A Leap of Faith: This defines Reggie Ramos' extraordinary journey from being a church minister with twenty years of experience, to his remarkable achievement as a 17x Salesforce certified professional in his current role as a Configuration Specialist at Minlopro Partners. In this interview, discover the driving forces behind his motivation, gain insights into the most challenging certification he has tackled thus far, understand why he emphasizes the significance of communication skills in a Salesforce career, and hear the valuable advice he imparts to those preparing for Salesforce certifications.
How did you get started with Salesforce?
So I came from a non-technical background — a completely different field. I was in church ministry for 20 years but I made up a career pivot pretty late in life after some difficult circumstances there. And I was looking for something that I could jump into relatively quickly. As a father of four, I needed a career where I could jump in and, you know, make a living for our family. And so, through some friends who were in the ecosystem, I came to understand what Salesforce was,
It sounded really like everything I needed. Something that I could likely get into fairly quickly, and with a starting salary that actually ended up being more than I made in my previous career even after 20 years. So it checked all the boxes and it was great.
What were your goals when starting and how did you keep motivated?
I wanted to kind of find out what my niche was within the Salesforce ecosystem. I was just eating it up. I was gobbling up Trailhead every day and I was enjoying it so much that I didn't know what my niche was. I just enjoyed everything and so I thought maybe going down the certification route would continue to help me discern what place or what lane I would enjoy the most.
And in the end, I find I'm somewhat of a generalist and enjoying that as well.
I think good communicators are probably also good listeners. And in dealing with clients, there's a lot of good listening skills that are necessary to be able to discern the real pain points, and maybe the problem behind the problem that's being communicated.
Would you say that obtaining your 15 certifications affected your career in a positive way?
Oh certainly. It's definitely benefited my career as short as my career has been so far. (Laughs) In the 15 certifications that I've gained, only one of them has gone untouched in my project experience so far. Meaning, I've gotten my hands dirty in 14 of the 15 areas. So working for a consultancy, it's allowed me to contribute to our partner score. It's given me the ability to contribute to a number of projects across different clouds which I just love to do. I'm able to contribute.
Note: Shortly after recording this interview, Reggie added two more feathers to his cap — Manufacturing Cloud Accredited Professional, and Slack Certified Consultant. This makes him 17X Certified as of this article's publishing.
What would you say was your hardest certificate to date?
I'll be honest. My hardest one was probably the Salesforce Administrator because I came from zero background to that. In fact, the order that I went in proved to be beneficial such that they've gotten somewhat easier across the time, you know. I mean, none of them are easy but I feel like the knowledge gap is narrowing each time because of the broader base that I continue to build through the other certifications.
And so Admin continues to have been the most difficult.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
So I start off my day with a typical stand-up with my team; my POD. And we just go over previous work responsibilities, the progress on different projects, blockers, and then we also look forward to what's coming ahead. And then after that, I'll have meetings with clients to go over requirements or do demos because we have clients on all the coasts. In between that, if I'm not in those kinds of meetings, I'm doing configuration, writing user stories, doing QA, or different things like that.
So I think all of that is pretty typical.
For what certification did you use Focus on Force for, and would you say it was helpful?
I've found in my own experience that Focus on Force is a reliable and thorough resource. If I go through it, I know I will be prepared. I used Focus on Force for the Administrator certification, Platform App Builder, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Experience Cloud, Advanced Admin, and Business Analyst.
I found that it's just been so thorough to be able to get me the knowledge that I need to be able to pass the certifications.
Would you say that communication skills are essential to a career in Salesforce?
Communication skills are huge. One, I think good communicators are probably also good listeners. And in dealing with clients, there's a lot of good listening skills that are necessary to be able to discern the real pain points, and maybe the problem behind the problem that's being communicated. And be part of that conversation — to be able to dig deeper with your client to get to the real needs so that you can get to the real solutions.
I felt like at some level communication-wise, I probably had some soft skills that were going to lend themselves well to the job.
There's always time to study. That doesn't mean that it's an hour a day. It's 15 minutes here; 15 minutes there.
What advice would you have for people preparing for Salesforce certifications?
One thing I'd say is that I think there's always time to study. That doesn't mean that it's an hour a day. It's 15 minutes here; 15 minutes there. It's when I'm waiting in my car as I'm picking up my children from their school, or from an activity. You know, don't overwhelm yourself but at the same time, keep at it.
I think Trailhead is a great resource. I always start there. Focus on Force becomes my second step in that. Where I review the knowledge that I learned in the trailmixes through the Focus on Force study guides, and then go through the practice exams. I go through one section and then do the practice exam for that section. And then once I feel somewhat comfortable there, I'll move to the next one. And then I will take the next section’s exam. And I just do that. By the time I get to the full exams, I'm already pretty comfortable with the material.
Another thing maybe I would say is superbadges. They're not always talked about but I think the hands-on knowledge that you get through superbadges really solidifies a lot of the theoretical because you're doing it hands-on.
So those have been some of the keys in my certification journeys. All of those things together.
What Certification are you studying for now?
Focus on Force currently provides practice exams and study guides for fifteen certifications.