You signed up for Vetforce and Trailhead and now you are not sure what to do next. You are not alone, the list of career options and paths are a lot to take in: developer, admin, marketing, multiple types of consultant and business analysts. The most common question I get is “which one do I choose?” I can say, without hesitation, that you should start the admin trail, regardless of what your ultimate goals might be.
The admin certification is the foundation of of your Salesforce knowledge and career no matter if your eventual goal is to become a Advanced Developer or Certified Technical Architect. The admin certification is also a requirement for any of the consultant level certifications. If you are using Vetforce, I believe the decision is made for you and you must earn the admin certification before the developer path is open to you.
One of the keys to success on the Salesforce platform is how extendable it is without writing code. If you are a developer new to Salesforce this means that non-developers can impact your software. Even if you have a strong background in object oriented programing you will want to understand how a junior admin can break your code with a poorly tested validation rule.
The multileveled Salesforce security model is something else you have to understand to work effectively on the platform. If you are designing or implementing solutions you must understand how to use, roles, profiles, permission sets and public groups.
Perhaps the most important reason for a developer to understand the declarative (clicks rather than code) side of the platform is determine when not to code. Is the only thing needed a simple field update? No problem -work flow rules or a process builder to the rescue. Do you need to work with arrays and create and delete records? Maybe a flow is an option.
Understanding when a to use a formula field or a roll up summary vs writing a a new class and method will speed your development process, allowing you to get your product to your users or faster and minimize the maintenance costs that come with programmatic solutions. If a user needs to the understand how discounting effects their margin a simple formula field will get you there much faster than coding a new method to do the same thing. Below is an example of this business case implemented in a formula and in code. And remember the programmatic solution still needs a trigger or another class to call it and unit tests. In Salesforce unit tests are a requirement. You can’t deploy code into production without them. No code coverage? No Deployment.
No matter where your career on the Salesforce platform takes you understanding how to be an Awesome Admin is the first step.