Focus on People: Sarah Amin

sarah amin – senior consultant and solution manager

by Aleksandra Krstevska

Have you ever asked yourself where do you start when you don’t have a clue what career you want?

If you are at the beginning of your career path or you want to change it, Sarah Amin is a real example of how you can switch from one career to a Salesforce career.

Today, she is another successful Salesforce learner and part of our Focus on Force community. Her interview will inspire to start learning and acquiring more and more Salesforce certifications.

Continue reading to get motivated and learn more about Sarah’s Salesforce journey.


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

My name is Sarah Amin. I work for a company North Peak Solutions as a senior consultant and a solution manager. My day to day at North Peak looks like helping non-profit organizations with Salesforce. Sometimes we’re doing a brand new design; sometimes we’re updating an existing Salesforce, advising on high-level strategy for an organization.

 
How and why did you get started with Salesforce?

I’m actually biochemist by training. I realized that I wanted to get out from the university system. I was working in a research lab and I had designed a database for that lab to track their experiments. I really loved the database work. I wanted to get into database work. My next job has exposed me to Salesforce and I just loved it. I loved how flexible it was, how powerful it was, and how it really could be customized for any organization regardless if it’s a university, a lab, non-profit, for-profit. It’s just so flexible and powerful.


What were your goals when starting?

At the beginning, I just wanted to learn how to change a picklist value. I was working for an organization and a Salesforce customization group was at our headquarters in California. I was very limited into what I could do. I just wanted to learn as much as I could so that they could start to give me the keys to the kingdom.

 
What was the most challenging part of learning Salesforce?

Getting access to materials, I think, was the most challenging part. That first organization I worked with, we didn’t have premier support or anything so I just watched videos online. This is before the days of Trailhead so finding resources online to teach yourself Salesforce wasn’t as available as it is now.

 
What certifications have you achieved so far?

I have five Salesforce certifications: Admin, Advanced Admin, Platform App Builder, and Sales Cloud Consultant. I used to have the Developer 1 certification before it was retired.


Which certification was the most difficult and why?

Maybe the Admin certification was the most difficult for me. It covers such a breadth of knowledge and it was my first certification so I really had no idea what I was getting into. Getting experience just with the style of questions on a Salesforce certification exam is so helpful in understanding how you need to approach the next, and then the next, and then the next. It is kind of addicting; once you have one certification, it’s fun to get them all!

 
Do you plan to achieve more Salesforce certifications in the future and which one is next?

Most definitely! I think maybe next I want to try to get either the Community Cloud certification or maybe even the Service Cloud Consultant certification. I haven’t quite decided yet what my next step will be.


What tips and advice do you have for others who are in the process of preparing and studying for a Salesforce certification and keep motivated?

The thing that helped me the most with my last certification exam was finding somebody else that wanted to take the same exam at the same time. We met once a week for a while to start studying for the exam. We looked at the criteria in the exam, how much was in each section, and found things to talk about with each section and each topic on the exam. If I had known about Focus on Force when I had started, I probably would have used the study guides because we focused on all of the wrong things. Especially for Sales Cloud, we focused on higher level about the decision-making of how to implement something and not the technical aspects of configuring that exact feature. I think we wasted several months studying the wrong things when we could have just used your study guides instead.

 
​How did Focus on Force study guides and practice exams help with your preparation?

We were so far into our studying. We didn’t access the study guide itself, although we probably should have. We focused specifically on the practice exams. I loved how there was one practice exam that was focused on a specific topic and you had to spend a specific amount of time for each topic that was relevant to the percentage of that topic on the exam. It really gave you a good feel for the questions that will be on the exam. Different to question dumps which are out there, it allowed you to challenge your knowledge. We loved not just knowing what the answer was if we got it wrong, but why it was that answer and the link to the reference material that you used to get that specific answer so we could dig even more into it if we needed to. I don’t know if I would have passed my Sales Cloud consultant exam as easily if I haven’t had the practice exams.


​What advice do you have for someone that wants to start a Salesforce career?

There are so many opportunities out there. I started in a for-profit side of Salesforce work. I was a Sales Apps analyst at my last job and now I have gotten a consultant job with the ability to travel, really expand my knowledge with new and different projects. I think it’s great for anyone who’s looking to either start their career or change their career because there are so many opportunities out there with Salesforce.