12 min read

As per a recent IDC study, the forecast for new jobs demanding Salesforce skills shows a huge surge from last year. The numbers reveal that the demand is set to create 3.3 million jobs in the Salesforce ecosystem by 2022.  Additionally, among Indeed’s top 10 best jobs include Salesforce-specific, Salesforce Administrator ranking 4th and Salesforce Developer ranking at 6th place.

Though Salesforce admins are not developers, but they create easy-to-use dashboards, intelligent workflows and applications for any project. They keep the Salesforce users happy and business processes smart, hence they are high in demand. Companies, especially in the US, know the potential and value Salesforce admins bring and are making serious human capital investments. We recently interviewed, Enrico Murru, a Solution and Technical Architect, a platinum Salesforce partner and Salesforce MVP to discuss the Salesforce ecosystem, his Salesforce expert journey, various certifications for Salesforce admins, and how they enhance their careers.

Enrico is the author of the latest edition of our book, Salesforce Advanced Administrator Guide. This guide extends beyond being an administrator certification and covers advanced platform features and functions such as configuration, automation, security, and customization. It is packed with exam-oriented questions and mock tests to help you earn advanced administrator credentials.

On the Salesforce ecosystem and Enrico’s journey to becoming a Salesforce MVP

As per a recent 10K Advisors research, the Salesforce ecosystem is innovating faster than the talent can keep pace. This has resulted in great career opportunities but also introduced challenges for Salesforce end-users. How is Salesforce dealing with the challenges? How can administrators and developers leverage growth opportunities in Salesforce?

When I started working with Salesforce about 10 years ago, I had never heard about the Salesforce ecosystem in my life: honestly Italy was not a hot market at that time, that’s why my (small at the time) company had a chance to work with big customers…we were among the few Salesforce system integrators in our whole country, after all.

About 4 to 5 years ago things changed dramatically and Italy finally aligned with the rest of the world: Salesforce was in high demand among all kinds of companies (small or huge, no difference). The Italian market is one of the fastest growing; we started growing more and more due to increasing number of customers joining us but we started suffering from lack of professionals.

We built an internal academy but it wasn’t enough, we still needed (and currently need) more developers, administrators and business analysts, the demand has exceeded the supply!

The amount of “free to access documentation” is huge, the Salesforce Ohana has produced tons of content with blogs, webinars and tens of books.

When Salesforce delivered Trailhead to the world we all had a boost in training: learning Salesforce became ever easier!

No surprise the number of people getting certified has increased drastically, and it’s not uncommon now to see people with 5, 10 or 20 certifications on their career backpack: you don’t need to stay hours and hours with your head in a book, now you can learn 15 minutes a time when you are free between your working tasks.

This is a HUGE revolution: learn a bit often and you keep yourself always on the trail, for free!

From now on, anyone can become a Salesforce trailblazer and start building their trail: a lot of people have decided to change jobs and dipped into the Salesforce world with few to no experience in computer science.

However when it’s time to get a certification, especially when it is your first certification, Trailhead is not enough: you need some real-world experience (no Trailhead can prepare you enough, experience is an amazing fuel for increasing your overall knowledge).

A book can be a good compromise to boost your knowledge while giving you the right amount of experience that the author melt on each topic, and that’s why I chose to start this amazing trail with Packt: I wanted to do something I’ve never done before (writing a book) while delivering then Ohana more chances to pass a certification…I guess this is a win-win situation!

How did you start your journey of becoming a Salesforce expert? Did being a Java developer, help you in some way? What motivated you to make the choice?

Good question and the answer is that I have to thank the randomness that we can encounter daily on our lives (we can call it destiny, if you prefer).

I started working as a Java developer (I came from an Electronic Engineering MSc) for a small company in my local town (Cagliari, Italy).

After a while I got bored of what I was doing (boredom is a fuel for me) then I decided to move to Ireland. I got immediately the day after I landed in Cork a new job with a great income (compared to what I was earning in Italy)…but I was not 100% sure if I wanted to move abroad and that’s why I rejected that position and got back to Italy (some say it was an act of cowardice, I partially agree but I was not ready to change my life so much at that time).

After just 2 months from my return home, my boss told me about a new opportunity: moving to northern Italy to join WebResults, a small company (we were just 15 people, including the CEO and CTO) that worked with something called “Salesforce”. I accepted the challenge and moved for 6 months with my spouse-to-be to WebResults headquarters: I discovered the world of Salesforce and I immediately fell in love with it. In a few weeks I learnt all that I needed to start my journey as a Salesforce developer.

Years to come, I’m still working with WebResults (that in the meanwhile has been acquired by Engineering Spa, the greatest Italian consultant company) as a Salesforce Solution and Technical Architect (the amount of time I spend on coding at work has dramatically dropped unfortunately) and with the honorable Salesforce MVP title I try to evangelize my company and all the Salesforce Ohana buddies anyway I can!

So if you ask me if my Java dev position helped me to arrive where I am, the answer is “definitely yes” but there is a lot more in the story!

On various Salesforce certifications and why he wrote a book

There are many certifications available for beginners as well as for experienced CRM developers. How should one go about choosing them? How do different Salesforce certification programs enhance a developer’s career?

If you want to start your journey with Salesforce you have to choose primarily among the following paths (more details at https://trailhead.salesforce.com/credentials/administratoroverview, but you can build your own trail!):

  • Administrator
  • Developer
  • Marketer
  • Consultant
  • Architect

In my experience any aspiring Salesforce consultant should start from bases, even though she is a skilled business analysts with 20 years of experience: you need to know how the Salesforce Lightning Platform works and the best way is to get your hands dirty.

