Seriously – just sign up for one
I want to stress in a second post that you don’t have to be a developer to sign up for the free developer org that I told everyone about in the first post. An Admin who doesn’t know a single line of code can get just as much use, if not more, out of one of these dev orgs as a full blown developer can. Think of them as orgs to play in. They aren’t even trial orgs because they don’t expire – which makes them even better. As long as you save your password somewhere you can always come back and get that one special piece of work that would be perfect for the item you are currently working on. This happens to me all the time where I want to reuse something I’ve built in the past. If I didn’t build it in my own dev org before building it for a client, and the engagement is over, I may not have access to it anymore.
Calling these developer orgs is kind of like Salesforce calling themselves Salesforce. It’s unfortunate how many people don’t realize just how much can be done in both cases if you ignore what they are called and focus on use cases. Think about Salesforce – how many companies use the platform and their purposes may have nothing at all to do with sales – like Service Cloud customers!
Extending your Admin capabilities
I’ll extend this even further and say that if you are currently an Admin, don’t let that pigeon hole you into a set of tasks to the point that you don’t feel comfortable asking to try something different. I’ve learned so much by stepping out of that comfort zone and seeing what else can be learned. I was doing trigger based Chatter Posts and Visualforce Charting long before many people because I had time as an Admin and was trying to solve a business problem. I didn’t care that this was developer work, I wanted to figure it out. Since then I’ve realized just how bad and unscalable my original code truly was, but the important part is that I got there, and you can as well. Not sure how, try google and keep trying until you get it.
Great reasons to use FREE Developer Orgs as an Administrator:
1. You can add and make required as many fields as you want, and then just forget about them. Do this in a work sandbox and eventually one of them will accidentally end up in your production environment. It’s happened to me
2. Change security settings for the entire org from public to private and see what happens. This is a great way to play with security and sharing rules, and really understanding the underlying architecture.
3. Create all the workflows, validation rules, triggers you want without worrying about them stepping on each other. Do this in a sandbox and you’ll find yourself hitting roadblocks when you are trying to also do real work configuration because a validation rule will have some hard stop in place that 3 months ago you were just trying out.
4. Save your great prototyped examples! Do this in a work sandbox and you lose everything when it gets refreshed.