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Focused and Certified: Megan Tuano — From Admission Counselor to 5X Certified Associate Consultant

Focused and Certified Megan Tuano

Megan Grace Tuano was working as an Admission Counselor at the University of California Berkeley for their Masters in Data Science program when a relative encouraged her to join the Salesforce ecosystem. Today, Megan is a content creator and a 5X certified Salesforce Associate Consultant at Slalom, and shares with us what her hardest certification was to date, why communication skills are crucial to her job, and also gives helpful advice for those preparing for their own Salesforce certification exam.

Hi. My name is Megan Tuano. I am an Associate Consultant at Slalom and this is my first year. I'm really excited to start.

How did you get started with Salesforce?

I started as an end user where I was using it for an education platform and I felt very limited to what I could do at the time. And I had a suggestion from a relative actually, who suggested I start Salesforce so I got on the platform. It did take a little bit — a few months here. But after a while, I was completely captivated by how good the material was on Trailhead — combining it with videos and lectures. And I just kind of went from there.

What were your goals when you were starting?

My goal was to just get on and be consistent. And I think that's the biggest thing when it comes to Salesforce or learning in general. It's re-learning how to learn — that was the biggest part. But also staying consistent and promising to myself that I was going to complete either one to two Trailheads at a time. And then from there, just appearing day after day.

When I didn't want to, I would find Trailheads that were fun — perhaps not related to what I was studying. And combining it with fun things that I knew that Salesforce could do. And then also my learning material really helped in just pursuing the Trailhead modules.

When you learn alone, you only learn your type of way.

But when you learn with others, 

you learn how they understand things. 

Did obtaining your 5 certifications make a positive impact in your career?

It really has! With my 5 certifications, they trail off of each other every time. And when I got Sales (Cloud), Service (Cloud), and Experience Cloud — and I'm also currently studying for Financial Services — that's really led on to all of the ideas from my previous certifications to be able to add into new ones.

So I already have quite the rest of the year planned for the rest of the certifications, just because I know that they align with each other. And it's been really exciting. Kind of being like, "Oh. I can use this here. I can use this there."

So I really loved adding on the certifications over the time.

What would you say was your hardest certification and what challenges did you face while studying it?

My hardest certification was actually Experience Cloud. I do a lot of things like website design, editing, and moderating, and I really thought that that's what Experience Cloud was going to be. And when I had to learn that on top of feeling like, "Oh. This will be an easy one." It was definitely harder than expected, but Focus on Force did help me really focus down on the areas that I had no idea would be asked on the test.

As far as challenges, I would always say that budgeting your time is really hard. So I had to come up with fun places to go. So now I just go to coffee shops and I get a coffee. And that's kind of like my mindset of being, "Okay. I'm here to study. And that's what I'm going to do the rest of the day." So I definitely think that the time was one of them, but also the mental space of getting ready to study.

What is a day in the life of an Associate Consultant like?

Sure. So what a typical day for me is like is right now I'm working with one client, and we usually have our stand-up in the morning. And then the rest of the day, we will go over internal meetings of tasks that we have to do, tickets that we have to also complete.

And then sometimes, the rest of it is just actually studying, advancing, and putting more knowledge on Trailheads  — on what our client is specifically focusing on. So I can kind of stay ahead of the game. So that's kind of what a typical day would look like.

Focus on your communication skills. How you're delivering, and the project management side of it because communication is key in this industry. 

Would you say that Focus on Force was helpful towards your certification?

A hundred and fifty percent! So when I first started Trailhead, I always found myself returning back to Focus on Force — that being the core place where I would understand the basic concepts of let's say, Experience Cloud, or the in-depth places within Experience Cloud. Or even studying for my Admin — Focus on Force was key for my Admin.

I always have used Focus on Force — I love the bank questions. I love the questions at the end. I love how there's pictures involved as well. I love how there's a mind map now that you can really really utilize especially for people that are more visual learners, like myself. But for all those 5 certifications, I've always centered myself around Focus on Force.

Would you say that having good communication skills is helpful towards the professional life of an Associate Consultant?

It’s funny that you asked that because I always tell people, "Focus on your communication skills. How you're delivering, and the project management side of it because communication is key in this industry." If you learn the technology and you can't explain to people what you just learned, that's going to hinder your ability for being a Consultant or an Admin. 

We always have to remain people-focused. Try and cater to what you’ve learned best, but also make sure that you're explaining it to people in a very beginner way but also making it fun at the same time. At the end of the day, everybody wants to feel welcome. Everybody needs that human communication — I think we really established that over the pandemic again.

We can have the greatest platform in the world, but if we're not putting our people first, it's just going to remain the same and we aren't going to grow. So I love that question.

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

Yeah, that's another great question. And my answer will always come back down to the community. Without the community, I don't know where I would be.

When you learn alone, you only learn your type of way. But when you learn with others, you learn how they understand things. And their way might be better, or they might be more insightful and more knowledgeable because they might have different experiences than you. So I would always suggest to people when they are starting any type of learning journey is to just find that community, stay with them, stick with them, and at least know you have them as you all keep advancing towards your journey.

What Certification are you studying for now?

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