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Focus on People: Jordan Elkin

Jordan Elkin is a Technical Consultant. He always knew that Technology Consulting was going to be his field, but he was on the look out for how to get started. Soon enough, he learned of the existence of Salesforce, and wanting to get to know it, watched some of the online sessions from Dreamforce 2015. He developed his Salesforce skills over the next few months, received his certifications, and now works as a Salesforce Consultant. Find out more about his path to becoming a Salesforce Consultant below!

How and Why did you get started with Salesforce?

I first heard about Salesforce last summer, because my brother works in Sales and uses Salesforce as an end user every single day. We were out for dinner around when around Dreamforce 2015 was starting, and he said I should take a look at it, watch some videos, watch some sessions, learn what everyone has to say – listen to Marc Benioff. It really took off from there! I found an interest in it; I spent some time learning Salesforce, and here we are, a year and a half later!

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

Within the first five months, I wanted to get Admin certification as well as Sales Cloud. I come from a service-orientated background, so Service Cloud was just an add-on from the ServiceNow knowledge I had. Then, in September, I just got an urge to to learn declarative programming. I picked up AppBuilder, I learned some Lightning Process Builder, and it really just piqued my interest. I went about it, studied, put nights and weekends in to get the certificates.

The biggest thing for me to stay motivated was that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how hard it is, you know that once you get that certificate, the feeling is just unmatched.

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

I think the most difficult part is that you’re under a time limit. There’s definitely a pressure on you – certain questions, where you’re picking two out of four, three out of five. I think the key to it is just keeping a cool head, and just eliminating the wrong answers. There are some questions where it is very obviously wrong, and there are some questions where it is a lot harder to figure out what’s wrong. If you keep a cool head, if you are composed, and if you keep confident – that’s the key to everything.

Which certifications did you start off with first and which ones do you have now?

I started studying in the middle of March, and I passed my Admin in the middle of May. I passed Sales Cloud Consulting in July. I passed Service Cloud Consulting in August, and I passed Platform App Builder at the end of September and Pardot specialist in January. I’m currently sitting on five certifications. 

Do you plan to do anymore certifications, if so which ones?

I attended Salesforce World Tour last week in New York City, and two of the coolest booths I went to were Community Cloud and Pardot. After speaking with some of the Salesforce reps and learning about the features coming Winter and Spring 2017, I want to do Community Cloud and Email specialist.

What is your role now and what does your day to day look like?

My work really depends on the day. Being in Consulting, everyday is a different challenge. Some days I’ll be working on configuration, some days I’ll be working with my developers to write code and gather requirements. I do a lot of business analysis and a lot of data analytics in terms of cleansing data, loading data. It really differs, so I do a little bit of everything.

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

I think the biggest thing is you shouldn’t be afraid of asking for help. All of us are in this together. When one of us makes it through, that’s a success for the community. Read blogs, ask questions, and use the community. Use Stack Exchange, reach out to people on LinkedIn who have certifications. I get requests all the time, and I’m happy to help people out. We all want to see each other succeed at the end of the day.

Why do you think being certified is so important?

I think there are two answers to that. First, I just turned 23 about three months ago, and in a world where experience is key – experience is something I don’t have, because I was right out of college in the world of consulting. I thought the certifications would push me ahead of the pack and show that I have a certain amount of knowledge. But for those who have more experience, I think having certification only cements that you have the knowledge, that you have the capacity to learn, and that you’re passionate. You believe in the cause, you want to go further and you want to advance your career in Salesforce.

Do you have any tips for getting certified?

Starting off, it was a lot of hours doing Trailhead, reading study guides online. Obviously, FocusonForce helped me a ton with the guides and the practice exams.

The biggest thing I did was reach out to members of the community. I sent emails and messages to other more experienced consultants and other Salesforce users asking for help. Being that the community is so helpful, everyone was so friendly, and everyone wanted to give me tips. Everyone was really excited that I was so interested in the world of Salesforce. My biggest help was definitely the community.

What Certification are you studying for now?

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