Salesforce Developer vs. Admin: Role Clarification in Recruitment

5 min

Salesforce is a growing and developing platform that echoes organisation, communication and ...

Salesforce is a growing and developing platform that echoes organisation, communication and data management. The platform's diverse features, highlighted by the development of innovative platform add-on tools like Copilot and several varied features, prompt the need for skilled professionals to support its effective management.

Roles range from salesforce developers and administrators to specialists and support, all to utilise the functionality of the platform's diverse applications in different ways. Given the salesforce’s multifaceted nature, understanding how each role functions in the broader system is crucial for recruitment. 

In this guide, we will differentiate between the two most popular salesforce jobs, developers and administrators, to enable businesses to increase their clarity surrounding salesforce recruitment. 

Why the Demand for Salesforce Developers and Administrators?

Salesforce, a widely embraced CRM platform, is gaining traction as organisations prioritise digitalisation. Offering marketing, sales, and customer service tools increases efficiency and streamlined processes. Despite tech industry layoffs in 2022 and 2023, including Salesforce professionals, the platform's resilience is underscored by its compound annual growth rate of 51.22% over two decades.

While there was a surplus of supply over demand in 2023, organisations are recovering. The platform generated over 1.9 million jobs and provides daily organisational tools for more organisations. Despite challenges posed by the economy and global issues in 2023, the current increase in professionals in the talent pool reflects a positive course for Salesforce roles. 

Salesforce is widely used as a customer relationship management platform by organisations that see the value in digitising their business activities. It offers various tools for businesses to manage and improve their marketing, sales, and customer service operations. As enterprises adopt Salesforce to digitise CRM practices, the demand for Salesforce professionals rises.

In 2024, the main reasons for the rising popularity of Salesforce Administrators and developers are as follows:

  • Adoption of cloud-based solutions and the transition towards digitalisation: Organisations are gradually moving to complete digitalisation. Salesforce is a cloud-based platform that allows organisations to scale operations. Salesforce developers and administrators can design and implement this. 
  • Growth of Salesforce: In general, the platform is experiencing periods of growth. Both developers and administrators can work to integrate this technology with the organisational information required for the best results. 
  • Diverse Salesforce tools: As previously mentioned, numerous new tools and advancements are emerging within Salesforce to stay abreast of evolving business requirements. Qualified professionals have a role to play in personalising these tools. 
  • Data security and compliance: Salesforce offers a secure method of storing customer data. Demand for this type of communications platform and for administrators and developers who can understand and implement security procedures is rising. 
  • Establishing a customer-centric approach: Developers and administrators collaborate to develop and sustain Salesforce's tools for customer-focused relationship management.

As companies adopt the Salesforce platform, increase efficiency, streamline processes, and continue digitalising customer relationship management practices, the number of Salesforce jobs needed to manage this platform will continue to rise.

What do Salesforce Developers and Administrators Specialise in?

Despite both jobs being experts in the Salesforce platform, their main job descriptions and responsibilities differ. 

Role of a Salesforce Administrator 

Salesforce Developers undertake a variety of responsibilities related to system management and customisation. Typically, they tackle the maintenance, configuration, overall management, and personalisation of Salesforce with an organisation's systems. Professionals in this position strive to align the platform effectively with the specific needs and requirements of the business. Similar to most Salesforce roles, the contributions of these administrators to an organisation heavily depend on the initial and evolving needs of that business.

User Management Training and Maintaining Relationships

Salesforce Administrators are responsible for creating and managing user accounts, profiles, and permission sets. They define and assign roles to control access levels for different users. They develop and deliver training programs for users on Salesforce functionality, ensuring users effectively utilise the platform. Additionally, they create and maintain documentation related to processes, configurations, and customisations.

Data Management and Security

Administrators handle data import, export, and maintenance in Salesforce, implementing and enforcing data quality standards. They create and customise reports and dashboards for data analysis, providing valuable insights into organisational performance.

Security features, including sharing rules, field-level security, and record-level security, are set up and managed by Salesforce Administrators. They monitor and audit user activity to ensure compliance with security policies.

System Personalisation, Integration and Maintenance 

Salesforce Administrators customise Salesforce objects, fields, and page layouts to match business processes, ensuring that the platform meets the organisation's specific requirements. They configure and maintain validation rules, workflows, and process builder flows to automate business processes, enhancing overall efficiency.

Administrators implement and manage custom applications and solutions within the Salesforce environment.

Integration with third-party applications and systems is a crucial aspect of their role. They manage API integrations and ensure the smooth synchronisation of data. Salesforce administrators engage in regular system maintenance activities, including overseeing system performance, resolving issues through troubleshooting, and implementing updates.

These professionals also provide end-user support, addressing inquiries and resolving issues promptly to maintain a seamless Salesforce experience for users.

Role of a Salesforce Developer 

Salesforce Developers play a crucial role in enhancing the performance of the Salesforce platform. They are responsible for addressing both back-end and front-end aspects, managing the technical intricacies, and collaborating with various departments to align business needs with Salesforce capabilities.

