Ask This Question When Hiring a Salesforce Developer

When you hire someone to work in your home as a contractor, you make sure they have the right credentials and licensing. But when you’re hiring a Salesforce developer for custom work, it’s not always so easy to tell which credentials are important to look out for.

Salesforce developers certainly don’t choose this specific area of expertise in college. In fact, many developers in all fields learn their skills in unconventional ways. But while there is no single pathway to become a competent, successful developer, some Salesforce developers will be less qualified for the toughest custom jobs.

So how can you tell if someone is the right fit for your Salesforce customization needs? Ask this question:

“Do you develop outside of Salesforce as well?”

As a common enterprise application that can touch many parts of a business, entire teams are often devoted to managing a company’s Salesforce instance. From Salesforce administrator to business analyst to project manager, there are multiple entry points to a career working with Salesforce—many of which are fairly accessible to anyone with technical experience.

A Salesforce administrator has the power to make changes to a company’s instance using various point-and-click features. However, without experience as a developer, they’ll hit a snag when a needed solution requires using code rather than configuration.

Sometimes, an eager Salesforce admin with a knack for the technical will take it upon themselves to learn the ropes. They may become familiar with the basic code needed to create Lightning components or work with Apex classes. They might even take a course through Salesforce or an external site.

After some experience with Salesforce development, they decide to take it on as a career. So why should you be wary of developers whose experience begins and ends with Salesforce?

When the problem goes deeper than surface-level

A new developer who cuts their teeth on Salesforce certainly has in-depth knowledge of the product. They can solve some common customization challenges with research and basic coding skills.

But Salesforce can be a pain to work with—even to the most experienced developer. Customizations and integrations can break other components unexpectedly and there are many undocumented “gotchas” to be aware of. If someone’s coding background is limited to experiences with Salesforce, they’ll be less likely to get to the root of the problem and provide solutions that make sense for your specific business challenge.

Developers who also work outside of the platform are able to assess and diagnose problems with a trained eye. That foundational understanding of software principles and best practices qualifies them to get beneath the surface-level issues and innovate creative solutions. This is something the average self-taught Salesforce developer cannot achieve.

Additional qualities to look for when hiring a Salesforce developer

When you need a thoughtful approach to Salesforce customization, outside coding experience is certainly not the only quality to look for.

  • Inquisitive - A good developer questions everything. If they don’t seem curious or eager to learn more details about your project, your engagement is unlikely to produce innovative results.

  • Can speak to the downsides of Salesforce - Competent Salesforce developers should understand that things don’t always go according to plan. They may acknowledge some of the pitfalls of the development environment and be able to speak to these challenges as needed.

  • Engages your team - For larger projects, a developer should continuously check in with progress and next steps. This feedback loop is what contributes to a project’s success. Anyone who plans to deliver a product weeks or months later with no back-and-forth from your team is not planning to spend the requisite time to get the project right the first time around.

Need an experienced developer for your Salesforce customization? At Restless Labs, we spend sleepless nights thinking about your projects so you don’t have to.

So sleep well. Dream big. And contact Restless Labs for your next Salesforce project.

Brad Bisinger Principal Consultant