Focused and Certified: Alexey Bakshaev — From Junior Java Developer to Lead Salesforce Engineer

Focused and Certified Alexey Bakshaev

Alexey Bakshaev has been working for Deutsche Bank Technology Center in Moscow, Russia for the past 14 years, and has held numerous positions within the company such as Java Developer, Application Developer, Function Analyst, Lead Function Analyst, Software Engineer, Salesforce Engineer and presently, Lead Salesforce Engineer. Today, Alexey manages a team of six Salesforce Engineers, and shares with Focus on Force why he started learning Salesforce, what a typical working day for him is like, and why the Sales Cloud Consultant certification presented some challenges for him.

Hello. My name is Alexey Bakshaev. My role is as a Team Lead of six Salesforce Engineers. I'm working at Deutsche Bank Russia Technology Center.

How did you get started with Salesforce?

I started in 2018. There was an integration project to move internal in-house data into the Salesforce Cloud and I was working in the integration team. I then started looking at how I could help deliver the project faster and more efficiently. And I eventually switched to the Salesforce Engineer role, and now I'm leading a team of six Salesforce Engineers as I mentioned.

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

As for goals — first of all, it was about project delivery and the obvious solution for me was to understand what Salesforce is. To get into the details of Salesforce — how it is organized inside, and how we can deliver solutions on the Salesforce platform. So I started to learn these things, and I transitioned into the Salesforce Engineer role to help with the project.


As for motivation, it was pretty pretty easy: you have to have a goal. And with our project, it was easy and people around were very helpful. So motivation was for free, I would say.

Are you currently Salesforce certified ?

Yes. I currently have two certificates: the first one is Salesforce Admin, and the second one is Sales Cloud Consultant.

Did obtaining your certifications make a positive impact in your career?

As for my personal career, there was no immediate impact on it but it's a long-term investment. I learned new things. I think learning always has a positive impact. So it doesn't matter what you learn — Salesforce certification, Java or Node.js. Learning is a good thing. So, first and foremost, practice the learning skill.


While learning, you develop the skill to learn new things and while learning new things, you get to practice this skill. And in the real world, I think it is very important to have this skill as the world is changing so fast. If you can learn something very fast, and apply it quickly in real life — it is good for you, the company, and for the world. 

I think learning always has a positive impact. So it doesn't matter what you learn... Learning is a good thing. So, first and foremost, practice the learning skill.

What difficulties did you face while you were studying for your certifications?

The main difficulty for the second certification was regarding my day-to-day work not being related to Sales Cloud Consultant at all. That's why it was very challenging for me to understand some new aspects of this certification on the Salesforce platform as compared to the Admin certification. Admin was a lot easier because it correlated to my day-to-day activities — I did some configuration of Salesforce so it was a lot easier.

What is a day in the life of a Lead Salesforce Engineer like?

As for me, it's about 20% as a Team Lead, and 80% as an Engineer. We work utilizing Scrum, and we have Sprint Backlogs. Items are prioritized so items are ready for Sprint because we took them into Sprint.


So we check how we can most efficiently apply the Salesforce platform to meet these requirements. We create User Stories. User Stories are prioritized in the Sprint. So you really start with an end-to-end automated test against the Salesforce platform. Of course tests fail, so the next step during the day is to implement this requirement on the Salesforce platform. You are doing it through test-driven development — you write tests either on Apex or on JavaScript for Lightning web component, and then you deploy this into your Sandbox.


Now once deployed, you run the automated entrance scenario. If it is green, it has passed — it means that implementation meets requirements. Done. Next item.

For what certification did you use Focus on Force for and would you say it was helpful?

I used Focus on Force for the second certification — Sales Cloud Consultant. So the situation was very tricky. I knew that Sales Cloud Consultant was a lot harder compared to Admin.


I talked to my colleagues on what they used and they recommended Focus on Force to me. I really like Focus on Force. You helped me a lot and I think you help a lot of people.


What I liked about Focus on Force is that it highlighted my gaps so I could quickly focus on the gaps & work on them. So I did know a lot about the Sales Cloud console, but as for the exam, I was not ready and Focus on Force helped me to identify the gaps I was not ready with. And the explanation Focus on Force gives helps me understand what I need to do; what the missing bit is.


What I liked about Focus on Force is that it highlighted my gaps so I could quickly focus on the gaps & work on them.  And the explanation Focus on Force gives helps me understand what I need to do; what the missing bit is. 

Would you say that having good communication skills is helpful towards the professional life of a Lead Salesforce Engineer?

If you want to achieve success, it is essential. You need to communicate well with people. If you do not communicate well, then you might have different understanding, misunderstanding, wrong understanding, and it doesn't help to meet the objective to achieve the goal. We are a single team and we have one goal to achieve.


So, communication is key for anything, I would say.

What advice would you give someone who is preparing for a Salesforce certification exam?

First of all, as I said in the beginning you have to understand why you're doing it. You have to have a goal. If you’re just doing it for a check mark in your CV, I don't think it is going to work. You have to understand why you are doing it.


So once you have this understanding, just physically write it down on a paper, notebook, Word or in a Google Doc — whatever. But physically write it down. Once you have your goal documented, just think of how this particular certification preparation or passing the exam could help you with your goal.


And ideally, validate the statements with some people who have successfully passed the exam. Passing the exam is the right thing to do and to ensure you successfully pass the exam, I do recommend doing some practice, and the Focus on Force practice exams I think are the best.


Focus on your gaps. Once done, you'll successfully pass the exam.

What Certification are you studying for now?

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