Focused and Certified: Alfonso Luis Maquilan — A Fresh College Grad’s Journey To 12 Certifications

Salesforce Consultant Alfonso Luis Maquilan

Alfonso Luis Maquilan is a Salesforce Consultant for Deloitte Philippines. After completing his bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Alfonso got his start in software development when he was assigned to the Salesforce Department at his first job. Today, Alfonso is 12X certified and explains why he thinks the Platform Developer 2 certification was the most difficult for him, how obtaining 12 certifications greatly impacted his career, and also gives great advice to people planning on starting a Salesforce career.

My name is Alfonso Maquilan. I am a Salesforce Consultant for Deloitte Consulting Philippine Delivery Center.

How did you get started with Salesforce?

I graduated in 2016 with a Computer Science degree, and then I joined Accenture where they assigned me to the Salesforce Department. Salesforce is actually the start of my software development career.

What were your goals when you started learning Salesforce and how did you keep motivated?

Take note that I was a fresh graduate then. So it was just to go to work, you know. After graduating one has to find a job. And then I was assigned to Salesforce. Two years into the job, I started thinking, ‘Maybe I should take this seriously.’ And then after one more year, I received excellent feedback from my superiors. So I thought, ‘This can get better.’

Now it's about having a goal, defining the steps on that goal, and executing each step in an excellent manner. Once you achieve the goal, you movie on to the next goal.

Now it's about having a goal, defining the steps on that goal, and executing each step in an excellent manner. Once you achieve the goal, you move on to the next goal.

Many people describe the Platform Developer 2 certification as difficult. What would you say was the most challenging part of learning it?

I remember having a conversation with a friend who was also a colleague. We were talking about how only a handful of Accenture employees in the Philippines had the Platform Developer 2 certificate because of how difficult that certificate is. Passing score is 70% and you need four superbadges. I think the difficult part is the coverage. In Platform Developer 2 the coverage is big: there's declarative programming, coding, and then the data model, the schema — all of those things. So the challenge for me there was really the size of the coverage.

So I was really proud when I was able to get that.

What’s a day in the life of a Salesforce Consultant like?

At the beginning of the day, there's a Standup to discuss what you've accomplished the previous day, what you are planning to do now, and the cycle repeats until we finish the sprint. So it's divided into sprints, right? And then after we finish a sprint, we plan for the next sprint, and the cycle repeats until we finish the project.

Can you please tell us which certifications you have?

I have Admin, Advanced Admin, Platform App Builder, Platform Developer 1, Platform Developer2, Javascript Developer I, Sharing and Visibility Designer, Data Architecture and Management Design, Application Architect, Sales Cloud Consultant, Service Cloud Consultant, and Experience Cloud Consultant.

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

I started using Focus on Force on my fifth certificate — the Platform Developer 2. Prior to using Focus on Force, I already had Admin, Advanced Admin, Platform Developer 1, and App Builder. So with Platform Developer 2, I thought to myself that Trailhead and its documentation will not be enough anymore. Especially because of how difficult this certificate is. 

The first recommendation on Google was Focus on Force! So I took a look at it and the content was great. Focus on Force has illustrations to really show that this is what it does, this is what this functionality does. And you know, with illustrations it's easier to grasp concepts since you won't have to read the text repeatedly. From there on then, I started using Focus on Force from Platform Developer 2, Javascript Developer I, the Architect certificates that you have, and then also all the consultancy certificates.

Focus on Force has great materials — a 10 out of 10 for me. It’s not just great for the exams but also for learning the domain covered. 

Would you say that obtaining your 12 certifications has affected your career in a positive way?

Yes, definitely. First of all, having those 12 certifications on my résumé helps me stand out. This is usually one part of the screening process for recruiters, you know. Secondly, it has helped my skillset grow from certificate to certificate. So every time I’m faced with a situation presented in the certification exam — when I'm faced with those situations in real life, I can give the most optimal solution.

Would you say that having good communication skills is essential to one's career?

Being able to communicate is essential not just in your career but in everything else. Because that's the ability to relay information to the people around you. So it's a crucial part not just in one's career, but in life.

What advice would you give someone who is planning on starting a career with Salesforce?

Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Learn from others and go at it at your own pace. You don't need to chase anyone and there's no need to be in competition with anyone. I think humans are generally competitive but the race is not won by the swift but by the one who endures. 

In Focus on Force there's a planner, right? You can set a time frame for when you're going to take the certification exam. So let's say I set it one month from now, and then maybe after two weeks I was able to go through all the content and all the practice exams, and then I start getting all excited, right? I think it's important and crucial to just keep your emotions in the middle — not too high, not too low on yourself.

Take it one step at a time. Go at it at your own pace, have a plan and then follow up on that plan.

You don't need to chase anyone and there's no need to be in competition with anyone. I think humans are generally competitive but the race is not won by the swift but by the one who endures.

What Certification are you studying for now?

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