Forcelandia Review: Salesforce Developers and Admins Get Weird

Posted by Brad Gross on Aug 8, 2017 11:07:10 AM

Portland, Oregon has a rich history of technical prowess which makes Forcelandia the perfect conference for this weird city. Forcelandia both celebrates and educates seasoned developers and advanced admins looking to learn more with engaging speakers and open dialogue panels. This event was conceived four years ago when five Salesforce MVP’s (me being one of them) gathered and asked a simple question:

“We have all these events for Salesforce Admins? But what about the Developer community?”

The Portland Salesforce Developer Group and the Portland Salesforce Women in Tech Group took this question and developed the only multi-day developer conference for Salesforce in the world! This encourages participation from customers, partners, ISV’s, and Salesforce itself.

What I taught and what I learned

Based on my 16 years of Salesforce experience, I lead a session on “The State of the Union of the Salesforce Admin/Developer”. In true Portland fashion, I delivered a relaxed session with a beer in hand and walking barefoot. (I embrace the weird.)

Topics in my discussion focused on:

  • Administrators and developers need to work together to build easily extended and maintainable applications.
  • Focus on how to make the app work for our organizations not hosting and maintenance of the core pieces of Salesforce.
  • Focus and development of  “soft skills” are vital in career growth: communication, project management and presentation skills
  • Build a game plan for future work and discuss this with your user base to collect feedback. Create a continuous feedback loop to encourage adherence and usage.

Brad's blog 2.pngIt was intense session in front of a standing-room audience! 

Nadim Diaz Ramzi from Boliva also delivered a wonderful Women in Technology (WiT) discussion during breakfast on the second day. One of the most profound notations from her speech was that in Bolivia, only 2.4% of engineer work is with Salesforce. And of that, only 25% are women. We are fortunate in this country to have opportunities for all people but using Bolivia as an example demonstrates that there is plenty of work to do world-wide. What makes events like the WiT breakfast powerful is the attendance from all walks.  Being supportive of efforts like this should be important for all.

Other notable sessions included:

  • Aldo Fernandez from Punta Dreamin’, as in Uruguay, discussed ‘Refactoring your APEX code and why?’
  • Mark Passovoy and Ray Dehler demonstrated IOT and Salesforce integration
  • Steven Herod from Accenture (who flew from Australia) delivered “How to think like a Technical Architect”
  • Kevin Poorman from Salesforce talking about async apex

A meaningful conference should encourage discussion!

Along with my session, I was also the “Master of Ceremonies” for the Q&A session at the end of the conference where we discussed deployments, Salesforce feature sundowning, and what it takes to truly come to speed on transforming into a Salesforce developer.

Conferences like this are about the effort you, as an attendee, apply to it.  Taking the time to interact and discuss your situation with other experienced people who lived your situation typically results in great “take aways” of information. The different events during the conference encourage this and the friendly attitude of the attendees help.

Forcelandia is a highlight for me as a Solution Architect. I am not a full-time coder but learning what is available as tools for that population and seeing how the Admin and Developer role is slowly merging into one is fascinating for me. It does force me to consider how to utilize the skills in hand and where I should focus my future learning. Forcelandia is a great way to learn and to interact with my community, my people.

Brad's blog 3.pngSalesforce people from 4 countries, 3 continents, and 1 platform.


Topics: Salesforce Developers, Salesforce Admins, Conferences