One significant aspect of their role involves developing specific applications that seamlessly integrate with an organisation's Salesforce features. Leveraging tools like Visualforce, Apex, and the lightning component framework, they work on building and fixing functionalities using a variety of programming languages.

Personalised Application Development 

A key responsibility is personalised application development, where Salesforce Developers utilise tools like Salesforce CLI and Change Sets to deploy code and configuration changes across environments. They follow version control best practices to manage code changes efficiently.

In application development, they create custom applications on, employing Apex and Visualforce to tailor functionalities, workflows, and processes to specific business requirements. Additionally, they extend existing Salesforce features using Lightning Web Components, crafting robust UI components for enhanced user interaction within the Salesforce ecosystem.

Working With Integrated Applications

Salesforce Developers also play a pivotal role in integrating Salesforce with external systems and third-party applications, utilising APIs. They implement data synchronisation processes to ensure seamless data flow between Salesforce and other databases.

Data Management Automation and Security

Another significant area of their responsibility is data management automation and security. They manage the integration and migration of data, establishing connections between the external system and Salesforce to prevent the need for manual data entry. Developers create and implement automation workflows to improve efficiency, including email triggers, field updates, and approval workflows. 

Salesforce Developers also create insightful reports and dashboards using Salesforce's analytics tools, providing valuable insights into data and performance metrics. Ensuring data security and user access control is critical to their role. To implement security protocols, Salesforce Developers configure user roles, permissions, and data encryption mechanisms. Strict testing is conducted before deploying custom applications and integrations to guarantee smooth operation and minimal disruption.

In addition to initial development, ongoing maintenance and updates are part of their responsibilities. Salesforce Developers keep the platform and custom applications up-to-date with the latest releases and security patches, ensuring ideal performance over time.

Overlapping Responsibilities

Despite the initial differences between the two roles, their knowledge and daily tasks overlap in several areas. While Salesforce developers and administrators have distinct parts, they share significant similarities that make them a strong team. These common traits connect the technical and business aspects, ensuring smooth operation and development of Salesforce instances.

Typically, their similarities can be sorted into five categories. These include the following.

  1. Deep Understanding of Salesforce: Both developers and administrators have a solid grasp of the Salesforce platform, its features, and capabilities. They are skilled in using various tools to optimise and customise the system. Developers use this knowledge to build custom applications and integrations, while administrators use it to configure workflows, automation rules, and security settings.
  2. Problem-Solving Mindset: Both roles approach problem-solving analytically. Developers tackle technical challenges by understanding requirements, designing solutions, and writing code. Administrators use their analytical skills to identify and troubleshoot system issues and improve workflows. This shared mindset encourages collaboration and ensures comprehensive problem-solving.
  3. Focus on User Experience: Developers and administrators both prioritise user experience. Developers aim to create intuitive and user-friendly applications to enhance productivity. Administrators configure the platform to simplify data access, automate tasks, and generate valuable reports. This shared focus on user experience increases adoption and satisfaction with Salesforce.

  4. Continuous Learning and Adaptability: The Salesforce ecosystem constantly evolves with new features and functionalities.

What Skills and Qualifications Should Employers Consider?

Now that we have established that both positions vary in their responsibilities, and therefore, hiring each can offer different benefits, let’s discuss what skills and qualifications businesses should look for when recruiting for each role. Identifying the Salesforce certifications, skills, qualifications and credentials that each role should possess will also assist in illustrating their specialisms and differences. 

Salesforce Administrator 

Suppose you are looking to recruit a Salesforce Administrator to streamline business activities and perform specific tasks related to the operation of the Salesforce platform. In that case, candidates possess various skills and experience directly related to system management, communication, and system personalisation. 

Desired Skill-Set

As the nature of a Salesforce Administrator’s position is incredibly diverse, ranging from coordinating with stakeholders to maintaining and customising the platform, their skillset typically reflects this diversity. Here are some of the critical skills that Salesforce Administrators should possess.

  • Data management 
  • User management 
  • Security management 
  • Understanding of computer systems and networking 
  • Familiarity with declarative tools like Process Builder and Flow Builder
  • Experience or familiarity with programming/ scripting languages (Apex and Visualforce)
  • Communication and customer relationship skills 
  • Problem-solving
  • Attention to detail 
  • Ability to adapt to new technologies or tools 

While professionals in this Salesforce role may not display all of these named skills, their roles are widely dependent on the nature of the organisation and its industry. Their varied skillset typically sets them apart from other functions, like a Salesforce Developer. 

