Main image of article Salesforce Admin Skills: Master the Essentials

If you work with Salesforce, you know it’s a big and often complicated platform. Fortunately, that complexity means companies everywhere will pay quite a bit for tech professionals who can successfully administrate it. What skills does a salesforce admin need to succeed?

The role of a Salesforce Administrator requires customizing a company’s Salesforce setup to meet very specific needs and strategies. As part of that customization, they must pay attention to everything from data privacy and security to third-party integrations and user account setup.

There’s also a large amount of automating business processes, creating essential reports and dashboards, and training users on how to use the platform effectively. Let’s dig further into essential Salesforce admin skills!

What Skills Does a Salesforce Admin Need?

In terms of technical expertise, Salesforce Administrators focus on mastering key areas, including:

  • Project management
  • User management
  • Data management
  • Business analytics
  • Process automation

“Soft skills” are equally significant. For example, communication is paramount, as administrators must explain technical complexities to multiple stakeholders, including non-technical users.

Problem-solving skills are also critical, helping admins resolve issues in a timely manner. Jim Halpin, senior unit manager, technology recruiting at LaSalle Network, explains how Salesforce has a "Trailblazer Community" which highly recommends all Salesforce professionals (of all levels) get involved in.

"Within this community, you can network with other professionals, learn more about the Salesforce platform, participate in conferences, and participate in a variety of certification programs depending on your skill level within the platform," he says.

Where can a Salesforce Admin Learn the Necessary Skills?

Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform, helps users learn the skills necessary to embark on a career path as a Salesforce admin with bite-size learning modules, hands-on projects, and more than 300 guided learning paths. 

"Trailhead allows you to learn at your own pace, follow a guide for role-specific learning, and learn from anywhere with the Trailhead GO mobile app for iOS and Android," explains Ann Weeby, senior vice president of Trailhead at Salesforce.

She points to courses that can help professionals optimize business processespractice common administrative taskslearn the basics of the Salesforce Platform and even create ethical AI systems. Business-related training is particularly important, as Salesforce admins must understand how their business actually works in order to effectively customize the system.

Do Salesforce Admins Need Degrees?

The short answer is “no,” you don’t need a degree to become a Salesforce admin. However, when applying for Salesforce admin jobs, it’s important to demonstrate that you have the right mix of skills and experience to do the job effectively. To that end:

  • Show you have experience with Salesforce: If you’re totally new to Salesforce, sign up for a free Salesforce developer edition account, which will allow you to tinker with the platform. On top of that, feel free to take Trailhead courses that interest you.
  • Take the Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam: Once you’ve built experience with Salesforce, consider taking the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam. Having this on your resume and application materials will help assure hiring managers and recruiters that you have the necessary skills for the job.
  • Connect with the Salesforce community: Connect with Salesforce admins on the Trailblazer Community and other online forums.

Weeby says that, when it comes to certifications, the primary credentials are the Salesforce Certified Administrator and the Salesforce Platform App Builder certification.

“Both serve as tangible evidence of an individual’s proficiency and knowledge, reflecting their ability to oversee a Salesforce environment while understanding key business objectives,” she explains.

The company also helps anyone prepare for their certification exams with free resources, including Salesforce's Admin Beginner and Admin Intermediate trails on Trailhead. “We also created the Admin Certification Prep trail, and Admin Certification Trailmix to empower aspiring admins with the training resources they need to get exam-ready,” Weeby adds.

Aspiring Salesforce admins can also check out best practices, insights and career advice from the Admin blog and Admin podcast.

Halpin adds that, while there are other providers that offer training and certifications (such as Udemy), in his professional opinion, the Trailhead certifications are the most marketable. Also, aspiring Salesforce admins shouldn’t sleep on internships as a way to break into this market. "There are a handful of companies that will hire interns on their Salesforce team, which is a low-barrier way for someone to get their foot in the door with the platform," he adds.

Last but certainly not least, aspiring Salesforce admins will need soft skills of being curious, approachable and organized. “A Salesforce Administrator will work with stakeholders to define requirements, customize the platform, and enable users to get the most out of Salesforce,” Halpin explains. “They will also need technical troubleshooting and root cause analysis skills.”

Which Career Paths Lead to a Salesforce Admin Role?

Halpin points out there are several paths that someone can take to becoming a Salesforce Admin. “I would first start by targeting your job applications to companies that currently have Salesforce implemented, or a company that has plans to implement Salesforce soon,” he says. “Any professional exposure you can get with Salesforce will be highly beneficial.”

Some candidates may start in an entry-level technical support or application support role as one path, and, over time, start becoming a technical SME around their organization’s Salesforce platform.

“Another path could be someone who worked as a sales analyst and as a power user of the Salesforce platform, and from there, start building on the administration skills set,” Halpin notes. “In any sense, getting professional exposure to the platform is a great starting point.”

Then, supplementing that hands-on experience with a Salesforce Admin Cert will help accelerate the career path.       

What Do Salesforce Admins Need to Know About A.I.?

Weeby notes that, as generative A.I. continues to impact the way we work, it will be important for all workers—across industries and fields—to stay up-to-date on the latest AI skills.

"Workers who can harness the power of generative A.I. can get more done faster and spend extra time on rewarding, meaningful work," she says. "They’ll be at a major advantage when it comes to serving customers, driving innovation, and making their companies stronger." 

Salesforce recently rolled out new A.I.-focused learning content on Trailhead, including modules focused on learning the fundamentals of AIcommon generative AI use cases, and how to prepare data for AI

The company also recently introduced the Salesforce AI Associate Certification to help learners validate their foundational A.I. skills in the ethical and responsible handling of data as they apply to AI in CRM.

“This certification is designed for individuals from all backgrounds, including business leaders and professionals who may or may not have prior knowledge of AI,” Weeby notes.