Today's high-speed business world requires that companies have a complete, organized view of all their clientele at their sales teams' disposal. Customer relationship management (CRM) software like Salesforce gives them that view.
With over 150,000 companies relying on its software, Salesforce is a top-tier tech business that fuels various industries. While some platform developers work in other businesses with the Salesforce product rather than with the actual company, those seeking a Salesforce position need a special set of skills.
This article explains what a Salesforce developer does, what skills and experience they should have, and how much they typically earn. Whether you're hoping to hire a Salesforce developer for the team or become more familiar with the role, this article will explain what it takes to succeed in the position.
What Is Salesforce Development?
Salesforce developers are full-stack developers who work with the Salesforce platform's customer and system-facing components. They use the Salesforce platform on Force.com, Lightning App Builder, and Heroku to build or improve upon new or existing software functionalities, and their tools include Apex, the Visualforce and Lightning frameworks, SQL/SOQL, and more.
Since their product is a circumspect CRM system that helps businesses engage with their clients more effectively, Salesforce developers must also account for changing business needs as they build new functionalities into their platform. Their developer career pathways can also vary significantly, as some Salesforce developers become development consultants, CRM developers, CPQ developers, integration engineers, customization developers, and more.
What Does a Salesforce Developer Do?
Salesforce developers primarily work directly with the software company itself, but since they've expanded their SaaS platform and services, you could be a developer for another company and still be considered a Salesforce developer. That makes their job description especially broad, and while the list is not exhaustive, a Salesforce developer's duties typically include:
- Designing, building, and deploying new functionalities or customize existing ones
- Testing and debugging new code to identify and resolve any defects
- Integrating Salesforce into other third-party applications
- Communicating with the client to help them understand CRM requirements
Salesforce developers often collaborate with other team members within their own company and with other clients. Another key part of being a Salesforce developer is working together in a team to design one of the industry's best CRM systems.
Salesforce Developer Skills
Salesforce developers must work with multiple platforms specific to their own company, and they're often premium talent within their field. They must not only be adept with several programming languages and have a quality educational background, but they'll need enough knowledge of the business industry to be able to design functionalities that will meet their customers' needs. And because some Salesforce developer positions entail work with other clients, leadership and interpersonal skills are always important.
Soft skills are a must in many tech positions, and Salesforce developers are no exception. They sometimes work on collaborative projects with other employees, so the ability to work well as part of a team is essential. Some of these team members are non-technical personnel, such as sales reps or marketers, so it will also be important for Salesforce developers to be able to communicate their ideas to those without a background in tech.
All developers must be able to articulate their thoughts with enough clarity that their colleagues can follow their work, so written and verbal communication skills are especially important.
In addition to the adequate soft skills requirements, Salesforce developers must also have a range of hard skills. Some hard skill requirements are:
- Educational background: A degree isn't always required, but many Salesforce developers have at least a Bachelor's degree. The most common fields are Computer Science or Software Engineering, but other degrees may also work.
- Prior experience: It's possible to sign on without prior experience, but Salesforce developers will need to have plenty of familiarity with the tools they'll be using so that they can hit the ground running. That means data visualization and modeling skills, front and back-end web design, and knowledge of CRM platforms as a whole can help. Additionally, it's helpful to have past experience as a Salesforce CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) developer.
Developers routinely face challenging scenarios where critical thinking and creative problem-solving are crucial for getting the job done, so an analytical mind that pays attention to detail is a must.
Beyond fundamental hard skills, Salesforce developers must also possess some specialized technical skills. Some of these include:
- An understanding of Search Query Language (SQL), Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL), and Salesforce Object Search Language (SOSL)
- Knowledge of object-oriented programming (OOPs) techniques
- Familiarity with application programming interfaces (APIs) and other integrations
- Experience with developing customer platforms and communities
Another essential skill that Salesforce developers must have is proficiency with the tools common to the Salesforce system. That includes knowledge of Apex techniques such as Apex Triggers, Batch Apex, and Apex DML, and fluency with Lightning Web Components will help.
Salesforce Developer Salary
The average salary for a Salesforce developer in the United States is approximately $112,000. While this figure represent a rough estimate of how much a Salesforce certified developer makes, their actual pay rate will vary based on years of experience, standard of living, geography, and a host of other factors. Their job description will also change as they move along their career path, so here's a look at the duties and pay rates of entry-level, mid-level, and senior-level Salesforce developers.
The average annual salary for an entry-level Salesforce developer in 2023 is $91,000 The median range between the 25th and 75th percentile is $69,000 to $119,000, so significant variance exists.
As with most entry-level positions, a junior Salesforce developer typically has zero to one year of experience and can be expected to do much of the "leg work" behind a product build. Some of their duties include:
- Writing large portions of code according to specifications
- Conducting QA testing on newly written code
- Executing basic Apex trigger commands and declarative changes
- Designing basic pages with Visualforce
- Documenting changes to code
Mid-level Salesforce developers have an average of four to six years of experience and should have enough expertise to be integral members of your team. Glassdoor estimates their average annual salary to be $100,000, with the median range being $76,000-$133,000. Some of their duties include:
- Working with advanced triggers (i.e., those having multiple functions, spanning multiple applications and objects, etc.)
- Performing front-end web design beyond Salesforce UI
- Integrating cybersecurity solutions to bolster security
- Using analytics and visualization tools to explain data-driven insights to supervisors
- Mentoring junior developers and implementing best practices
Senior Salesforce developers have at least five years of experience and should be leaders within their teams. The average annual salary for a senior Salesforce developer is $145,000 according to Glassdoor, with their median range being $120,000 to $177,000. Some of the duties for a senior-level Salesforce developer include:
- Solution design, i.e., "architecting"
- Project management
- Reporting to executives
- Consulting with clients for special projects
Whether you're hiring an entry-, mid-, or senior-level Salesforce developer, it's important to remember that salaries in the US are much higher than those abroad. Central American Salesforce developers have all the skills of their US counterparts, but currencies and standards of living make their salaries a fraction of the cost. That makes them an excellent alternative for companies unable to hire a US Salesforce developer.
Best Software and Programming Languages for Salesforce Developers
Salesforce developers must have an aptitude for a wide number of platforms and programming languages. Some of the most common programming languages they use are:
- Apex, Salesforce's signature language, similar to Java
- Visualforce, another Salesforce language similar to HTML
Some of the platforms that Salesforce developers use include:
- Lightning App Builder
- Lightning Aura Components
- Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL)
- Salesforce Object Search Language (SOSL)
These are the main tools of the Salesforce developer's trade, and to demonstrate their experience, your candidate may have a certification proving their expertise in many of them.
Hire a Salesforce Developer With Revelo
Salesforce is a leading-edge tech giant, and its CRM software is continually evolving to meet the needs of today's business world. Their developers are highly skilled, and while some work on improving the system, others help clients meet needs specific to their field. Whichever position you're in, a Salesforce developer may be the team member you need to bring your operations to the next level.
Revelo is a talent marketplace that links businesses with elite tech talent from across Central and Latin America, including Salesforce developers. All of our candidates are vetted to ensure that they have the expertise and communication skills needed to fit well in your environment, making them value-added members of your development team. We also handle HR services including payroll, taxes, and government compliance. Contact us today to learn what our candidates have to offer.