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Q&A with Chris Peterson, Developer

To me, Chris Peterson, a Professional Services Automation (PSA) developer, exemplifies the culture—kicked back, smart, a big thinker and great sense of humor. As the last Q&A of this year, Chris – one of the rising stars in the Salesforce community – sums up why he enjoys working at

1) Hi Chris, thanks for chatting. What is your role here for those who don’t know? And what are some general goals and mottos you and your team have?

I am a software developer on the PSA application. My personal goal in my role is to push Salesforce into the bleeding edge, perhaps even a bit further than that, until it breaks. I’ve been at for almost 2 years now and have been working on the app that is now one of the largest ISV applications on the Salesforce platform the majority of that time.

2) What would you say are your favorite Certinia PSA features of all time?

One of the reasons our development team works well is that we get to put some of the ideas that our technical leadership team comes up with into practice. Stephen Willcock, our director of product innovation, made a presentation back during Dreamforce 2012 about a plug-in system using apex, prior to that it wasn’t possible to run code that wasn’t part of your application’s package. The PSA dev team picked up the idea and built a plugin-based API for handling customizations to the billing process. From a technical perspective this was a really revolutionary idea for the ISV community, and PSA helped turn it into something that can have a tangible customer benefit. The time against tasks capability, which is part of the Winter ’14 release, is another one that customers really wanted and used an interesting mix of technology to deliver.

3) What keeps you working here when there are so many development positions in the Silicon Valley?

It’s a pretty low-pressure environment when all things considered. For a typical startup software engineering job, you are thinking frequent all-nighters, downing caffeine 24-7, and living in the office. Not here but in a good way: we’ve got the start-up culture with lots of joking around, no dress code, casual office environment, but not the low pay and high pressure that comes with it like other start-ups. We are more like a SME that feels like a startup but we have the perks of not being a stodgy SME.

The team itself is interesting too – we’ve got a bit of everything in term of backgrounds, age, attitudes towards development, etc. We’ve everyone from the veterans to young grads, and everyone in between but everyone has a great and unique sense of humor. Good thing HR doesn’t sit in our corner of office!!

4) Describe the relationship you have with other developers on the SFDC platform.

I’d say I have a generally good relationship with other developers on the platform although people know me by my Twitter handle @ca_peterson and I have to introduce myself that way when meeting them. Andy Fawcett, our CTO and a Salesforce MVP is undisputedly one of the thought leaders on the platform and we’ve got a friendly competition going on to see who can help more developers in the community. Between Stack Exchange, twitter, and the Salesforce community site, I enjoy spending a good amount of time answering questions, sharing knowledge and sample code, and new ideas. It’s a way to give back to the community for all the tools and knowledge they’ve provided me with.

5) From a work perspective, any resolutions for 2014??

Yes! Make sure code reviews are done before end of the sprint. I need to also blog more. Oh, and try to become a Salesforce MVP.

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