Salesforce Developer vs. Web Developer

If you enjoy programming, you can pursue careers such as web and Salesforce development. Let’s examine these two roles and see how they differ.

A Salesforce developer designs and creates applications on the Salesforce CRM platform or other Salesforce cloud technology. In contrast, a web developer designs, builds and maintains the core structure of a website.

In this article, I will go into an in-depth explanation of the key differences between a Salesforce developer and a web developer, and how to know which fits you best and aligns with your skills.

Salesforce Developer – Web Developer Difference

Here’s a table that summarizes the primary differences between a Salesforce developer and a web developer.

AreaSalesforce DeveloperWeb Developer
Job DescriptionDesigns and creates Salesforce applicationsDesigns, builds and maintains the core structure of a website
Programming Language (Controller)Apex, a strongly typed object-oriented programming languageMost common ones used in web development are JavaScript, CSS, PHP, etc
Markup Language (View)VisualforceHypertext Markup Language (HTML)
Query Language (Model)Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL)Structured Query Language (SQL)
Average Salary (US)$117,019 / year$67,585 / year
Table: Differences between a salesforce developer and a web developer.

Let’s go into more detail about these distinctions.

Job Description

A Salesforce developer designs and creates Salesforce applications. Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that allows businesses to manage their sales, marketing, communication, and other services in one place. Essentially, a Salesforce developer helps create Salesforce apps designed to meet company goals and make business processes scalable.

In contrast, a web developer designs, builds and maintains websites. They can focus on front-end development (creating sites and producing content) or back-end development (writing code to make website features work). Web developers can also be webmasters, meaning they perform tasks that include but are not limited to maintenance, updates, and troubleshooting.

Video: What means to be a Salesforce Developer

Programming Language (Controller)

Salesforce developers use Apex, a Java-like object-oriented programming language. Apex has an application programming interface (API) that Salesforce developers can use to access user data on the platform. 

If you want to become a Salesforce developer and are already familiar with Java, you already have an advantage when it comes to learning Apex. Apex is built on well-known Java phrases, such as the syntax for variables and expressions, blocks and conditional statements, loops, objects, and arrays. 

On the other hand, web developers have a wider range of programming languages to choose from. Most web developers use JavaScript to build different web applications because it allows them to implement complex features on web pages. 

Aside from JavaScript, here are some of the best web development programming languages to master if you want to pursue a career as a web developer:

  • Java
  • CSS
  • React
  • Angular
  • Objective C
  • Scala
  • Python
  • C#
  • C++
  • PHP
  • Perl

If you already know at least one of the above programming languages (especially JavaScript), web development might be the best fit for you and your skills.

Markup Language (View)

Visualforce is a framework that lets Salesforce developers build user interfaces or Salesforce pages unique to each customer. The Visualforce framework has a markup language based on tags, similar to HTML. This language can use a combination of Apex and JavaScript.

In contrast, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the markup language web developers use to describe how information is organized on a webpage. Most web developers use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as their primary languages.

Query Language (Model)

Salesforce developers use Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL) to make queries. SOQL is only used for searching and retrieving records from Salesforce’s database. Data-altering statements like UPDATE, INSERT, and DELETE aren’t allowed.

Web developers also manage data when building websites, but the query language they use for this purpose is Structured Query Language (SQL). Unlike SOQL, SQL can be used for more than just creating data. It can also be used to change and manipulate data. 

In SQL, the data is stored in database tables, while in SOQL, the data is stored as objects.

Average Salary (US)

As of July 21, 2022, the average salary for a Salesforce developer in the United States is $117,019, while it’s $67,585 for a web developer. This is based on the salaries reported anonymously by Salesforce and web developer employees, users, and Indeed job ads over the past 36 months. 

In the United States, the city with the highest salary for Salesforce developers is McLean, Virginia ($138,299/year). On the other hand, the city with the highest salary for web developers is New York, New York ($78,243/year).

Just because the average salary of a web developer is lower, it doesn’t mean it is hard to earn more. Here you can read about easy steps to earn $100,000 yearly as a web developer.

Salesforce Developer vs. Web Developer: Which Is Better?

The best answer to the question of whether you should become a Salesforce or web developer is “It depends.” What do you want to get out of your programming career? What do you value as a programmer? Do you want to earn as much money as possible, or are you okay with taking a salary cut in favor of gaining the knowledge you can use over the long term?

Be a Salesforce developer if you want to specialize in the platform and earn a bigger salary. Be a web developer if you are a jack of all trades when it comes to programming languages, and you want more flexibility in your career options.

Here are the pros in favor of becoming a Salesforce developer:

  • Greater specialization. If you want to have greater depth in terms of your programming knowledge, becoming a Salesforce developer is the way to go.
  • Better salary. In general, the more specialized a position is, the higher the salary that goes with it. I mean, just look at the salary figures I cited earlier: You can earn almost twice as much as the average web developer.

On the other hand, here’s what you have going for you if you’re a web developer:

  • More breadth in terms of programming knowledge. If you pride yourself on being knowledgeable in a wide range of programming languages, you’ll probably do well as a web developer.
  • More career options. Although you won’t earn as much as a Salesforce developer, you can make up for it by the fact that you can apply for many more positions than a more specialized developer can. 


Ultimately, the answer to whether you should become a Salesforce developer or a web developer is up to you. You don’t have to pick just one: Many developers do both. If you think you have what it takes to be both, then by all means feel free to dip your feet into the wonderful world of programming careers.

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