ABSI - far beyond system integration

On 05 January 2017     By Robin De Bondt      Salesforce , Work-at-ABSI

implementation expert” by getting more certified. For any implementation, it is your role as a consultant to know the out-of-the-box functionalities of the platform, using clicks to do customizations, and only turn over to a developer if all other options are not going to do the trick.

However, by doing increasingly complex implementation projects, I had to work together with developers more frequently. Most of the time the story went like this:

  1. Product owner: “We want to archive all leads older than 2 years.”
  2. Me: “No point&click solution exists, we should look into writing code.”
  3. Me: talks to a developer, explaining the requirements in a bit more technical way
  4. Developer: puts on his headphones, does some magic
  5. BOOM! Old leads are being picked up every night and deleted

It always made me feel a bit jealous. These people type some stuff nobody can read, and all of a sudden they can do whatever they want with the platform! I wanted to be a magician as well… So at my next internal evaluation meeting, I asked ABSI if I could free up some time and dive into development. Thankfully, they were nothing but supportive.

But… how?

So I started searching for online material to help me start from scratch. After all, I had no technical background. I vaguely remember having to write some easy calculator code at university. I don’t remember the programming language.

I landed on David Liu’s (Salesforce MVP) website sfdc99.com pretty quickly, which was designed exactly for people like me. I explored all beginner tutorials on there. Meanwhile, I was also walking through trailhead.

I’ve gathered all the relevant badges there, and finished with the Apex Specialist Super Badge. According to the documentation, that one should take 8-12 hours of work. It easily took me 24h.

I felt ready to take a shot at the Platform Developer I exam, studied the remaining topics and passed it the first time.

What’s in it?

Passing an exam does not mean by any way that I consider myself a true developer now. But at least I have a grasp of the basics. It has already helped me in so many ways:

  1. Be more confident in front of the customer
  2. Understanding limits of the platform better
  3. Reading through existing code
  4. Debugging, even point&click things like process builder and flow
  5. Write anonymous blocks to test functionality or update data
  6. Giving yourself a new challenge, or as a colleague put it: “it’s you vs. the code”
  7. Knowing the magic is actually just a scheduled Apex batch!

I firmly believe everyone without technical knowledge but with decent logical reasoning can code. I also believe everyone in the Salesforce ecosystem that is not pursuing a developer career should at least learn the basics of Apex like SOQL or bulkification. At the very least, it will make you realize those developers are just humans after all.

@Robin_De_Bondt

Salesforce consultant or developer?