Focused and Certified: Luqman Nor Alahyadi — A Dell Software Engineer’s Salesforce Journey

Luqman Nor Alahyadi

Luqman Nor Alahyadi is a Software Engineer for Dell Technologies. After graduating in 2018 with a degree in Economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he started his career as a Business Analyst for an American telecommunications company. Today, Luqman is 3X Salesforce certified, and shares with Focus on Force what his goals were when first starting, what his hardest certification to date was, and even gives some useful tips for those preparing for their first Salesforce certification.

Hi, my name is Luqman Nor Alahyadi. I'm currently working at Dell Technologies as a Software Engineer.

How did you get started with Salesforce?

I graduated in 2018 and then I  got a chance to be part of Telekom Malaysia (USA). It is a telco company but it is based in Washington, D.C. At that point, I was just a Business Analyst and I hadn't heard of Salesforce before. I would get hands-on experience during my tenure there for a year, and then I came back to Malaysia and started my practice with Telcowin as a Consultant. I jump-started my Salesforce journey with Focus on Force.

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

I would say that my motivation was a desire to prove myself. I came with a clean slate. In all the four years of my experience, I would say I became a better software engineer or software developer specifically for the Salesforce platform.

Are you currently Salesforce certified and would you say that getting certified affected your career in a positive way?

Currently, I have the Admin, Sales Cloud, and Service Cloud Consultant certifications. I started my career without these certifications. And then you see all of these Salesforce professionals getting their certificates to validate the skills that they have. Basically, this is also why I took the certification exams. It was to validate whatever skills I had at that point in time. 

My motivation was a desire to prove myself...  This is also why I took the certification exams. It was to validate whatever skills I had.

Of your 3 certifications, what would you say was the hardest one?

The Admin is the hardest one because it touches every topic in Salesforce. I think I found it the hardest one because it was the first exam that I took. But then I found Focus on Force. At that point in time, my budget was pretty tight. I think the pricing to begin with in Focus on Force is a good investment. With Focus on Force, I literally could focus on what I need to study with the study guides, and also with the practice exams that you guys provide.

It is very helpful because during the exam, they give you an hour and you need to answer 60 questions, right? So if you do not condition yourself before or pre-examination, you can't budget your time for each question. Your mind will go blank if you get stuck on one question, right? The true value that I get is that I am pre-conditioned with all of the questions that are going to come up in the exam with Focus on Force practice exams and also the study guides.

What areas of the Sales Cloud Certification should learners focus on?

So for Sales Cloud, you need to get your hands dirty and try it out first. Go experience how a complete Sales Cloud Package works, you know. From Leads, Opportunity Conversions, Lead Conversions, and then the Opportunity Cycle. Go through the whole business cycle. Try to experience it from the user perspective.

Most of the questions are case studies. So basically if you don't know how the user experience is, what a Lead is, and what is the point of an Opportunity, it's quite hard for you to grasp the whole situation of the question, right? The questions are a little bit tricky. Many of them feel the same, but it's actually asking you a very specific situation.

So you need to choose the best solution to fix that situation that has been given by the question.

What’s a typical working day like for a Software Engineer at Dell Technologies?

I work a lot with the developers. At Dell, we practice the Agile method where we do weekly deployment. So each week we will have code deployment; configuration deployment into production. I also cover support tickets. So if there are any issues or complaints from the users and also from the developers, I will be handling those tickets coming in.

As System Admins, we also take ownership of the Salesforce environment. With any massive update from Salesforce, we are the ones covering it. We are the ones who need to check if updates will interfere with our current production or not. That’s my typical day.

Communication skills are an important skill—but don't be discouraged if you are not good at it. Just practice, practice, practice. And that's how you are going to improve.

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

I used Focus on Force on Admin and Sales Cloud. The exam itself is pretty expensive. It's $200.00 and I hoped I could pass it in just one try. So in order to achieve that, I invested a little bit by subscribing to Focus on Force. I needed some questions to test out my knowledge, right? Focus on Force will give out the details on why an answer is wrong, that's one thing. And then it tells you what the correct answer is, and it also has a link to the Salesforce documentation. I just make sure that I pass every time I take the practice exams and I schedule my exams.

Would you say that good communication skills are necessary for Salesforce professionals?

It is a necessary skill but don't be demotivated if you are insecure about how you communicate. For me, communication skills are an important skill. It doesn't matter whether you work in development, or if you work in sales. It is an important skill, but don't be discouraged if you are not good at it. Just practice, practice, practice. And that's how you are going to improve.

What advice do you have for those who are preparing for their first certification?

Try to get to know what Salesforce is as a platform first. Deep-dive into Trailhead. Try to get a huge amount of badges. Try to test yourself with the superbadges’ challenges on Trailhead. But I would suggest you invest your money by subscribing to the Focus on Force modules before you take a certification.

I think Focus on Force is one of the best providers out there. There are a lot of providers, but I think I will stick with Focus on Force for my next certification, yeah.

What Certification are you studying for now?

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