Focused and Certified: Mohd Fahmin Bin Mohamed Puzi — From intern to 9X certified Solution Architect

Mohd Fahmin Bin Mohamed Puzi

Mohd Fahmin Bin Mohamed Puzi started out as an intern at Telcowin, a gold consulting partner for Salesforce in Malaysia. 9 certifications later, Fahmin is currently a Salesforce Engineer/Architect for the same company, and shares with Focus on Force what his goals were when first starting, what challenges he encountered when preparing for his certifications, why he decided to get as many certifications as he did, and why Focus on Force was an integral part of all his 9 Salesforce certifications.

Hi. My name is Mohammad Fahmin. I’m currently a Solution Engineer at Telcowin.

How did you get started with Salesforce?

I started as an intern at the current company that I'm working with, Telcowin. Telcowin is a gold consulting partner for Salesforce. At the time, I didn't have any experience with Salesforce, so the first couple of weeks of my internship was me mostly doing Trailhead. It was a lot of learning. A lot of trying to get acknowledgement from your coordinator and trying to understand the system.

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

I had a friend who was quite heavily involved with Salesforce. At the time, I think he had 3 or 4 certifications so he became a point of reference for me. I was like, ‘Wow.’ I was quite inspired by him. And then after three or four weeks of my internship doing just a little bit of here and there, I wanted to try and get involved with the projects but my coordinator at the time was quite hard-to-please. 

With me getting my first certification, I thought I could finally prove myself worthy of being involved in the projects and doing the actual work to him. So the goal was initially to get an Admin certified. At the time, I wasn’t clear about my path yet. I was studying for the Developer path and the Admin path. I studied for both. 

With me getting my first certification, I thought I could finally prove myself worthy of being involved in the projects and doing the actual work. 

Did obtaining your 9 certifications make a positive impact in your career?

Definitely, 100%. I’m the kind of person who needs that validation — who needs that, ‘Okay. I have this certification. You can't question me now.’ (Laughs) This is because I've only been working for three years. People want someone with experience, right? With me not having so much experience, the certifications are definitely a must. I have to have them. I have to get that CTA. This makes them not look at me as someone with only three years experience, right?

What difficulties did you face while studying for your certification exams?

Right after I passed my Admin exam, I straightaway bought the PD1 exam and took the PD1 exam two weeks after. The things that you study in college are quite different from the developer stuff in Salesforce, right?

And then at the time, I didn't have experience Salesforce development. So going through the Focus on Force question bank for PD1 was the only thing that saved me. I had zero knowledge in their developer stuff — Apex, triggers, etc. Plus at the time, no one in our company had ever taken the PD1 exam. So I was the first one to get the PD1 certification. Thanks to Focus on Force for that one!

Even with zero knowledge of custom development and Apex development, because I went through the questions in Focus on Force, and reading through their explanations — recording them, I got a pass for PD1.

What is a day in the life of a Salesforce Engineer/Architect like?

It depends. Sometimes it can be very chill. Now I think most of my job is involved with designing the system.

Our projects normally take about six months. I need to be there from the discovery session — the BRD session with the BS, and then the handover from BS to the Solution Team. We will then produce a Solution Design Document, and from there, hand it over to the Development Team. Because we are a small company, we can take on up to three or four projects at a time.

In the morning, I can get involved in a discovery session with a different customer, and then maybe we are also halfway through in a different project. In the evening, I can have a meeting with a customer for a configuration walkthrough. And then later on that evening, I can also get involved in training the customer. But it's varied. So if there's no project then I just chill. (Laughs)

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

Definitely a hundred percent yes. Focus on Force is broken down into the topics of the exam, right? So if I'm in a rush, I will just go through the practice exams to make sure I get all of the questions correct.

But if I have a lot of time — say, a month or two, I'd have to go through each of the topics of the exam at the top and make sure that I get all of them green because green is for correct, and red is for wrong. So, let's say there are 60 questions and I got 40 red — what I'll do is take that practice topic again, and redo it until I get all green. I always make sure that I get all greens for that topic exam. Only then can I feel ready to take the exam. Only then can I be sure.

Without Focus on Force, it’s like you’re studying in the dark. You don’t know what to target.

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

100%. Prior to COVID, we used to go to the client's place and do workshops there. With us Solution Engineers, we have to present the configuration of what we've accomplished. And we have to answer to the clients, explain to the clients why we did a certain configuration a certain way.

English is a major communication language here in Malaysia. Quite a major one. If you are not confident in explaining the things that you've accomplished, it's going to be quite a problem when you're dealing with the client.

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

My advice would be that the study guides in Trailhead are very generic. It's almost like you are shooting in the dark, you know, when you are studying like that because you don't know exactly what's gonna appear in the exam, right?

When you do Focus on Force — they present the type of questions Salesforce will be asking, and these are their explanations. So it’s like, ‘Okay. For sure this topic is going to be in the exam. I need to know this.’

Without Focus on Force, it’s like you’re studying in the dark. You don’t know what to target. If a certification is on Focus on Force, try and subscribe to that.

What Certification are you studying for now?

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