecting the business systems that your company relies on.
Especially at larger companies, the responsibility for authorizing final releases to production will be given to experienced DevOps professionals who can pre-empt or resolve any issues speedily. These are the DevOps activities that you might be doing at different levels of experience.
0-2 years of experience (as an Admin/Developer) in a team practicing DevOps
Commiting changes to source control and opening pull requests.
Reviewing and merging each other’s work in source control.
Adding deployment notes to maintain the audit trail.
2-4 years of experience (Admin/Developer/QA/Release Manager) in a larger team.
Setting up, monitoring and improving DevOps processes: CI/CD, test automation, monitoring.
Running data deployments (sandbox seeding) to test features.
Running final releases to production and rolling back or restoring if anything goes wrong.
5+ years of experience (Team Lead) in a large, multidisciplinary teams delivering complex projects.
Overseeing the DevOps process, end to end – including backups.
Assigning team permissions and delegating access to orgs and DevOps processes.
Defining DevOps KPIs and tracking the team’s performance(typically within your DevOps tool of choice). Alongside appropriate benchmarks, the Team Lead will monitor release velocity, lead time (releasing finished work to production as quickly as possible), restore time, and change failure rate.
Reviewing developers’ code coverage (using automated unit testing) and code quality (using static code analysis).
Achieving Salesforce certifications, most notably Platform App Builder and Platform Developer, will give you a solid foundation to the challenge of deploying changes between environments, and demonstrate your awareness of concepts such as ALM and packaging.
While there are DevOps modules on Trailhead you can complete, in order to train thoroughly on Salesforce DevOps (and having the accreditations to prove you know what you’re talking about) you’ll need to look beyond.There are free courses on all things DevOps on the tool-agnostic DevOps Launchpad. This will prepare you to pass the certifications offered by third-party vendors, such as Gearset and Copado, to demonstrate your competency with their DevOps solutions.
Certifications vs. Experience?
As with all things, experience counts for more than certificates, which are often more about proving what you know already. But, arguably, in the case of Salesforce DevOps, certificates demonstrating DevOps knowledge for the Salesforce platform are possibly more valuable than general development knowledge. Salesforce DevOps certification can act as a differentiator between Salesforce professionals with DevOps expertise and those without.
Generalists vs. Specialists?
More specialized DevOps roles, such as release managers or architects with expertise in Salesforce DevOps, tend to be in demand at larger enterprises with more complex Salesforce team structures and workflows. But, in general, experience of working within a DevOps process is increasingly important for all Salesforce professionals, whether employed as admins or developers.
Ways to increase your DevOps earning potential
Now for the part you’ve been waiting for: how you can increase your earning potential. Let’s see what practical steps you can take to climb the ladder.
Become a DevOps professional:
Not all companies practice Salesforce DevOps, so step one is to convince your team to start adopting DevOps for Salesforce!
Build understanding of metadata types and keep an eye on Salesforce’s quarterly releases.
Get involved with the Salesforce DevOps community. Join the Salesforce Stack Exchange. The Discord SFXD community is really great, too!
Learn about Git from Trailhead and DevOps Launchpad. Focus on how to commit changes to source control, opening pull requests, and how to review and merge each other’s work in source control.
Read the “Complete Guide to Salesforce DevOps” on SalesforceBen.com.
Start using a third-party DevOps tool. You won’t be alone, 78% of teams currently use, or are planning to adopt an automated Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) workflow this year.
Go from Junior → Mid-level DevOps professional:
Get familiar with DevOps workflows. Setting up, monitoring and improving CI/CD, test automation, monitoring.
Learn about Git-branching strategies.
Get to grips with what Salesforce DX has to offer.
Start running data deployments (sandbox seeding) to test features, running final releases to production (and rolling back or restoring if anything goes wrong!)
Attend events about DevOps for the Salesforce platform.
Pass a DevOps accreditation on the DevOps Launchpad or a Salesforce DevOps certification from third-party vendors, such as Gearset and Copado.
Go from Mid-level → Senior DevOps professional:
Build your understanding of the whole DevOps process, end-to-end.
Be knowledgeable on DevOps KPIs such as release velocity, lead time (releasing finished work to production as quickly as possible), restore time, and change failure rate. Be able to monitor your team’s performance by setting appropriate benchmarks based on organization trends, and industry-wide figures (read industry reports on the state of DevOps to discover what figures make solid benchmarks to surpass average performers, and excel as elite performers)
Supervise how your team recovers from mistakes and disasters: rollbacks, hotfixes, and restoring from backups.
Master packaging and versioning.