Focus on People: Andrew Smith – Shifting From Robots to Readers Through a Salesforce Career

Andrew was once a Robotics professional who simply wanted to get out of his comfort zone. While he’s on his way to master newer skills to add to his arsenal, he suddenly found a niche of expertise that seems to fit his goals and purpose—a Salesforce career. Know about his journey in discovering the Salesforce career path, the challenges he faced while studying for the certifications, and the measures he took to be a successful Salesforce professional in the learning space.

My name is Andrew Smith currently working at Reading Plus as a Salesforce Administrator.

How and why did you get started with Salesforce?

I started getting into Salesforce when I was laid off from my previous position where I was working in robotics. I managed software and physical robots back then to improve people’s work in different aspects. It then came to a point that I looked into becoming a Python developer by watching a lot of YouTube videos and taking several web courses.

Coincidentally, I stumbled across David Liu’s videos about a Salesforce career. It looked like my previous position but more problematic, yet more impactful to people’s day-to-day lives. This pushed me to shift to Salesforce because I really like to have an impact on people and make their jobs easier and more efficient.

What is your role now?

Now, I am with Reading Plus, an online platform that helps students become effective readers through fluency, comprehension, and motivational programs. I work there as Salesforce Administrator. I do project and software management while collaborating with different teams using our Salesforce org. 


I also take care of any files that come up in the sales and service processes of the company. I generally make sure everything’s on the up and up when it comes to the business usage of Salesforce.

It looked like my previous position but more problematic, yet more impactful to people’s day-to-day lives. This pushed me to shift to Salesforce because I really like to impact people and make their job easier and more efficient.

What do you think are the most important skills that a Salesforce Administrator should have?

One of the most important skills a Salesforce Administrator needs to have is attention to detail. A lot of times you don’t get a second chance to make a small tweak to the organization data to fix things, especially if it’s something large.

Of course, they provide tools such as Sandbox to make it low-impact if there are any issues that would arise. However, you really want to make sure that you don’t spend a lot of time chasing your tail. You can use the time instead in progressing your skills and rolling out more interesting Salesforce features to make sure that everyone is using all the updated technologies in their everyday work.

What were your goals when starting and how did you keep motivated?

My goal was to always be chasing for a certification. What kept me motivated are the training I took over Trailhead, the exam study guides I read from Focus on Force, and the informational videos I watched on YouTube. Just make sure you’re doing at least an hour or two to consume Salesforce content every day. As long as you keep moving towards your end goals, there’s no failure as long as you don’t give up.

Do you currently have a certification? How did obtaining this certification affect your career?

I currently have two certifications: one is Salesforce Administrator Certification and the other is Salesforce Developer 1 Certification. They’ve done wonders for my career. They’ve opened doors I didn’t even know to exist at companies I would never think I could work for. 


One thing I really like about Salesforce is that so many companies and industries use it. So as long as you’re staying up-to-date with Salesforce, it’s really easy to work yourself into. Position-wise, you’re going to enjoy it and it’s going to work for you the rest of your life.

One thing I really like about Salesforce is that so many companies and industries use it. So as long as you’re staying up-to-date with Salesforce, it’s really easy to work yourself into.

What was the most challenging part of learning Salesforce and how did you rise above those challenges?

One of the biggest challenges of Salesforce is their lingo, and everything around the product is very well thought out and meticulous when it comes to the wording. I was able to get around this challenge by consuming Focus on Force’s content, learning from other Salesforce Administrators, and staying up to date with all Salesforce webinars and modules. 


They put a lot of content that really helps you to understand unfamiliar lingo and handle different types of tools that they use. This helped me a lot whenever I work with different companies because each of them has their own terms and experience when it comes to using the product. Compared to other traditional programming languages, it’s just getting into the lingo because it’s almost like any other language. But once you get a hold of it, you can really get in there and make an impact.

What’s your future goal and where do you think your career will head forward to in the future?

My future goal is to become a Salesforce Architect. I’d like to achieve this goal as soon as possible so that I can equip myself early with the strategies and the right skills for the future of my career. I’m just going to keep moving to wherever I can help people the most while making a living—I think those are the most important things to me and Salesforce allows me to do that.

I’m just going to keep moving to wherever I can help people the most while making a living—I think those are the most important things to me and Salesforce allows me to do that.

What is your advice regarding the certification and how to study for the exams?

My advice for anyone trying to get Salesforce certification is to start on Trailhead. Once you have tried Trailhead, I would suggest to move forward to YouTube videos and Focus on Force content so you can get a direction of where you’re trying to go. Once you’ve planned out a path, you’ll learn the information more easily. Salesforce is really easy to get into and helps you start moving as soon as possible. 


One of the most important things whenever you’re picking up a new tool or deciding to begin a new career is the speed of getting into that career. Salesforce did a great job in their mentorship program. There are David Liu’s videos and, of course, Focus on Force content when you’re ready to get in there and study for the certifications.

What would you suggest for someone that wants to start a Salesforce career?

Salesforce is a great tool. If I can give one piece of advice with it, it’s to never give up and make sure that you’re always headed in the right direction, whether it’s a developer, architecture, or even an administrator career. 


If you’re somebody who’s been in the Salesforce for years and haven’t taken any certifications, I would recommend taking those. They go far and beyond what you can ever imagine and allow you to not only reassure yourself what you’ve learned are the best practices, but they allow you to take the stepping stone to the next level.


When it comes to explaining what you’re doing, I think one of the biggest things that companies are looking for is being able to communicate what you’re doing. Just never give up, one thing you need to know is the only way to fail is to give up. So as long as you stay focused (on force), you’ll be able to get to your goal.

Just never give up, one thing you need to know is the only way to fail is to give up. So as long as you stay focused (on force), you’ll be able to get to your goal.

Do you have any experience with Salesforce paid resources, like the academy? How was it?

Yes, I took the Platform Developer 1 Bootcamp through Salesforce Trailhead. It’s nice but the pacing is a bit slow for my liking. You can finish the course in a month, but I like to go at my own pace—and Focus on Force really allowed me to do that because the resources are available 24/7.

You can set up your own study plan and work through it, whereas the Bootcamp is really good if you have to ask a lot of questions. But if not, you can always seek advice from the Salesforce community.


When it comes to cost and knowledge ratio, I would recommend Focus on Force. The Bootcamps are nice if somebody else is paying for them, but in today’s day and age, they’re pricey.

How would you describe Focus on Force to someone who hasn’t heard of us yet?

Focus on Force is a finely curated exam preparation tool. They have their study guide which covers bulks of content and also it leads to the Salesforce website so that you can know that the sources you’re getting are correct.

The exam preparation is top-notch. They allow you to take the questions from previous exams and answer them based on your study plan. You are also able to see the answers immediately if you like, but you may also check the references to understand them more. Focus on Force really helps in giving the information you need before taking the exam as fast as possible, without using any cheating material that’s out there.

Focus on Force really helps in giving the information you need before taking the exam as fast as possible, without using any cheating material that’s out there.

What Certification are you studying for now?

Focus on Force currently provides practice exams and study guides for ten certifications