What is the difference between a Salesforce Developer and a Salesforce Architect?
When it comes to building a career on the Salesforce platform, two of the most pivotal roles that one can consider are that of a Salesforce Developer and a Salesforce Architect. While both positions play a critical part in the Salesforce ecosystem, they differ significantly in terms of roles, responsibilities, skills required, and certifications. In this blog post, we will dissect these differences to better understand which career path might be the right fit for you.
Table of Contents
Salesforce Developer: The Code Crafters
Salesforce Developers are the builders within the Salesforce platform. They have a strong grasp of programming and use it to develop custom solutions that extend the capabilities of the standard Salesforce features.
Roles and Responsibilities
A typical day in the life of a Salesforce Developer includes:
- Coding: They write code to create custom user interfaces, complex business logic, and integrate Salesforce with other systems.
- Customization: By developing custom applications and functionalities, they tailor the Salesforce environment to fit specific business needs.
- Debugging: Developers also spend time identifying and fixing issues within the codebase, ensuring the smooth operation of Salesforce applications.
- Testing: Before any piece of code goes live, it must be rigorously tested. Developers create and execute test plans to ensure quality.
- Maintenance: Developers are responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the applications they build, often optimizing and updating the system.
Salesforce Developers should be proficient in:
- Salesforce Languages: Apex (a Java-like programming language), Visualforce (a framework that includes a tag-based markup language), and Lightning Component Framework.
- Database Management: Understanding how to work with databases, including SOQL and SOSL.
- Development Tools: Experience with Salesforce development tools like Salesforce DX, Workbench, and IDEs like Visual Studio Code.
To validate their skills, Salesforce Developers can pursue several certifications:
- Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I & II: These certifications demonstrate a developer’s ability to build custom declarative and programmatic applications on the Salesforce Platform.
- Salesforce Certified B2C Commerce Developer: For developers specializing in commerce solutions.
- Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Developer: For those who focus on crafting solutions in the marketing domain.
Salesforce Architect: The Master Planners
Salesforce Architects are the visionaries who design scalable and sustainable solutions within the Salesforce ecosystem. They take overarching business requirements and translate them into systems architecture that aligns with best practices and long-term goals.
Roles and Responsibilities
A Salesforce Architect is tasked with:
- Designing Architecture: They create blueprints for complex systems that meet current and future business needs.
- Strategic Planning: Architects must understand business processes and objectives to ensure that the system supports them effectively.
- Integration: They oversee how Salesforce integrates with other systems, ensuring data flows seamlessly across platforms.
- Guidance and Governance: Architects guide development teams by setting standards and best practices for design and implementation.
- Problem Solving: When technical challenges arise, it is often the architect who must devise a strategic solution.
Type of architects
There are several types of Salesforce architects, each specializing in different areas of the Salesforce platform. Some common types of Salesforce architects include:
Solution architects design and implement end-to-end Salesforce solutions that meet the specific needs of a business. They work closely with stakeholders to understand business requirements and translate them into technical designs.
Technical architects focus on the technical aspects of Salesforce implementations. They are responsible for designing the overall technical architecture, integrating various systems and technologies, and ensuring the scalability, security, and performance of the Salesforce platform.
Data Architect: Data architects specialize in designing and managing the data model within Salesforce. They ensure data integrity, define data governance and security measures, and optimize data storage and retrieval processes.
Integration architects specialize in integrating Salesforce with other systems, such as ERP, marketing automation, or customer support systems. They design and implement integration solutions to enable seamless data flow between different systems.
UX/UI architects focus on creating intuitive and user-friendly interfaces within the Salesforce platform. They design layouts, workflows, and visual elements to enhance user experience and drive user adoption
Essential skills for a Salesforce Architect include:
- Broad Technical Knowledge: Understanding of various software engineering disciplines like system integration, interface design, and user experience.
- Salesforce Products Expertise: Deep knowledge of the features and limitations of Salesforce products.
- Analytical Skills: Ability to analyze complex systems and distill architecture from requirements.
- Communication: Strong communication skills to effectively lead teams and articulate architectural decisions.
Salesforce Architects can pursue an array of certifications:
- Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA): The pinnacle certification for those who demonstrate knowledge across all domains of architecting solutions on the Salesforce platform.
- Salesforce Certified System Architect / Application Architect: These certifications focus on system governance, integration, and building applications on the platform respectively.
- Salesforce Certified B2C Solution Architect: Specialization in architecting full solutions using Salesforce B2C Commerce and Marketing Cloud.
Clear differences but still some confusion when it comes to hiring
The interviewed Salesforce architects found that the term “Salesforce Architect” is easy to overuse and misuse.
72% of architects agree that Salesforce professionals understand the role, while 25% disagree that hiring managers are clear on the role.
It is believed that some job descriptions have been mislabeled due to hiring managers not fully understanding the required skill sets for specific tasks and projects.
Though both Salesforce Developers and Architects work closely together, their roles require different sets of skills, responsibilities, and certifications. Developers are hands-on programmers who bring to life the functionalities necessary for businesses to operate on the Salesforce platform. In contrast, Architects are strategic planners who design robust systems that stand the test of time.
The choice between hiring a Salesforce Developer or an Architect ultimately boils down to a clear understanding of the specific skill sets required to deliver the tasks and the objectives of your Salesforce initiatives to be achieved.
Knowing accurately the type of specialist and skill set will pave the way to the success of your Salesforce projects.