Salesforce has been in the market for 17 years now, and it has not only helped companies grow but it has also provided countless job opportunities to IT professionals. Vamsi Krishna is one of those who have benefited from the competitive advantage offered by Salesforce in terms of skills enhancement and professional development. He shares how he got started with Salesforce, his successes, learnings, challenges encountered, and his career journey as a whole using Salesforce.
What is your background and how did you get started with Salesforce?
I am a Salesforce MVP, an independent consultant, and a freelance developer. I current work on multiple Salesforce projects through my company, Techforce Services.
Up until three years ago, I was primarily a Microsoft techie working on .NET based projects across web and desktop applications, with strong skills around API development.
I got the chance to work with the Salesforce platform during my days at Smartsalary, at which time I focused on Apex and Visualforce development part-time, along with my regular Microsoft projects. And now, there is no turning back.
Can you tell us about your current role or your typical day with Salesforce?
I currently work as an independent consultant or freelance developer. My typical day involves talking to multiple clients and managing multiple projects. I also contribute to various online forums around Salesforce, primarily in Stack Exchange. I try to be across Success Answers, Developer forums, Success groups, Trailhead, and others. I also make a couple of presentations in Sydney and Brisbane Developer User Group.
What areas of Salesforce do you have experience with?
What are some of the successes you have had?
Success is always relative and you always need to look up for the next step instead of stopping at your current success. That said, some of my achievements I feel happy about are:
- Living in Sydney for six years now. Living outside one’s home country is very challenging, but every time I look back, I feel proud of how far I have come.
- Becoming a Salesforce MVP within two years of learning the platform. It is awesome!
- Leaving my job and now working independently, on my own. It is a dream come true.
How about project successes or highlights? How is it working with some of the newer features such as Lightning, External Objects, Flows, Communities, etc.?
Salesforce is a rapidly evolving cloud platform and we have seen lots of new products coming out along with the massive upgrades happening to the current products. And on top of that, with acquisitions and mergers of other applications we are seeing mixed bag of enhancements.
I had the chance to work on prototyping based on some of the new features like Wave Analytics Cloud platform, Salesforce IQ, Lightning components, integrating and customising with some cooler apps on the AppExchange, including eSignature apps, Heroku apps, etc.
What challenges have you had with Salesforce and how did you overcome them?
Learning a new technology is always challenging. With Salesforce, the amount of information available online is massive, and it is easy to get distracted between the different options. So I picked up the Success Community and the Salesforce Docs as the one-stop library for all my learnings. And with any technology, you would not realise the full the potential of it until you actually start implementing the learnings. You cannot learn the wider platform if you have limited scope on the projects . So I started to involve myself in external work by answering people’s queries on Success Answers, which gave me in-depth and wider understanding of the platform.
How about technical challenges? Have you come across any situations where Salesforce was not suited or had challenges, e.g. governor limits, or using Salesforce for a use case it was not suited?
- Choosing the right tools for the work at hand is always a tough and tricky one. As a solution designer, lead developer and architect, in my some of my previous projects I was involved in identifying the systems and tools required to implement the business requirements. We always went through Buy vs Build discussions, evaluation of different platforms, running POC’s or prototypes, inviting the product teams for hands-on demos and then narrowing down to the right tool for the work. So make sure you are selecting the right tool for your business before committing to any platform for the long term, including Salesforce.
- The next part is building the solution with the chosen tool in the best possible way. This is possible by employing the right resources that have expertise in the platform and also with effective project management in evaluating and mitigating any risks or issues. Even with all the skilled resources, it is common to hit the roadblocks for any technology project. With Salesforce, some of the common issues I have seen are:
- Storage. If you have lots of data, think twice before putting everything into Salesforce. Think through different options of storing the data or resources in some of your internal systems or in other cloud sources and surfacing them in Salesforce.
- Performance. If the customisations are not done the right way, it is very common to experience performance issues, be it Visualforce page, multiple triggers, or long running batch jobs.
- Scalability. If the initial implementation was done poorly, then as your business grows, the platform would not scale and you would have to go through lots of rework to make it work.
- Limits. If the customisations are not done the right way, it is easy to hit the boundaries defined in Salesforce in which your code runs, and once you hit these limits, your code will stop running. So make sure you get the best resources work on your projects who understand the platform and build the customisations with all the limits in mind so your code runs safely.
What are your future plans with Techforce?
- To register with Salesforce as an Implementation Partner, and to start handling or managing Salesforce Implementation Projects end-to-end rather than focusing only on development work.
- I am also working on a couple of ideas around publishing an app in AppExchange, and I hope it will happen soon.
- A few years down the line, I would like to expand beyond Salesforce Space and step into Cloud Implementations across different platforms.
Let us talk about knowledge and learning. How do you keep up with Salesforce updates?
The Success Community and Collaboration groups are a good source of information across different Salesforce functionalities. Trailhead is a new way to enjoy the learning. For the record, I got 80+ badges now.
Could you tell us how you earnt your MVP status?
I contribute to various Salesforce online forums: Success Answers, Developer Forums, Stack Exchange, Twitter #askforce stream.
Sharing is part of learning and growing, so contribute back to the community you belong to. Here is my blog post around it: Contribute back to the Community
There is a recent blog post by the Salesforce community team explaining the process of MVP nomination and selection: MVP Nomination
How did the MVP status help you? Were you able to meet other MVPs, give input to Salesforce product managers, etc.?
The MVP Program is managed by the Salesforce community team, which runs frequent meetings and calls within MVP’s and also provides opportunities for the MVPs to participate, interact with the product management teams, and on some occasions, provide feedback to some of the newest features.
Last year, I had the opportunity to meet all the other wonderful MVPs across the world in the annual MVP summit held in San Francisco. It was a great experience talking to some of the legends in person from whom I learnt the platform. We also had the pleasure of catching up close with Marc Benioff and Parker Harris on an exclusive MVP chat during the summit.
What certifications do you have?
- Developer I
- App Builder
- Sales Cloud
- Developer II (In Progress)
Do you think certification is important?
Being an end user, I never worried about certificates. But now that I am into consulting, certifications prove worthy.
What are your tips for getting certified?
Online learnings and practical experience. There are no shortcuts.
What would you suggest for someone that wants to start a Salesforce career?
Be passionate about the technology you chose to work with and you will enjoy working with it day in day out, and you will deliver beyond expectations. If your chosen platform is Salesforce, there are heaps of learning paths readily available for free. Get your own developer org and start practising all your learnings.
Anything you would like to add?
Thanks to Martin for giving me the opportunity to contribute to his blog. We live in an awesome time where technology evolves rapidly and changes the way we lead our lives. We have a key role in shaping up this change for a better future, through our involvement and participation in the technology. So let us jump in and provide valuable contribution whatever way we can.
What Certification are you studying for now?
Focus on Force currently provides practice exams and study guides for ten certifications