Tips for Becoming a Salesforce Admin6 min read
Before starting my career as a Salesforce administrator, I had never even heard of Salesforce. I was just some kid who went to a trade school and worked at Best Buy. One day my dad had told me about this software that he was working with called Salesforce. He told me how you didn't need a college degree, no schooling. All you needed was the dedication to learning the software and $200 to pass the exam. Now that sounded too good to be true, and if something is too good to be true, it's not real, right? Well, that's what I originally thought until I looked into Salesforce and found out that a career at Salesforce is one of the best-kept open secrets in the tech space. So I went ahead and found the Trailhead study guides, completed those, and then passed my Salesforce Certified Administrator exam. You may ask what I got in return for my hard work and exam fee? I earned my Salesforce Certified Administrator certification allowing me to start my career as a Salesforce consultant here at CloudAnswers.
Why become a Salesforce Administrator?
There are many reasons to become a Salesforce Administrator, and the timing has never been better to jump into the industry. A recent study conducted by Salesforce has found that the Salesforce economy will create 9.3 million jobs and 1.6 trillion in new business revenues by 2026. With entry-level admins earning more than the average college graduate, it's a no-brainer to pursue a career in the Salesforce ecosystem. The average starting salary for someone with a 4-year degree is $55,200, whereas the average starting salary for a Salesforce Administrator is $69,713. I think the numbers speak for themselves, not that one shouldn't pursue a college degree. Still, it's good to know for people who are considering college or considering a career change and want to get into a growing and exciting field.
On top of the salary and career growth, another benefit is that most of the jobs are fully remote, which means flexible work and lifestyle, allowing you to work literally anywhere you want. If you pursue a career in Salesforce, just know your admin certification is just your starting point. You can then branch off into many other roles and specialize within the industry. There are many options. You can become a developer, architect, solution engineer, business analyst, or even continue with your admin career by getting the Advanced Administrator certification. But step by step, first: where to start?
Where to start?
If you're lucky, you're someone who is considering this career switch with some background knowledge, having been on the end-user side of Salesforce. If, like me, you're jumping right in entirely fresh, having never used it, you will have a more difficult time doing so, but it is by no means impossible. Whether you have experience in Salesforce or not, the first and best place to start is the official Salesforce Admin Trailhead. Trailhead is a great place to learn. Once you finish the Admin Trail, I highly recommend poking around and finding other trails, especially if there are things that you found yourself struggling with or if there are things that you are interested in.
The best way to get ready for taking your Salesforce Admin certification exam after completing the Trailhead is to go ahead and complete supplemental courses offered by 3rd parties. The courses I recommend are the Mike Wheeler Salesforce Admin course on Udemy. He does a fantastic job of going deep dive in a lecture-style about all the things you should know to pass the exam and that you'll use on the job, and the best resource that I've found by far is FocusonForce. Between the study guide and then the practice tests they have with unlimited retakes, it is by far the best and most informational resource for getting ready for one's Salesforce Admin exam. Salesforce does offer a practice test for $20 PER practice test, and it is good to take that at least once before taking the real thing.
Things I wish I had known before starting my first Salesforce Admin job. There is no way one person can know everything about Salesforce, especially when you're just starting your career with Salesforce. Specific additional features of Salesforce will vary depending on what organization you end up working for and what they use for their business needs.
Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ)
One of the many things I wish I knew before starting my career and the biggest is CPQ, which stands for Configure, Price, and Quote. CPQ is HUGE, and if the organization you start your career with doesn't use it, there is a good chance it's only a matter of time before they do. CPQ, on the basic level, is a highly accurate quoting software, and it is highly customizable, which is what makes it so powerful and critical to many organizations. CPQ allows you to configure one-time product purchases, subscription purchases, and customizable discounts for SKUs depending on what bundle is included in the quote. That's another thing with CPQ, bundles. Not to get too much into it in this article, just know that CPQ allows you to configure, let's say, the purchase of a new air conditioner, to always include a labor SKU for installation, which means that's less thinking for the sales rep and ensures that a product requiring installation is never sold without it. That's a pretty basic example, but it helps you get the idea of what it can do. I highly recommend checking out the Salesforce CPQ Trailmix to get your hands on CPQ and get familiar with the software.
Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP)
Another aspect of Salesforce that I wish I had familiarized myself with is NPSP, Salesforce's Nonprofit Success Pack because there are some key differences. Some of you may argue that it may be a waste of time to learn NPSP if you're not going into the nonprofit sector. However, I would say one still should because it's never wrong to know more things, and you can use this knowledge to help organizations when you volunteer, which gives you more experience as an administrator.
If you take any piece of information from this article, it would be to spend some serious time learning how to use Excel. Get comfortable with formulas and manipulating data within them. Something that isn't truly emphasized is how often and intimately you will be working in spreadsheets. As an administrator, you will be handling a lot of data, and the more comfortable and capable you are at managing it, the better time you will have starting out because it is an integral part of the job.
There has never been a better time to pursue a Salesforce career, and thankfully with the way the industry is growing, that statement will ring true for years to come. But why wait for years to come when you can change your life today? Start learning for free on Trailhead and get on the path to a life-changing career.
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