Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’ve got Leah McGowen-Hare, Senior Director of Trailblazer Storytelling and Developer Evangelism, to talk about what it’s like to move from Developer to Admin.
More about this podcast: Leah’s journey to learn more about the declarative side of the platform, why knowing both sides of the platform makes you a superhero, and what you can do to sharpen your skills.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Leah McGowen-Hare.
How the other half lives.
Usually, you hear about Admins picking up more coding skills and gradually transitioning toward becoming a Developer. However, Leah went the other way and went from being a Developer into being an Administrator. She was coming from a background as a developer instructor but Salesforce was a bit different: “I came from on-premise Peoplesoft,” Leah says, “I had to really let go of the fact that I couldn’t see the database, that I wasn’t writing SQL. It was very different for me but, in the long run, it made me a better developer.”
“I was receiving great scores teaching,” Leah says, “and Salesforce wanted to leverage my teaching ability on the Admin side.” She decided to give it a try and see how it went. “I remember when I first unbuttoned the Customize menu and realized there was a whole other world that I didn’t know about— it was like rolling out a carpet.”
Finding the Whys of business processes.
“Learning something and teaching it are two very different things,” Leah says. In ADM 201 there were a lot of requirements for record types, you needed to have processes first, “so it really made me to learn about the sales process, which I didn’t know about when I was on the Developer side.” As an instructor, she needed to be able to then explain that to someone else, so she needed to understand the Whys behind each thing.
“What’s the difference in all of these Opportunity statuses, and why would I customize those picklist values? It was a big process in learning but it wasn’t just the technology at that point, it was what made sense or why would you do that.” Looking back on that learning journey, Leah thinks that it’s important for everybody to be able to tie what they’re doing to a business use case because then they can understand the bigger picture, the Why of what they’re doing.
Taking stock of the bigger picture and the power of the declarative.
“As a Developer, you must know the declarative,” Leah says, “it’s not nice to know, you must know about it.” Otherwise, you end up writing triggers for things that you can just do with process automation. “My first default is to write code, but we all know that once you write code it needs to be maintained, you have to write test code in order to deploy it,” she says, but you don’t need to do those things if you can accomplish that task declaratively. For a Developer, it can boost your productivity by leaps and bounds.
The best way for a curious Developer to get started is through Trailhead. You can get Admin Certified, or even start on the path towards getting certified. “If you combine the power of the declarative with your development skills, you are just a superhero,” Leah says.
On the flipside, if you’re an Admin who is not in the coding world, it’s also worth it to start learning whatever you can about development. “Know what is possible, and how what you do declaratively impacts the development side,” Leah says. It makes you a more awesome Salesforce Admin because you’re able to understand more about the broader context of how your work impacts the application.
- Developer Beginner Trail – https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/trails/force_com_dev_beginner
- Admin Intermediate Trail – https://trailhead.salesforce.com/trails/force_com_admin_intermediate
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