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Navigating the Salesforce Career Pathways and Certifications

In the ever-change world of customer relationship management (CRM) and cloud computing, Salesforce stands out as a trailblazer. The platform’s versatility and scalability have given rise to various Salesforce career pathways, each offering unique opportunities for professionals to excel. Whether you’re aspiring to work at a Salesforce end user or partner, or wish to become an AppExchange developer, or architect, understanding the diverse Salesforce career options can be a game-changer.

In this article, we’ll explore the different career pathways within the Salesforce ecosystem and shed light on the multitude of certifications that can elevate your career.

Salesforce Career Pathways:

The two main career pathways are often separated out into either functional or technical roles. Although, it’s important to note that there is often overlap. Functional roles, include the likes of solution architects, consultants and business analysts, where they focus largely on business processes, requirements gathering, and solution design. Technical roles on the otherhand, tend to encompass roles like developers and architects. Emphasising skills around coding, customisation, and system integration. Other routes might include sales orientated roles, such as customer success or account executives.

Aside from working at the mothership that is Salesforce the ecosystem is broken down into three types of employers; end users or customers of Salesforce, consulting companies or partners, and independent software vendor or AppExchange partners. Below we give a brief overview of each type of employer and the skills and roles you’ll often find at them. Naturally this overview is not exhaustive because the types of roles available will vary considerably, depending on the size and nature of the company.

  1. Salesforce End User:

    • Role Overview: When you work for an end user, you’re often the frontline adopter of Salesforce within an organisation. You’ll leverage the platform to streamline workflows, improve efficiency, manage customer data, and gain valuable insights.
    • Skills Needed: Proficiency in using Salesforce features, providing user support, understanding data management, and basic reporting.
    • Types of Roles: Administrator, Developer, Product Owner, RevOps Manager, Solution Architect, Marketing Director, CRM Manager
    • Certification Focus: Administrator, Advanced Administrator, Platform App Builder, Marketing Cloud Email Specialist
  2. Salesforce Consultancy:

    • Role Overview: Consultants, Developers and Architects play a crucial role in guiding organisations through Salesforce implementation, customisation, and optimisation. They work closely with clients to understand their needs and tailor Salesforce solutions accordingly.
    • Skills Needed: Strong communication including presentation skills, problem-solving, and project management skills. Technical proficiency in Salesforce configuration is essential.
    • Types of Roles: Consultant, Developer, Business Analyst, Solution Architect, Technical Architect, Account Executive, Programme Manager, Delivery Director, Sales Director
    • Certification Focus: Business Analyst, all Consultant certifications depending on cloud experience, all Architect certifications, Platform Developer 1 & 2, Data Cloud
  3. AppExchange / Software Vendor:

    • Role Overview: Those that work for an AppExchange partner often specialise in creating custom applications that integrate seamlessly with Salesforce. They contribute to the thriving Salesforce AppExchange ecosystem by building innovative solutions.
    • Skills Needed: Proficiency in Apex programming language, Lightning components development, and familiarity with Salesforce APIs, are often key skills.
    • Types of Roles: Administrator,  Sales Operations, Business Development, Product Manager, Alliance Manager, Product Director, Customer Success
    • Certification Focus: Administrator, Advanced Administrator, Platform Developer 1 & 2, JavaScript Developer 1, all Architect certifications, Sales Representative

Salesforce Certifications:

At the time of writing this article there are currently 44 certifications. Salesforce certifications are important because they serve as a testament to your expertise and proficiency on the platform and within the ecosystem. Salesforce has divided their certifications into the following main categories: Associate, Administrator, Architect, Consultant, Designer, Developer, and Marketing Cloud. Below we have provided some examples of the certificates you might find in each category.


  • Associate, AI Associate


  • Administrator, Advanced Administrator, Platform App Builder


  • Application Architect, System Architect, Technical Architect, Sharing and Visibility Architect, Sharing and Visibility Architect, Identity and Access Management Architect, Development Lifecycle and Deployment Architect, Heroku Architect, Integration Architect, Data Architect, B2C Commerce Architect, B2C Solution Architect, B2B Solution Architect


  • Business Analyst, Sales Cloud Consultant, Service Cloud Consultant, Field Service Consultant, OmniStudio Consultant, Tableau CRM and Einstein Discovery Consultant, Nonprofit Cloud Consultant, Experience Cloud Consultant, Data Cloud Consultant, CPQ Specialist


  • Strategy Designer, User Experience Designer


  • Platform Developer I, Platform Developer II, JavaScript Developer 1, Industries CPQ Developer, OmniStudio Developer, B2C Commerce Developer

Marketing  Cloud:

  • Marketing Cloud Associate, Marketing Cloud Administrator, Marketing Cloud Developer, Marketing Cloud Consultant, Marketing Cloud Email Specialist, Marketing Cloud Account Engagement Consultant

Navigating the diverse Salesforce career pathways can be an exciting journey filled with opportunities for growth and success. Consequently, understanding the distinctions between functional and technical roles, and exploring the plethora of certifications available, can pave the way for a rewarding career within the Salesforce ecosystem. As you embark on your Salesforce journey, remember that continuous learning, hands-on experience, and a commitment to staying current with industry trends will be your keys to success. Furthermore, partnering with a Salesforce recruitment specialist can provide invaluable insights and guidance, helping individuals gain clarity on which specific routes or certifications align best with their skills and career aspirations. Their expertise can be a valuable resource in steering your Salesforce career in the right direction.