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Salesforce Administrator Career Guide

What is a Salesforce administrator?

A Salesforce administrator is a professional who masters the Salesforce platform to help companies optimize their operations by managing the technical side of business processes. As gatekeepers to the company’s Salesforce platform, these professionals enhance workflow efficiency, improve user experience, and drive business value. They act as a bridge between the technical team, stakeholders, and users, ensuring all business requirements are addressed and configured correctly in the platform.

Duties and responsibilities

The administrator is responsible for overseeing the entire range of Salesforce functions. This includes user account maintenance, reports and dashboards, workflows, and other routine tasks. The are also accountable for more complex assignments like creating and customizing Salesforce objects, fields, record types, page layouts, and validation rules.

Another key responsibility is designing and implementing new processes and enhancing the platform’s functionality per company requirements. They manage the processes that impact the platform’s data quality and ensure that the system responds to the needs of all constituents across projects, departments, and roles.

Work environment

The working environment for Salesforce administrators depends on the nature and size of the organization they work for. In large organizations, administrators often work in cross-functional teams, collaborating with sales, marketing, and customer service teams. In smaller companies, administrators may work more independently.

Their work is generally office-based, requiring significant time spent sitting and using computers. However, with the trend toward remote work, many admins now have opportunities to work from home or other locations.

Typical work hours

Salesforce administrators usually work full-time, 40 hours per week. Their work schedule typically follows the traditional business hours from 9 AM to 5 PM. Flexibility may be required for tasks such as system upgrades or deployments, ideally done outside of business hours to avoid disruption.

In scenarios where the company operates globally, they might need to adjust their work schedules occasionally to accommodate different time zones. This role, however, usually only requires a little travel for attending workshops, conferences, or trainings.

How to become a Salesforce administrator

This career guide section outlines how to become a Salesforce admin. Steps include acquiring an understanding of Salesforce, securing an educational background, achieving relevant certifications, and gaining hands-on experience.

Step 1: Acquire foundational knowledge

As the initial step, individuals should gain a robust understanding of customer relationship management (CRM) systems, general business processes, and data management principles. Familiarity with Salesforce’s CRM is particularly beneficial as it provides the foundation for advanced learning. This knowledge can come through self-study, online courses, or formal training programs.

Step 2: Earn a bachelor’s degree

Most administrators tend to have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, information systems, or a related field. These programs offer fundamental knowledge of business processes necessary for success and career progression.

Step 3: Gain certification

Becoming certified is a great way to validate your expertise. The Salesforce Certified Administrator exam is a common starting point, followed by the Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator exam. These certifications demonstrate proficiency in Salesforce and are often required by employers.

Step 4: Accumulate relevant experience

Hands-on experience is a key qualifier for this role, which can be obtained through internships, volunteer work, or full-time jobs. Working in a supervised environment allows you to apply theoretical knowledge in a practical setting and acquire important skills required in this role.

Step 5: Refine and expand skill set

After gaining some initial practical experience, refining and expanding your skill set is important. This expansion could involve learning about the latest updates in Salesforce, training new users within your organization, or mastering new apps and specialties.

Step 6: Apply for the job

The final step is to start applying for Salesforce administrator positions. Remember to highlight all relevant certifications, education, and experience when crafting your resume. Demonstrating your proficiency in Salesforce platforms and illustrating your ability to use these tools to support business processes can give you an edge over other candidates.

How much do Salesforce administrators make?

Salesforce admin salaries will vary by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. Compensation will also on the complexity of the implementation and the criticality of this role within the company.

Highest paying industries

  • Software Publishers – $102,380
  • Data Processing and Hosting – $100,370
  • Scientific Research and Development Services – $98,210
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises – $96,870
  • Computer Systems Design – $94,000

Highest paying states

  • California – $105,220
  • Washington – $102,390
  • New York – $99,560
  • New Jersey – $97,870
  • Massachusetts – $96,330

Browse Salesforce administrator salary data by market

Types of Salesforce administrators

This career guide section highlights the various career types and areas of specialization for Salesforce administrators. Below, we highlight the unique attributes and responsibilities of each job title

General Salesforce administrator

A general administrator manages and creates custom applications using the Salesforce platform, ensuring the system is optimized for the organization’s needs. Supervising the database, maintaining user roles, and producing custom reports are some key responsibilities.

Salesforce certified advanced administrator

A step up from basic administration, the Salesforce certified advanced administrator dives deeper into the platform’s specifics. They have an extensive understanding of Salesforce nuances, guiding the use of advanced features and tools to enhance user experience and business success.

