Focused and Certified: Prof. Arvind Kiwelekar — A University Professor’s Salesforce Journey

Focused and Certified Arvind Kiwelekar

Uniquely, Prof. Arvind Wamanrao Kiwelekar integrates Salesforce in his day to day teaching at the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University (DBATU). In fact, he says his main purpose for getting Salesforce certified was so he could teach it to his students — to give them a higher chance of getting a job after completing their university education. Find out what areas on the Platform App Builder certification this Software Engineering professor says learners should focus on, what a day in the life is like for a university professor/Salesforce professional, and what advice he has for those preparing to get Salesforce certified.

I am Arvind Kiwelekar. Presently, I am working as a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University.

It is located in a small village in Western India. I am teaching software engineering courses at my university.

How did you get started with Salesforce?

I was teaching software engineering courses and somehow I found that my students were losing interest in my subject and that's why I decided to add some technological flavor to my teaching. I was not that much aware of Salesforce at that time.

So to improve my course content, I came across Salesforce because Salesforce has clearly defined professional software engineering professional roles like Administrator, App Builder, Platform Developer, Data Architect, etc. along with Consultant. So those roles I found very attractive as they are clearly defined roles & responsibilities. And another reason is that some of the students in my class do not enjoy coding. Salesforce encourages no code and is click-oriented software development.

So those were my basic two reasons why I became associated with Salesforce and that journey of my relationship with Salesforce started with that.

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

So when I started Salesforce, my goal was just how I can integrate Salesforce in my day to day teaching. And how my students can get a job out of my teaching — that was another goal. So with these two goals in mind, I started a relationship with Salesforce.

Would you say that obtaining your 3 certifications affected your career in a positive way?

I've cracked 3 examinations: Administrator, Platform App Builder, and Platform Developer 1. Yes, surely. Because a certification helps you get new jobs. Though switching jobs was not in my mind at that time. I wanted to help my students so I started thinking to start some consulting business and I started exploring the idea of becoming a Salesforce consulting partner.

A certification is one of the most important things to get as a Salesforce consulting partner. 

Communication skills particularly in Software Engineering — it helps you to clearly convey your thoughts and ideas of what you are designing to the different stakeholders and team members.

What challenges did you face while preparing for your certifications?

When I came across Salesforce — really speaking, I was overwhelmed with a lot of technologies that are associated with Salesforce like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Slack, and Mulesoft. So I was greatly overwhelmed.

Focus on Force and Trailhead both came to rescue me to prepare for the examination and get real-life scenarios. See, Trailhead prepares you for hands-on experience and it gives you the concepts in a very loose manner but it is Focus on Force that combined & related those concepts together with each other.

Another thing that I found about the Focus on Force course material particularly is they use infographics very nicely. And they helped me visualize and keep in my memory all those concepts related together. The second thing that I like very much is the planning tool because as professionals we need to plan for our goals. And it has a very wonderful planning tool. So that was another thing that I liked. It kept me motivated as well as focused.

Which areas of the Platform App Builder examination should learners focus on?

When I was preparing for Platform App Builder, UI Development was one of the most important topics. Another focus was on the Data Modeling part and doing Trailhead exercises and practicing as much as on Focus on Force. This is my routine when preparing for any exam. And it is also applicable to the Platform App Builder as well.

Can you give me a day in the life of a Salesforce professional / university professor?

Typically I go to the university in the morning at 10:30. I have one lecture in the afternoon from 2:30 to 3:30. A few students come to me because I introduced many career concepts in my university like competitive programming. It was well-taken by the students and we found many students getting jobs out of that.

And this year, I have also started introducing Salesforce as one of the technologies in my course. A few students have joined. We have one Salesforce virtual internship program in India. Their aim is for students to get a good and decent job that pays at least 10 Lakhs per annum as we call it.

For what certifications did you use Focus on Force for?

I was not yet aware of Focus on Force when I was preparing for the Salesforce Administrator examination. So I used it for two examinations: Platform App Builder and Platform Developer 1. They say it is a fun way of learning and it is really that.

As professionals we need to plan for our goals. Focus on Force has a very wonderful planning tool. It kept me motivated as well as focused. 

Would you say that communication skills are essential to a Salesforce professional / university professor?

Communication skills particularly in Software Engineering — it helps you to clearly convey your thoughts and ideas of what you are designing to the different stakeholders and team members. This is why communication skills are very much important.

What advice would you have for people preparing for their certifications?

Passing an examination is a very different thing from getting hands-on experience. Focus on Force comes very handy to you when you prepare for the examination. Whenever I consistently get 75% and above in the Focus on Force practice examination, I go and register for the Salesforce examination. If they follow this path, they will get success. Commit yourself to a certain deadline to pass each and every examination.

What Certification are you studying for now?

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