Dreamforce 2014 Session – From Admin to Developer

I unexpectedly spoke at Dreamforce last October. My colleagues at CRM Science had submitted a number of sessions over the summer, and a handful of them were accepted. In order to give all the members of our team an equal chance to speak, we shuffled around our resources. I ended up with the “From Admin to Developer” session with my coworker Matt.

Matt had been a Salesforce admin for years prior to becoming a developer at CRM Science, and for the most part, he was still learning. The session was going to be mostly about him describing the tools and websites he was currently using to become a developer. So what could someone like me – who had never been an admin – offer to the session?

Well, the very first thing that impressed me with Salesforce was the way they had translated fundamental Object Oriented Programming concepts into very easy-to-use declarative tools. I remember having a very hard time understanding objects and properties when I was first introduced to them in high school. So seeing the way the Salesforce team translated these concepts into custom objects and fields without any coding from the end users immediately earned my respect for the platform.

I have also held the controversial stance that only certain people can code, not everyone. Everyone has different skills, but only people who can understand basic mechanics and algebra can actually become developers.

And then it struck me that this was exactly the kind of audience we would be speaking to. Salesforce admins know how to use declarative tools, and those declarative tools were essentially OOP concepts wrapped up in a nice graphical interface. Therefore, these Salesforce admins have the skills needed to become a developer, they just did not know it yet.

That is the angle I went with for my half of the session, and I am very happy with the way it turned out. So click here to see the video of our presentation.

PS – Salesforce announced Trailhead just days after we gave this talk, so now I fully recommend going through that if you are looking to become a developer.