How to Become a CRM Developer

Learn how to become a CRM developer. Find out more about CRM developer salary information, education requirements, job prospects, and skills.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

portrait of Stefanie Grodman
by Stefanie Grodman

Published August 22, 2022

Edited by Kelly Thomas
Share this Article


Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a network of digital tools that allow companies to interact directly with consumers and leads. Ultimately, these systems are designed to improve efficiency, grow customer engagement, help sales teams meet their quotas, and enhance user experience. A variety of platforms and software fall under the CRM umbrella. For example, CRM systems can use AI to streamline customer service and sales activity or use customer data to inform market research.

CRM is a fast-growing software market. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a shift toward more direct business-to-customer communication platforms, creating massive demand for developers trained to build and maintain CRM infrastructures. As a result, CRM development has become one of the more lucrative and in-demand software development niches.

What Is CRM Development?

CRM systems refer to a wide variety of software that fosters communication between enterprises and their customers. CRM software can bolster customer relationships, streamline sales and customer service activities, and increase lead conversion rates.

This software is typically categorized into collaborative, operational, and analytical systems. Collaborative systems provide sales, marketing, and customer service professionals with the platforms to share customer information; operational systems use automation to maximize efficiency; and analytical systems collect and analyze customer data to identify buying patterns.

Software developers specializing in CRM may design systems that meet a company's customer service needs and business objectives. These professionals may enhance existing CRM infrastructures with tools like plugins, add-ons, and modules. They may integrate CRM software with third-party applications or build independent applications.

Often, CRM developers communicate with stakeholders to identify company needs, discuss budgetary logistics, and plan custom solutions. These developers frequently conduct unit and performance testing to optimize the user experience.

What Are the Requirements to Become a CRM Developer?

The criteria for becoming a CRM developer are similar to those for any software development role. Nearly all CRM developers need to have a computer science background and substantial programming and coding knowledge.

Most CRM developers have bachelor's degrees in areas like computer science or information technology. People with associate or bachelor's degrees in unrelated areas may still enter CRM development roles if they have proven experience in the CRM software niche.

Many people choose to kickstart their CRM development careers through non-degree certification programs. In fact, many companies that produce leading CRM tools, including Zoho, Microsoft, and Salesforce, offer their own training programs. Professionals hoping to enter the CRM development world may also complete specialized bootcamps, which are designed to equip learners with the fundamental skills to design CRM software through a streamlined curriculum.

What Does CRM Developer Training Look Like?

Many CRM developers launch their careers after earning technology-related bachelor's degrees. Although earning a four-year degree is not an absolute requirement for CRM developers, many employers require at least a relevant bachelor's degree or strongly prioritize candidates with this credential.

As they complete their education, all future CRM developers must build a substantial coding background, familiarize themselves with database programming, and learn several object-oriented programming languages. Many professionals regularly work with languages like Java, JavaScript, PHP, and Perl. They should also be familiar with various data modeling and software engineering tools.

Some postsecondary institutions offer customer relationship management courses for undergraduate computer science majors. These courses should ideally integrate technical principles of CRM program development with a more in-depth exploration of the business and marketing objectives of CRM. Future developers should understand how this software can be modified to enhance user experience and improve communication between sales and customer service teams.

Software developers with more generalized training can build skills specific to CRM through courses, bootcamps, and certification programs. Zoho's training course, for example, touches on key topics like REST API's role in data analysis, functions, widgets, and SDKs.

People with existing development or IT experience may also gain CRM experience through on-the-job training. Software development professionals can often enter the CRM niche through internships or entry-level jobs.

How Long Does It Take to Become a CRM Developer?

Earning a college degree is typically the first step toward becoming a CRM developer. A bachelor's degree typically takes four years of full-time study or 5-6 years of part-time study to earn. Some institutions offer accelerated program formats, which can take about three years to complete; accelerated programs can be especially suitable for students with a number of previously-earned college credits.

Non-degree training programs frequently offer fast-paced, condensed curricula and short program lengths. These career training tools are often available in asynchronous, fully-remote formats, making them accessible to working professionals who wish to supplement their degrees. For example, both Zoho and Microsoft's CRM training programs require only four full days of coursework, respectively. However, some courses or bootcamps may take weeks or months to complete.

Sometimes, a bootcamp or training course may not be enough to land a high-level CRM development job. Professionals can use internships to gain foundational experience and network with others in their field. During this time, interns may shadow or assist more experienced developers and learn what these positions entail. Internships are usually temporary positions and often last about 2-6 months.

Frequently Asked Questions About CRM Development

Is coding required for CRM?

Just like any other area of software development, CRM development requires coding. CRM developers use code to create and modify CRM structures. These developers should be especially familiar with database programming, as many CRM systems are essentially complex databases that store customer and lead information.

CRM developers should also have expert knowledge of web and application development principles; they must use code to customize features, integrate third-party apps, and program modifications like add-ons or plugins.

Is CRM development a good career?

CRM development can be an excellent career area for people who enjoy exploring the intersections of business, marketing, and technology. These professionals may work for large corporations, create custom CRM systems for individual clients, or market their own software products.

As CRM systems become essential sales and customer service tools, professionals with CRM training remain in high demand. More consumers use CRM through mobile devices, with 81% using these systems through multiple devices. This generates an even greater demand for developers to construct and maintain mobile applications and mobile versions of existing software.

Developers in this niche often earn high salaries. Although salary potential depends on factors like experience level, employer, and location, the average CRM developer salary typically falls between $100,000 and $140,000 per year.

What language is used in CRM?

To keep up with the demands of their field, CRM developers should be able to use multiple coding languages proficiently. Database programming is a central component of CRM development, and developers often use languages like Java and Javascript and tools like Oracle SQL Developer for data modeling.

These developers should also be familiar with object-oriented languages like HTML5. They may also use scripting languages like PHP or Perl. CRM specialists often utilize software engineering tools like Visual Studio IDE or Eclipse IDE.

Feature Image: Dusan Stankovic / E+ / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare your school options.

View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.