Shortly after doing this interview with Focus on Force, Cognizant's Lorenzo Degan added another feather to his cap — the Salesforce Associate Certification. Lorenzo is currently 3X Salesforce certified in Admin 201, Platform App Builder, and Associate. Find out how he got started in Salesforce, what kept him motivated in his Salesforce journey, which areas of the Admin 201 certification exam he says learners should focus on the most, and what his advice is for those who are just starting their own Salesforce journey.
I am Lorenzo Degan. I am a Salesforce Associate Consultant at Cognizant.
How did you get started with Salesforce?
My first encounter with Salesforce was at my very first job. I was being some sort of Swiss knife working on different applications of different vendors and Salesforce was one of them. It was the internal CRM on which my company was tracking clients, opportunities, and projects, and it was still on Classic interface. I was one of the App Management Services (AMS) Administrators on Sales Cloud, and I mean it was my first job but I really enjoyed working on the platform on Salesforce.
If Trailhead is the course book, then Focus on Force study guides are like lecture notes because they give you insight on the small details and notions that you're usually gonna end up finding on the actual exam.
What kept you motivated in learning Salesforce?
After some time, I finally had the chance to work on Salesforce for an external client and that felt like a second start. I feel like that's the very start of my — let's say — Salesforce journey. It felt right and I felt compelled to try and earn the Administrator certification. And that was my goal. I managed to stay motivated with the help of my girlfriend who was also a Salesforce professional. She was telling me about better career prospects and etcetera.
Of your 2 certifications, what would you say was the harder one?
Well, I would say the Admin cert because it was the first. The first is always the hardest. But yeah, many notions were kind of new for me and I was studying mostly in my free time so it was a bit tiring and stressful. I did not know what to expect from the exam, but fortunately, I had Focus on Force to help me with the study guide and especially the practice exams. So yeah, App Builder felt easier, and I hope it keeps on on getting easier.
Which areas of the Admin 201 certification exam should learners focus on?
It depends. It really depends on what you're working on when approaching the Admin cert. Because of course, being the first certification — being, let's say, an entry-level certification, it has a very wide range of topics. Well, if I had to find let's say the most important ones, it would surely be the data model. So all the relationships between the objects and such. And the security aspects of the platform. Yeah, I would say these two topics.
Would you say that getting certified affected your career in a positive way?
Definitely yes. Because as I've said, back then I was not working only on Salesforce and my time on Salesforce was kind of limited. So studying for the Administrator certification already helped me a lot in expanding my knowledge and updating it was the confirmation that I was on the right path. And I think that after obtaining it, that was the time I decided I wanted to work 100% on Salesforce. It certainly affected my career in a positive way since it helped me find the job I am at now at Cognizant where I am 100% on Salesforce and I'm a Salesforce Consultant.
Can you please paint a picture of what a typical working day for you is like?
I am a Salesforce Consultant on AMS. AMS is kind of unpredictable. But let's say that around 9 am, there is the first stand-up meeting in which we report on the tasks we have been working on and what the plan of the day is. The rest of the morning is usually devoted to analyzing, debugging, or working on new enhancements, unless there is a more urgent issue to address. After lunch break, if the task is completed, I try to squeeze in some studying — most of the time on Focus on Force. Studying about what I'm working on, or to prepare for a future certification. Later in the afternoon, there is another team meeting in preparation of the client meeting that follows. And that, let's say, closes or ends the workday. So if there are still no urgencies my work day usually ends shortly after 6 pm.
Would you say that having good communication skills are essential to a career in Salesforce?
I would say yes because Salesforce is a platform that is widely used especially abroad. I think English is crucial because after all it's the most used language in a work environment. So if one wants to, for example, work abroad and have better work prospects abroad, I think I warmly recommend having at least a basic knowledge of English.
For what certification did you use Focus on Force for, and would you say it was helpful towards your preparations?
I used Focus on Force for both my certifications. So I used it for my Admin and for the App Builder too. I've already purchased the study guide for my next certification — at least, what I hope is going to be my next — the Advanced Administrator. And I'm even planning to earn the Sales Cloud. I'm trying to focus on the functional side of Salesforce. So yeah, I plan to use Focus on Force for all of these because Focus on Force I think is very helpful.
What advice would you give those who are preparing for their certification?
My advice would be to use both Trailhead and Focus on Force. If Trailhead is the course book, then Focus on Force study guides are like lecture notes because they give you insight on the small details and notions that you're usually gonna end up finding on the actual exam. Furthermore, Focus on Force offers nice slides to help you visualize important concepts, and practice exams to familiarize you with the exam topics. Of course, the questions are not going to be the same, but the topics and the subjects usually are very similar to the logic behind them.
(Getting certified) certainly affected my career in a positive way since it helped me find the job I am at now at Cognizant where I am 100% on Salesforce and I'm a Salesforce Consultant.
What Certification are you studying for now?
Focus on Force currently provides practice exams and study guides for fifteen certifications