Focused and Certified: Ionut Sultana — A 5X Certified Salesforce Developer’s Advice For Salesforce Career Aspirants

IBM Salesforce Developer Ionut Constantin Sultana

Ionut Constantin Sultana is a Salesforce Developer for IBM Romania. After completing his degree in Automatics and Applied Informatics, Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering at the Valahia University of Târgoviște, Ionut got his start in Salesforce when he was hired as a Salesforce Administrator at his first job. Today, Ionut is 5X Salesforce certified and tells Focus on Force why the Platform Developer 1 certification was the most challenging for him, how having good communication skills can greatly impact one's career, and also gives practical advice for those aspiring for a career in Salesforce.

My name is Ionut Sultana. I'm a Salesforce Developer with three years of experience on the Salesforce Platform. And I currently work at IBM as a Salesforce Developer.

How did you get started with Salesforce?

It all started three years ago just before I graduated from university. I found out about Salesforce from a colleague of mine who also found out about Salesforce from his uncle. At that time, I didn't know what Salesforce was but I remember hearing the word “development” or “developer” and that sparked an interest in me.

I got hired three months later as a Salesforce Administrator at a company called Boonforce, and that was how I got started.

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

From the start, I always knew I wanted to become a back-end developer — that was clear to me.

I was also part of a team as eager as I was to learn Salesforce development. And we were all quite new to the Salesforce ecosystem and somehow we didn't know what we were getting into. Being part of a team, and also enjoying what I was doing was what kept me motivated during those years.

Being part of a team, and also enjoying what I was doing was what kept me motivated during those years. 

What is a day in the life of a Salesforce Developer like?

We mostly work as a team of developers. And in the morning, we usually have a quick call where we state what we've accomplished the day prior, and what tasks are due for today.

And you also get a lot of hands-on experience like having the opportunity to write Apex classes, triggers, and that kind of stuff.

Can you please tell us which certifications you have?

I’m certified as an Administrator, Platform App Builder, Experience (Community) Cloud Consultant, Nonprofit Cloud Consultant, and Platform Developer 1.

Which certification would you say was the most challenging to prepare for and why?

The PD1 certification was the hardest for me. There were questions related to real-life scenarios. If you plan on taking this certification, you better go into the Java documentation and get the OOP principles right because Apex is an OOP programming language and it's like a little brother to Java. So yeah, I think the PD1 was the hardest for me.

For what certification/s did you use Focus on Force for?

I first heard about Focus on Force from my manager at Boonforce at that time, and I used Focus on Force on four out of my five certifications. Let's just say I cannot thank the staff behind Focus on Force enough, because you guys have a unique way of crafting study guides around each key topic.

I used Focus on Focus on the Administrator exam, Platform App Builder, Community Cloud exam — now I believe it's called Experience Cloud, and lately for the Platform Developer 1 exam.

Taking the mock-up exams on Focus on Force is a very good indicator that I'm on the right path because sometimes those questions are harder than those on the actual exam. So Focus on Force is doing a very good job on those questions.

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

I think that's a very true fact because, in your day-to-day developer work, you don't just write code. You will also be in calls where you have to explain your viewpoint of why one solution is better than other solutions.

It's kind of like a combination between communication skills and coding skills. So communication skills help you for sure.

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

I think my first advice for every certification is to take enough time to prepare for it. For example, if you work full-time, try to plan how many hours you will have to study for the certification. This is very important to make sure you cover key topics in the exam.

Also, Platform Developer 1 has a Trailmix so be sure you go to the modules on that Trailmix. Some of them are hands-on so you get a chance to mess around with Salesforce features. And from my experience, this is what sticks around in your brain for a long time.

Thirdly, be sure to understand Java or Java basics at the very least. Especially the object-oriented programming principles that I've mentioned earlier. The knowledge you get there will prove extremely helpful in understanding how Apex works. 

And my last tip on this one is that the Focus on Force practice exams helped me a lot and put me in an exam-like situation — the time was ticking and the pressure was rising. And this is the situation that you will encounter in the exam. You want to put yourself in an exam-like situation to know how you will react.

Focus on Force practice exams helped me a lot and put me in an exam-like situation — the time was ticking and the pressure was rising. And this is the situation that you will encounter in the exam. 

Any final words for the Focus on Force community?

I'm honored to have done this interview. In fact, I remember when I first discovered Focus on Force, I would watch all of their interviews.

And now, I'm getting interviewed like those people — it's a dream come true!

What Certification are you studying for now?

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