Contributor: Robert Lange
Robert Lange began his Salesforce journey when he started using Salesforce as a CRM program for his construction company. Rob holds 5 Salesforce certifications. Currently, he is working as a Salesforce Developer at GetForce. He is also works as a volunteer for several non-profit organizations and enjoys attending Salesforce community events.
If you want to become a Salesforce Developer it is imperative you become proficient in Apex. But which resources should you use? Can you start with Trailhead? Or is it better to take courses on 3rd party sites, like Udemy?
I wrote this article for Trailblazers with no coding background but with a burning desire to become proficient in Apex. I am a professional Salesforce Developer with five years of development experience and spending the past two years teaching Salesforce, too. Here is my list of 4 recommended resources and strategies for learning the real basics to help you maximize your chances of mastering Apex.
1. Deepika Khana (Udemy and YouTube)
Deepika Khana has a course on Udemy that teaches Apex. Her “Salesforce Apex Programming Language” course assumes no previous coding experience.
Many of my students loved her teaching approach because she starts from the core basics of Apex like objects and variables. She advances to more complex topics in baby steps. While much of Deepika’s training is available on YouTube her course on Udemy is more comprehensive. You can typically buy the Udemy course for $10 and the course is yours forever.
2. Apex Academy (Pluralsight)
David Liu’s Apex Academy was well received by my students because it assumes no previous coding experience. The examples are easy to understand and relatable. The only drawback of the course is that Apex Academy is hosted on Pluralsight, which has a monthly subscription service ($29). Once you stop your subscription you lose access to the course material. This is not the case with courses on Udemy.
3. Parikshith M (Youtube)
Parikshith has a wonderful YouTube channel that has a series of videos that is ideal for absolute beginners. My students feel that he “provided a good explanation of Apex collections, for loops and classes and methods”.
4. System dot Debug (Youtube)
This series of 6-minute videos cover core Apex topics. My students said that they are “really helpful when you need precise and short explanation of things like System.debug, analyzing Execution Logs and understanding things like list, map and Anonymous Apex”.
Important Apex Tools
Illuminated Cloud is a wonderful plugin for IntelliJ. It is used by advanced Salesforce developers but it is also super handy for beginners. Illuminated Cloud accelerates you Apex learning because of code-completion and hotkeys. Also, it helps you identify mistakes in your code. For example, if you forgot to write a semi-colon at the end of the line it will tell you that it expected a semi-colon there and highlights that part of your code in red. Plus, if you have an issue with Illuminated Cloud Scott Wells, its founder, provides quality & fast support.
This might seem trivial but it is essential that you become a master Googler. Anything that you find confusing or struggling with just Google it! There is 100% chance that someone else had the same question that you have and all you need to do is find that question on a forum or Salesforce documentation and be able to internalize that information. This will not be easy initially but as you keep googling you will build up this skill and then be ale to find answers to your questions within 10 seconds.
Get the Right Attitude for Apex
- Practice and repetition: There are no shortcuts to becoming a competent coder. Only students with determination to put in 3 hours daily will succeed. You should start from scratch every time and vary your Salesforce objects and/or logic.
- Partner up with others also learning Apex: By explaining and answering each other’s questions and getting over little bumps together the core Apex concepts will sink in more intuitively. Practice explaining your code line by line, and you will quickly uncover your weak areas.
- If you get stuck, consider several strategies. Don’t waste time and energy starting at the computer screen, stuck in place. Give your brain a rest, get up and do something physical (like taking a walk). Your body will be forever grateful! Then consider posting your coding questions to popular Salesforce forums such as:
You will be amazed at how fast a member of the Salesforce community will get back to you.
What to Avoid in the Early Days
- Apex Basics on Trailhead. Trailhead is great for learning Salesforce admin concepts but the material for learning Apex is not for beginners but for people with coding experience.
- Apex Hours: this is a nice youtube channel that has a series of videos for Salesforce beginners but the videos are more for an intermediate audience, not beginners.
- Don’t learn Java. It is better for you to just focus on Apex. Learning Java and reading books like HeadFirst (as suggested by David Liu) was a good idea several years ago when there were few materials for learning Apex. But this is no longer the case there it is not necessary to take the path to Apex using the Java detour.
Learning Apex will not be easy but you can do it. Persevere! It is a journey that will make you smarter and more desirable on the job market. The use of the above 4 resources combined with the 2 tools and 3 attitudes will bring triumph to your clutch. Study everyday! Victory is near.
Robert Lange has contributed for writing this article by giving feedback on each of the suggested steps since he himself recently learned Apex.