Focused and Certified: Tracey Keitt — A 4X Certified High School Spanish Teacher

Tracey Keitt Salesforce consultant

Tracey Keitt is a Spanish Teacher for Charlotte Lab School in Charlotte, North Carolina. As an educator, he is excited by the idea of Salesforce slowly being incorporated into the world of academia — citing KIPP (which initially used Salesforce for its alumni tracking system in 2009, and later for measuring success in its students and alumni) as a pioneer in this regard. Tracey is currently certified in Admin, App Builder, Advanced Admin, and Sales Cloud; and looks forward to exciting things ahead.

My name is Tracy Keitt. I am a Spanish teacher currently. And I am working for Charlotte Lab School in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You currently work for education. Do you intend to work within the Salesforce ecosystem in the future?

I'm in a weird situation. I am actually trying to transition into the consulting side of things and maybe be an Admin/Dev eventually. So I do believe I will be leaving education shortly which makes me sad but I also see a connection there. I've been teaching for over 10 years. I've taught in South America and in the United States for public, private, and charter schools; and we desperately need systems and processes. If we don't have those the education system will fail. 

Schools like KIPP Education are already using Salesforce and that's awesome because when you look at Salesforce, it's a system that can actually boost productivity for students. It's beyond sales, services, and marketing — its core is efficiency and productivity.

So it's thrilling to see Salesforce slowly coming into the education world. And I would love to help make that connection.

Schools like KIPP Education are already using Salesforce and that's awesome because when you look at Salesforce, it's a system that can boost productivity for students. It's beyond sales, services, and marketing — its core is efficiency and productivity.

What were your goals when you started learning Salesforce and how did you keep motivated? 

My main goal when I started learning Salesforce was to position myself in such a way that in 10 or 15 years I have options to grow. I love tech and I've always used it as a teacher, educator, and trainer. So I wanted to make that transition into directly dealing with tech, and getting as many certifications as possible. And eventually try to get a job at a company here in Charlotte.

Do you currently have a certification?

I do. I have four. I'm certified as an Admin, App Builder, Advanced Admin, and I just got my Sales Cloud.

Note: Shortly after recording this interview, Tracey added another feather to his cap — the Service Cloud Certification. This makes him 5X Certified as of this article's publishing.

What would you say was the most challenging part in learning Salesforce?

The most challenging part by far is the time. You have to be dedicated and strategic with your time. I’ve been studying Salesforce since May 21st, and all the PDFs that Focus on Force provides are amazing. You just have to pace yourself so that you can be ready for those. The combination of Focus on Force and Trailhead was my go-to for studying. So it's a lot of dedication, time, and practice. 

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

There are so many different nuances, right? It's not about memorization. You actually have to know how things work, and how multiple variables can affect it. Especially in Trailhead and the Superbadges. Try to figure out how they work, not what they are. Because you can state what they are but only doing so doesn't help you in the certs. At least that's what I found. 

For what certification/s did you use Focus on Force for?

I went after App Builder, Advanced Admin, and Sales Cloud all using Focus on Force. The first one I did not. I did not use it for Admin as I was not yet aware of your company at the time. But when I started App Builder, everyone said ‘Focus on Force — you have to do it.’ There's no way I would have passed without the Focus on Force content. There's so much to look at and Focus on Force helps to curate that. And you guys do a great job with that.

Note: Shortly after recording this interview, Tracey added another feather to his cap — the Service Cloud Certification. This makes him 5X Certified as of this article's publishing.

As an educator, would you say that having good communication skills is essential to one's career?

We have what are called soft skills and hard skills. The soft skill to be able to communicate ideas is indispensable because you can have all these great ideas in your head but if you can't get them out — what are they worth? You have to be able to communicate with the people you work with. You can have awesome skills but without communication skills, it's going to be very difficult. So yes, I think that communication skills are critical.

The soft skill to be able to communicate ideas is indispensable because you can have all these great ideas in your head but if you can't get them out — what are they worth? You can have awesome skills but without communication skills, it's going to be very difficult.

What advice would you give someone who is planning on starting a career with Salesforce?

Create a schedule. That's number one. Get milestones and timelines so that you can say ‘Hey, this is what I want to accomplish.’ I actually designed my own Google sheet that indicated how many PDFs are in each package that Focus on Force provides. Because you have to figure out how long it takes for you per page to do it, how many days you need to study, and how many days you need to review after taking all the practice exams.  So it's managing your schedule properly. 

Find that motivation wherever it is and reward yourself. I scheduled my exams right before my birthday, a camping trip, and a summer beach trip. I told myself, ‘Either I'm gonna have an awesome beach trip because I passed — or I’m not.’ This was how I motivated myself. I wanted to get to the beach and not have any worries. 

So, yes. Celebrate it and schedule it.

Find that motivation wherever it is and reward yourself. I scheduled my exams right before my birthday, a camping trip, and a summer beach trip. I told myself, ‘Either I'm gonna have an awesome beach trip because I passed — or I’m not.’ This was how I motivated myself.

What Certification are you studying for now?

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