Salesforce Certifications and Credentials

Credentials are an effective way that candidates can present their expertise in Salesforce. Similarly to their skillset, Salesforce Administrator’s certifications cover various areas related to their positions and Salesforce. Examples of potential certifications include the following: 

  • B2C Commerce Developer 
  • Industries CPQ Developer 
  • JavaScript Developer 
  • Marketing Cloud Developer 
  • OmniStudio Developer 
  • Platform App Builder
  • Platform Developer 

Required Qualifications and Experience 

As the position of Salesforce Administrator requires a high level of responsibility and innovation, a qualified candidate should possess various industry-relevant and interpersonal skills demonstrating their ability to perform. If they have the necessary experience, they should include:

  • Salesforce certifications
  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Information Systems or Business Administration
  • A minimum of two years working directly with Salesforce 
  • Experience working with the organisation’s industry and knowledge of products and services for client, customer or stakeholder communication
  • Qualifications or training in web technologies (JavaScript, CSS and HTML)

There has been an increase in hiring managers searching for developer candidates who possess other certifications and qualifications besides a Bachelor’s degree. Though a degree is still sought during recruitment, practical industrial knowledge is essential, including more tailored programs that reflect competency in the Salesforce platform. 

Salesforce Developer

Now that we have discussed an administrator's skills, certifications, and qualifications, let’s discuss the Salesforce developer's candidate persona to continue the comparison. 

Desired Skill-Set

Salesforce Developers must possess a variety of industry-relevant skills and soft skills to be able to perform their responsibilities correctly. As their positions will undoubtedly involve technical, social and interactive elements, they should display the following: 

  • Product testing, skills in debugging 
  • Familiarity with different programming languages (JavaScript, Python, Apex)
  • Understanding database principles, including familiarity with SQL queries or SOQL statements.
  • Familiarity with cloud platforms 
  • Analytical skills 
  • Communication skills 
  • Organisation skills 
  • Problem-solving skills 
  • Teamwork and collaboration skills 
  • Time management and multitasking skills

Developers in this industry must also possess a more varied skillset than other developers. However, their roles are much more targeted and specific than those of Salesforce Administrators.


Salesforce Certifications and Credentials 

Just like their skill set, certifications for Salesforce Developers encompass various areas relevant to their roles and the Salesforce platform. Some examples of possible certificates include:

  • Administrator 
  • Advanced Administrator 
  • Business Analyst 
  • CPQ Specialist 
  • Marketing Cloud Administrator 
  • Platform App Builder

Qualifications and Experience

To successfully perform this role's technical and creative elements, Salesforce Developers generally must have specific skills and experience that relate to Salesforce. These include:

  • A computer science degree or another relevant field of study (engineering)
  • Qualifications or training in specific coding languages (Apex and Visualforce)
  • Qualifications or training in web technologies (JavaScript, CSS and HTML)
  • Salesforce experience or certifications 
  • A minimum of two years working directly with Salesforce 

Their years of training allow them to possess an overview of the platform as a whole and technical coding aspects, enhancing their contribution towards the organisation.

What Can Each Role Bring to Your Team?

Both Salesforce Administrators and developers possess various skills, qualifications, and responsibilities that can be immensely useful to organisational activities in multiple different ways. Depending on the nature of organisations seeking to employ Salesforce experts, the contributions of each of these roles will vary depending on the team’s structure, industry, and project requirements. 

An administrator manages the platform to ensure all tools coordinate with the business's needs. In contrast, Salesforce Developers ensure that the platform and customised applications are consistently updated with the latest releases and security patches, guaranteeing optimal performance.

Suppose your business seeks to personalise the Salesforce platform to echo business workflows to ensure a streamlined process or simply wants to maintain and optimise an existing platform; a qualified Salesforce Administrator would make a positive difference. In contrast, a Salesforce Developer can typically build custom applications, manipulate data, and interpret data. A developer may suit businesses wanting to keep up with innovative tools and technologies. 

In reality, whether to hire each expert depends on various factors. Together, these experts create a powerful synergy. Their combined expertise is a winning formula for success in any Salesforce organisation. Their collaborative approach can ensure the value of investment in salesforce is maintained and maximised, contributing to your overall success. 

Mastering Salesforce Recruitment: Final Thoughts

Grasping the roles of Salesforce Developers and Administrators is essential in navigating the changing dynamics of Salesforce recruitment. As organisations prioritise digitalisation and utilise the diverse tools provided by the platform for CRM purposes, the demand for these skilled professionals is increasing. 

Both Salesforce Administrators and Developers bring unique skills and qualifications to ensure the uninterrupted functioning of the platform; for businesses seeking to navigate the complexities of Salesforce recruitment, hiring these skilled professionals becomes essential for organisational efficiency, streamlined processes, and ongoing digitalisation of customer relationship management.

Experts in Market-Leading Salesforce Recruitment 

At MA, our consultants are experts in every aspect of salesforce recruitment. From creating job advertisements to securing top talent to integrate and personalise the salesforce platform, we are here to assist you throughout the process. 

We have a pool of exceptional candidates ready to be placed with the technology industry's most innovative organisations. If you are a business looking to hire a Salesforce Developer or Administrator, let us show you how we can support you. 

Contact us today to level up your recruitment journey.