Whether you wanna start as an administrator or a developer, I always recommend you face administrator skills at the beginning: a good developer should be a good administrator as well!

As far as Marketer and Consultant paths are concerned, they are more related to your knowledge of specific products of the platform such as Marketing Cloud, Pardot, Field Service, Community Cloud, Einstein Analytics and many others.

The Architect path brings you to the Mount Olympus of all certifications – the Technical Architect certification, which any Salesforce trailblazer aspire to get one day (and I’m one of them).

Some think that owning a Salesforce certification doesn’t necessarily indicate your proficiency in the technologies involved but I do not agree with them. When I tried to get the Salesforce Advanced Administrator exam I really thought I had the required skills to pass but I failed…why? Because I didn’t study some of the topics and I wasn’t that skilled on such topics either (you’ll read this story in the book as well). That’s why I needed hours of study to pass the exam, and thanks to that deep study I learnt new Salesforce stuff and increased my proficiency in features I hadn’t actually ever used, making me the “most skilled” guy in my company regarding Omni-Channel or Salesforce Knowledge. This is an absolute win for both you and your company: certifications are meant to make you a trailblazer.

Needless to say headhunters really love Salesforce certifications (my owning 20 certifications  attracts tens of contact requests on my social channels).

Your book, Salesforce Advanced Administrator Certification Guide promises to give administrators a deeper knowledge of advanced Salesforce features for administrators. Why should one read this book? How is it different from other available Salesforce certification guides in the market?

At first I want to say that the Salesforce Advanced Administrator Certification is a bit mistreated by administrators (as far as I’ve seen in my career): it is usually considered too hard or too complex for the skills you earn…”after all I’m already an administrator why should I become an advanced administrator”? You should my friend, the amount of things you learn is really huge, you’ll keep playing with features such as Lightning Knowledge, Omni-Channel, Live Chat, Lightning Content, features that maybe you’ve never used before, or exploring in depth the world of Salesforce automation with Process Builder, Lightning Flows, Entitlements and Approvals or knowing everything related to security and sharing of records (and many many more).

Why should you choose this book? It covers extensively all required topics for the Salesforce Advanced Administrator certification keeping in mind the requirements for the exam as well. While the number of topics is too large for us to cover anything and everything for each topic, you’ll get a good amount of knowledge, suggestions and external references to ensure you reach the Salesforce Advanced Administrator certification goal.

On the challenges faced by Salesforce administrators

What are some of the challenges faced by Salesforce administrators today? How is Salesforce as a platform helping overcome these challenges? Can Salesforce administrators become developers too and vice versa? What is next for Salesforce?

The biggest challenge that Salesforce admins face day after day is keeping pace with the extraordinarily growing Salesforce ecosystems: new companies join the Lightning Platform and new features are delivered release after release. It is more than mandatory that consultant companies and, in general, IT divisions reserve a percentage of their employees time for continuous learning, to allow Salesforce admins and devs to stay on track with the changing environment. Learning is a cost for sure, when you study you are not productive, but the benefits of a skilled and always on top employee overtakes its cost.

And I see no obstacles for administrators to start their developer path as well: all they need is passion, curiosity and patience, Rome wasn’t built in a day and your developer skills won’t for sure.

Trailhead is the starting point for any career path and I guess in the coming years we’ll see artificial intelligence absolutely stealing the show in Salesforce world and so admins should be prepared for the revolution that is taking place year after year.

On making an impact in the Salesforce community

You have created highly popular Salesforce browser extensions like ORGanizer. Tell us about how this came about? What does it take to build such successful products? Are you working on or planning to work on similar projects now?

I said that boredom is my fuel: when I get bored I usually start a new project or a new hobby, and ORGanizer for Salesforce Chrome & Firefox extension (available at https://organizer.enree.co) is no different. It started as a personal project to ease my daily work with Salesforce projects, by adding little features that could speed up my administrative and coding tasks, while increasing my overall productivity. Then I thought, why not deliver this cool thing to my Salesforce Ohana?

That’s where I believe the community took notice of me and it has remained one of the main reasons for my Salesforce MVP nomination.

After the cool experience of writing a book, which is something that has been on my check list since I was a child, I have a few side projects related to Salesforce with some trailblazer friends, that I believe will have a great impact on the Ohana. And, why not, perhaps another book in 2020?

Author Bio

Enrico Murru is a Solution and Technical Architect at WebResults (an engineering company), an Italian platinum Salesforce partner, and an Independent Software Vendor (ISV). He has completed his MSc in Electronic Engineering at the University of Cagliari in 2007.

In 2013, he launched a blog named Nerd @ Work. In 2016, he was nominated as the first Italian Salesforce MVP for his commitment to the Salesforce community. Then over the course of 3 years, Murru gained 20 Salesforce certifications, including the Salesforce Technical Architect certification. In 2016, he started one of the most popular projects, the ORGanizer for Salesforce Chrome and Firefox extension.

You can follow him on Twitter @Enreeco, LinkedIn, GitHub, Trailblazer Community as well as on his personal blog page.

Are you planning to embark on the journey of being a Salesforce Advanced Administrator? Confused about the various Salesforce certification programs and don’t know what to choose? Grab this book right now! The Salesforce Advanced Administrator Certification Guide will help you master data access security, monitoring and auditing, and understanding best practices for handling change management and data across organizations.

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Being a Senior Content Marketing Editor at Packt Publishing, I handle vast array of content in the tech space ranging from Data science, Web development, Programming, Cloud & Networking, IoT, Security and Game development. With prior experience and understanding of Marketing I aspire to grow leaps and bounds in the Content & Digital Marketing field. On the personal front I am an ambivert and love to read inspiring articles and books on life and in general.