Salesforce marketing cloud administrator

Marketing is a key aspect of many organizations, and a Salesforce marketing cloud administrator is pivotal in this area. These administrators focus on marketing tools within the platform, tailoring them to support and drive effective marketing strategies.

Salesforce CPQ administrator

For businesses seeking a robust solution for configuring, pricing, and quotations, a Salesforce CPQ administrator is vital. These specialists manage and optimize the CPQ module, streamlining the sales processes while improving efficiency and accuracy.

Salesforce Pardot administrator

Pardot is a Salesforce tool focused on B2B marketing automation. A Salesforce Pardot administrator oversees this component, optimizing the software to automate marketing tasks and lead behavior tracking to yield improved marketing outcomes.

Top skills for Salesforce administrators

This section outlines the primary skills and traits needed for career success as a Salesforce administrator. The role requires a comprehensive understanding of Salesforce’s features, excellent problem-solving capabilities, and advanced interpersonal skills.

Knowledge of Salesforce

To excel in this role, a deep understanding of Salesforce’s platform is necessary. Familiarity with the system’s setup, configurations, and standard and custom module features is vital. As changes and upgrades are regularly introduced to the Salesforce system, maintaining up-to-date knowledge is also important.

Problem-solving skills

A Salesforce admin often acts as the first line of defense when issues arise with the platform. The ability to identify, diagnose, and resolve these challenges promptly can significantly impact the efficiency of a company’s processes, which requires logical thinking, patience, and a systematic approach to problem-solving.

Interpersonal skills

Developing a good rapport with users, understanding their needs, and translating those requirements into Salesforce configurations requires strong communication and negotiation skills. As an administrator, one often is the link between the end-users and the management; hence, collaboration and team-working skills are essential in this job.

Analytical skills

Besides standard administration, this role often requires in-depth data analysis. Applying logical thinking to make sense of data trends and patterns and preparing clear, concise reports helps businesses tap into the potential of their data. Analytical skills, therefore, are imperative for success in this role.

Understanding of business processes

Apart from technical skills, an understanding of a company’s business operations and processes can make a significant difference in the role of a Salesforce administrator. This knowledge provides better insights to effectively tailor the platform to suit the business’s specific needs.

Salesforce administrator career path

Embarking on a career as a Salesforce administrator offers several avenues for growth and development. Early in the role, individuals often see their responsibilities expand with increasing proficiency in managing and customizing Salesforce systems. This progression can lead to advanced designations, such as a Salesforce advanced administrator, which carries more complex administrative tasks and further chances to influence business operations.

With time and experience, administrators may evolve into technical roles. Becoming a Salesforce developer is a common next step, necessitating a deeper understanding of code and Salesforce’s Apex programming language. This shift typically involves crafting custom solutions, advanced automated processes, and integrating Salesforce with other systems. It requires additional training and certification but can expand horizons and increase earning potential.

Alternatively, some professionals shift their focus toward business processes and strategies, developing into consultants or business analysts. These roles center around understanding business needs and outlining strategies for efficient Salesforce use or application customizations. Straddling the lines between technology and business, these positions allow administrators to leverage their insight into Salesforce’s capabilities to drive effective solutions.

For those with an eye on leadership roles, becoming a project manager or IT manager is a viable progression. In these roles, professionals oversee teams, handle budgets, and lead Salesforce-related projects or the overall IT strategy. Success in these positions relies largely on managerial abilities, organizational skills, and a comprehensive understanding of business and Salesforce operations.

The Salesforce ecosystem is vast, offering a multitude of different roles and specializations that can suit diverse career aspirations. Ongoing personal development, paired with the willingness to pivot and adapt, can pave a rewarding and dynamic career path.

The trend toward digital transformation and the increasing need for business agility is fueling considerable growth in the demand for Salesforce administrators. The role has gained significant importance as businesses of all sizes rely heavily on Salesforce to manage customer relationships, track sales, and offer personalized customer service. With the continuous addition of features and tools, the expertise needed to configure, customize, and effectively utilize this platform evolves rapidly.

The adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning within Salesforce applications is another noteworthy trend. Administrators who can leverage these cutting-edge technologies to generate business insights and automate routine tasks are highly sought after. Additionally, administrators who possess a deep understanding of industry-specific Salesforce solutions are enjoying increased demand as enterprises seek those who can align the software with their unique business models and processes.

Employment projections

While there is no specific category for Salesforce administration, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects database administrators to grow by 7 percent through 2032 as companies maintain their focus on data storage and utilization.

