Often, your job tasks or your role could be the reason for learning Salesforce and getting certified. In David's case, he had to learn Salesforce because he started working for Salesforce after an acquisition.
David is currently a Senior Quality Engineer at Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Discover the interesting story of how he had to dive right in to getting his Trailhead wins and his first Salesforce certifications.
How and Why did you get started with Salesforce?
I actually started out working for a small retail point of sale and inventory management company called Tomax, based in Salt Lake City. After a couple of years working there, we were acquired by Demandware, which was then acquired by Salesforce a couple years after that. As my primary job and duties stayed the same even after the acquisitions, I had no reason to seek another job.
What were your goals when starting and how did you keep motivated?
After being acquired by Salesforce, my primary goal was to gain an understanding of its processes and culture. I primarily focused on the Salesforce Trailhead modules and continually challenged myself to take in as much as I could, eventually becoming the first in the office to become a Trailhead Ranger and challenge the Superbadges. That's been going virtually non-stop since I began due to a personal mindset of not leaving things unfinished being my main motivation. It's paid off as I'm constantly in the Top 10 company-wide these days for Trailhead badges.
"I primarily focused on the Salesforce Trailhead modules and continually challenged myself to take in as much as I could, eventually becoming the first in the office to become a Trailhead Ranger and challenge the Superbadges."
What was the most challenging part of learning Salesforce?
The same as with learning any new technology, really. Here, you are thrown into a completely new system using terms and programming languages you may not be familiar with and really have to put in a lot of extra study time to get up to speed.
Do you currently have a certification? How did obtaining this certification impact your career?
I earned my Administrator certification in August 2018 and my Platform Developer I certification earlier this year. While they have not yet had a direct impact on my career, I definitely feel that they allow for several more paths and channels to open up both in and out of Salesforce, should I decide to make a change.
What is your advice regarding certification and how to study for the exams?
Certification will open up several avenues of advancement as there are opportunities for certified Salesforce professionals both in and out of Salesforce, but experience will continue to be the best teacher in utilizing the knowledge gained from studying for the certifications to become a true expert. Even after being certified, that still leaves quite a bit to learn. When it comes to studying for the exams, remember that it requires a great deal of time and commitment both to learn the material and to prepare for the exam itself. I spent three weeks studying for the Admin exam and two for the PDI, and they paid off as I passed each on the first try. Despite that, do not be afraid of failures. The main point of practice exams is to help you understand which portions of the material you need to spend more time on. As a friend of mine likes to say, "You learn more from an F than from an A."
"The main point of practice exams is to help you understand which portions of the material you need to spend more time on. As a friend of mine likes to say, 'You learn more from an F than from an A.'"
What advice would you have for people preparing for a Salesforce certification, similar to yours?
Utilize every resource available. As the Admin exam is the starter certification for most Salesforce employees, I was able to find several sources of quizzes, practice exams, and flashcards on our internal Chatter groups and those were informative enough to cover everything needed for the exam. The Platform Developer I did not have as many viable resources, leading me to utilize Focus on Force for about 75% of the preparation. Go with what works for your style of study and you'll make it.
"The Platform Developer I did not have as many viable resources, leading me to utilize Focus on Force for about 75% of the preparation. Go with what works for your style of study and you'll make it."
What Certification are you studying for now?
Focus on Force currently provides practice exams and study guides for fifteen certifications