Beginner Coding For Admins : Beware, There Be Dragons Ahead

 

As a new admin, it can be exciting to understand just how much power you truly have over your org from security to apps and data management. However, as most of us do, we hit a wall with meeting requirements using only out of the box declarative (point and click) solutions.

What now?

Well, that depends on you, dear admin. Here’s a few options:

  1. Discuss hiring one of the hundreds of great Salesforce development partners
    • CRM Science is a great one, call them! (no affiliation, just a great group of folks)
  2. Reach out to some budding developers that need some experience in your network to see if they’ll do it for low/no cost for experience and a referral. You may be rolling the dice a bit on this one, but thats what sandboxes are for….right?? RIGHT?
  3. And your final option, dear Admin, is Get down with O.O.P. (yeah you know me), and develop it yourself. HA! Seriously though. O.O.P = object oriented programming(apex, java, etc). Why not learn to develop it on your own? Did I lose anyone on the Naughty by Nature reference? No? Good!

door3So you chose door #3, and you never wrote a line of code in your life? No problem. Luckily, time and effort are currencies you have plenty of (regardless of how “busy” you seem), and anyone can learn to code.

Other than a few lines of very very basic HTML I wrote in High School, I never wrote code, or understood programming whatsoever. When I started to get further in my Salesforce career, I wanted to learn basic programming and Apex principles so that I could translate a block of code if necessary, and have a better understanding of how the platform “thinks”. So I took first to the Trailhead Developer Trail. While I learned some very basic things, once it hit the Apex part of the trail, it went from walking to light speed. The trail had the assumption that you had some sort of exposure to computer science or programming in another language. So after some frustration and desk flipping, I sought out other answers. I wanted to go to the basic of the basic.

So here I give you the three best resources (in my opinion) right now to learn the basics to code in Salesforce. With that said, though, I currently don’t write code. I’m still a learner, just like you, and these 3 tools have drastically helped my understanding and comprehension:


  1. cs50HarvardX CS50 – Introduction to Computer Science

 

 
HarvardX CS50 Intro to Comp Sci is a free class on EDX.org (an educational joint venture of Harvard & MIT) that teaches basics of computer science, as well as introduces you to a few programming languages such as C, Java and others. With this course, you are quite literally “auditing” the Harvard Intro to Computer Science course complete with video lectures, assignments, problem sets, and additional content. I only went through the first 3-4 sessions because I used it to understand basic programming principles.

2.Apex Academy : Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Coding in Sales by David Liu

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David was a former professional email spammer turned Salesforce Technical Architect for Google, read his awesome story! He simplified learning apex into great tutorials (with homework!) on the Pluralsight learning platform. There is a free trial, but an annual fee after that for Pluralsight. Bug David though, he may be able to help you out. I learned a lot about Triggers from his course, understanding the difference between “before” and “after” triggers helped me better understand how logic is processed in salesforce (hint, process builder is all “after” triggers).

3. SoloLearn – from SoloLearn Inc

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The “SoloLearn” program is a variety of self paced learning apps for both Android and Apple operating systems(and I just noticed web as well) focused on specific programming languages.For example, the app I use is called “Learn Java” . The app guides you through content in topics such as “Objects” or “Loops”, with each topic having text and video based content and walkthroughs, as well as a test at the end. So the app, while it educates you, has knowledge checks to ensure you “got it”. You can spend 10 minutes on a module, or hours, thats entirely up to you. I use it a lot when my wife is shopping or in the grocery store and I can talk her into letting me stay in the car and wait for her (which i’m sure to regret).

 


There are hundreds of other resources out there such as Codeacademy.com, Lynda.com, and so many many others, but it’s really up to you what works.  I really enjoyed the three I shared because they spoke to the way I learn, and everyone learns differently. I’m more of a hands on learner, learn through application, and am ok to fall on my face to learn the “right” way kind of learner. Whereas others may need classrooms, and structure.

I hope one of my resources will help you in your coding mission, whether it is just to understand the basics, or to create a foundation that you will build programs for future self aware vending machines. Either way, just be sure to know that it’s not an easy road, and it takes a lot of time, effort, and perseverance.

 

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