For all of those Salesforce users out there who don’t consider themself an architect, I’m about to tell you that you are a Salesforce Architect – you just don’t know it yet.

There is no shortage of pre-conceived notions as to what a Salesforce Architect is or should be. You might think you need to have a certain type of experience, impressive technical ability, or serious coding skills. But, it is equally important to know who to talk to, what to ask, and how to get people talking to each other.

What does it take to be a Salesforce Architect?

To become a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect, there is a pretty linear path to follow. Note: linear does not equal easy. There are fewer than 300 of these laser-focused individuals in the world, and it’s a serious process to get there.

After completing your Application and System Architect certifications, you must earn your CTA credential by passing a review board. You will be asked to defend your solution in person, in front of several Salesforce gurus.

But, being a CTA is not the only path to being an architect. I like to define ‘Architect’ as both a noun and a verb.

Definition of a Salesforce Architect

What soft-skills do I need to be an Architect?

Soft Skills are things that aren’t necessarily taught in your technical architecture courses. Skills like communication, teamwork, work ethic, and flexibility are essential in the workplace and make for an excellent Salesforce Architect candidate.

Here are my 4 essential soft skills to become a Salesforce Architect:

1. Know how to talk to people

The first thing you must do to nail this is understand your audience. Are you speaking with the project stakeholders, a team of c-suite individuals? Or are you speaking with the developers, the hands-on-keys team that will bring your solution to life?

I’m a firm believer in meeting people where they are, and finding a common ground where you can share information and understand and be understood.

I recommend everyone spend some time with the Public Speaking Skills trailhead to learn techniques for speaking to large groups of people.

2. Tailor your message to your audience

Tailoring your message is in the same vein, and equally as important as, understanding how to talk to people. Each person you speak with will have different motivators and goals for a project. It’s important to emphasize those unique points when speaking to them both individually and to the group as a whole.

I recommend this trailhead about Storytelling & Communication that can help elevate these skills.

3. Get people to talk to you

Any person who asks the right questions to get people talking can be considered a Salesforce Architect. When presented with a problem, there are often a dozen varying opinions on what the solution should or could be. Your role as an Architect is to ask the questions that get to the core of the issue. Ask the right questions, and you’ll have all the information you need to craft an informed solution.

4. Separate “how” from “what”

A lot of people shy away from calling themselves a Salesforce Architect because they don’t have all the technical skill, fingers-to-keys experience that some developers do. But there are 2 pieces to the solution: what to do, and how to do it.

Your job is to figure out what to do. What does the ideal solution look like, and what is needed to get there? From there, you work with your team to figure out how that gets put in to place.

So, if you do any of the above, I’ve got news for you: You ARE a Salesforce Architect!

If you are interested in becoming a CTA, read more about my journey to become a Certified Technical Architect. And you can always keep up with me on Twitter.

Steve Baines