Salesforce administrator career tips

Understand the platform

You’ll manage, configure, and enhance the platform to meet your organization’s needs. Simply put, it’s essential to understand Salesforce inside out. You should be familiar with all its features and capabilities, how they can be utilized, and how they can be customized to suit your company’s requirements. Also, staying current with its latest updates and releases is important since Salesforce frequently changes and improves its services.

Obtain Salesforce certifications

One way to demonstrate your expertise and commitment to your profession is by obtaining Salesforce certifications. These credentials validate your skills and enhance your credibility. Salesforce offers a variety of certifications and training programs that cover different areas of the platform. Some noteworthy ones include the Certified Administrator and Advanced Administrator credentials.

Continuous learning

The field of Salesforce administration is constantly evolving. To stay ahead, it’s essential to constantly learn and adapt to the changes. This could involve:

  • Taking part in webinars and online trainings
  • Reading Salesforce release notes to stay up-to-date
  • Joining Salesforce forums and communities for learning and sharing insights

Build a professional network

Building a robust professional network can open doors to new opportunities and collaborations. Consider joining professional associations and attending events related to Salesforce. Some popular networks include:

  • Salesforce Admins
  • Salesforce Developers
  • Salesforce MVP Program
  • Salesforce User Groups

Improve business process knowledge

A Salesforce administrator needs to understand business processes and operations well. This understanding is central to designing effective and efficient systems for an organization. Alongside technical skills, knowledge in areas such as project management, change management, and business strategy can greatly improve your ability to deliver real value to an organization. Regularly attending business process and management training can help develop these skills.

Where the Salesforce administrator jobs are

Top employers

  • Salesforce
  • Accenture
  • Cognizant
  • Capgemini
  • Deloitte

Top states

  • California
  • New York
  • Illinois
  • Texas
  • Florida

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Simply Hired
  • Monster


What technical skills should a Salesforce administrator have?

A Salesforce administrator should ideally have expertise in the entire software suite, with a firm grasp of all its facets, including configuration, systems controls, and maintaining user roles and security. Proficiency in database management and data analysis also benefits this role. Additionally, a basic understanding of programming languages, like SQL and Java, can be helpful.

Are there any certifications relevant to the Salesforce administrator role?

Yes, several certifications are recognized and respected in the industry. The Salesforce Certified Administrator certification offered by Salesforce is a fundamental certification that’s recommended for all Salesforce administrators. There are also advanced and specialized certifications like the Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator, Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder, and Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant.

What is the significance of a Salesforce administrator in an organization?

A Salesforce administrator plays a vital role in an organization by managing Salesforce platform usage and configuration. They ensure that all users have proper access and permissions, maintain data quality, create dashboards and reports to capture key metrics and aid in streamlining business processes. Their efforts directly impact business productivity and efficiency. They also play an important part in virtually every department of the company, aiding in achieving overall business objectives by leveraging technology to improve processes.

What are the common challenges a Salesforce administrator might face?

Common challenges include user adoption, where users struggle to adopt the Salesforce platform or resist change. Administrators may also need help maintaining data cleanliness because this requires time, diligence, and awareness of best practices. They also need to balance business needs and technical limitations, given that different departments might have conflicting interests or needs within the Salesforce platform.

What are the responsibilities of a Salesforce administrator?

The day-to-day responsibilities of a Salesforce administrator include managing user accounts, implementing security controls, defining user roles and profiles, creating reports and dashboards, maintaining data cleanliness, conducting platform upgrades, training end-users, and liaising with stakeholders to improve business processes. They also have an ongoing responsibility to stay current with Salesforce’s seasonal updates and industry developments.

Do Salesforce administrators need project management skills?

Project management skills are not a strict requirement for Salesforce administrators, but they can be beneficial. Administrators occasionally need to lead or participate in projects related to deploying or modifying Salesforce features; therefore, understanding project management principles helps in successful execution. Effective project management skills can ensure that projects are completed on time, within budget, and meet the defined objectives.

What is the role of a Salesforce administrator regarding data management?

A Salesforce administrator plays a significant role in data management. They are responsible for implementing and maintaining data policies and procedures, which include data cleanliness, duplicitous record management, and data security protocols. They are also involved in data migration and transformation associated with the Salesforce platform. Therefore, understanding the principles and techniques of effective data management is crucial for this role.

Can a Salesforce administrator work remotely?

Yes, Salesforce administrators can work remotely…if their employer allows it! All tasks related to administration, troubleshooting, training, and meetings can be performed from a remote location using digital tools. Many organizations are becoming increasingly open to remote work, and the Salesforce platform is particularly suited for it as it is cloud-based and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.