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Behind the Certs – Garima Chaturvedi

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SG – Let’s get started. Why don’t we begin at the beginning? Please tell us about your education/ career before coming into the Salesforce ecosystem response. GC – It was pretty early during my schooling when I found my interest in computing and coding. Back in those days, we studied C and C++; I enjoyed solving complex algorithms using key programming constructs. After achieving my Bachelors and Masters in Information Technology, I kicked off my career as a Software Developer in 2007; Java was my forte and love! I was excited to apply all my computing knowledge to solve real problems for some of the largest organisations across EMEA. As a software developer, I took the opportunity to contribute to crucial technology projects for some major financial institutions, like Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, Macquarie Bank, and others. SG – That’s awesome. We’d love to know the tipping point, that moment when you said ‘I want to make this change’ and what was the trigger? GC – After seven years in delivery roles within software consulting firms, contributing to technology projects for many large financial institutions, I observed a slow down of complex and large projects. Instead, there was a trend moving toward minor enhancements to legacy applications. My firm’s customers were not building new and innovative solutions on Java technology anymore. Unfortunately, this left only small opportunities for my learning and creativeness. Moreover, at this stage in my career, my interest was moving toward engaging with stakeholders from project inception to understand the who, what and why behind the solutions we were building. That is when I started exploring Salesforce and was amazed by the platform’s capability and how it could be configured for pretty much any use case within any business process! With Salesforce’s hassle-free click-and-configure capability, we could spin up a solution driving high business value quickly. Trailblazing my way through the modules & trails and with my knowledge of Java, understanding the Salesforce platform and APEX fundamentals was not only exciting, but it also enabled me to explore a whole new world of innovation in building digital experiences. Become a Salesforce Certified Professional SG – You achieved many certs along the way. Can you share three things with us,
  1. why you value certs
  2. challenges associated with the process and,
  3. your top tips for being successful in cert exams?
GC – Certs are validation of one’s knowledge and accredit one’s grasp on the subject. Certification indicates that you meet a certain standard of competence and gives you an edge for better career prospects. Plus, they look great on my LinkedIn profile! The main challenge for me has been the inability to dedicate time outside my work commitments for preparation for these certs. Also, the lack of structured and dependable training material stretches out the prep time.
  1. Review the curriculum and go with high weighting topics first
  2. Go through Trailhead trails and modules that cover the topics end-to-end. Completing the hands-on challenges gave me the confidence when I got it right; if you didn’t get it right, it is easy to go back and see where you went wrong
  3. Set a target date for the exam, say two months from now, and structure your prep plan accordingly. As they say, aim for nothing, and you will hit it every time
  4. I have often found reaching out to a colleague who has attained the cert beneficial, getting help and validating understanding of some of the more complex topics
SG – What do you enjoy most about your work as a certified Salesforce professional? Get your Salesforce Certifications on the first go GC – As a Salesforce professional, I have enjoyed designing solutions for many projects, starting with vanilla professional edition implementations to enterprise programs built to support internal teams, customers and partners. While I had extensively worked within the financial domain during the first half of my career, I have thoroughly enjoyed being a domain-agnostic Salesforce Consultant. Being open to new challenges has given me deep insights into diverse industries like real estate, retail, insurance and lending. In addition, I have taken the opportunity to engage with stakeholders from inception independently, understand their world, take them through a journey of ideation (with quick PoCs in dev orgs and prototyping), and deliver solutions that drive enormous business value. It is a rewarding and professionally satisfying feeling to deliver a Salesforce solution that not only addresses all requirements but is also highly scalable, configurable and built on an ever-evolving platform! SG – Time for gratitude!! Finally, is there anyone (individual or company) you would like to take this opportunity to thank for their role in helping you along your journey? If Yes, what was their role in your success? GC – I want to take this opportunity to thank some of the leaders who mentored me, set the right learning path for me and placed trust in me throughout my career so far. Anurag Varshney – thanks for fostering the learning path for me to develop deep technical skills hand-in-hand with domain expertise. My technical skills, supplemented with BFSI domain knowledge, brought me tremendous opportunities at Headstrong, which raised my credibility as a Lead Software Consultant & interview panellist, BFSI domain trainer and process excellence champion. Tej Pratap Singh Randhawa – thanks for supporting my career aspirations and providing growth opportunities during all the EMEA Capital Markets projects. Jon Sword and Cameron Martin – thanks for giving me a chance to work on process excellence and digital enablement initiatives at Macquarie Group; I learnt so much about Cloud computing, enterprise management of SaaS applications and a perfect Agile delivery model during this engagement! I would also like to thank Amit Choudhary and Sumit Pachnanda for introducing me to the Salesforce Ohana and guiding me through my journey as a Salesforce professional. Amit enabled me to lead engagements from the onset and advised me on the right certification path to support my role. I want to thank Alan Babakhani for enriching my consulting approach with his constructive feedback and leading by example. I would also like to shout out to the fantastic A-team at SaaSfocus I have worked with over the past six years; Shikha Mahajan, Jason Doshi, Nadeem Shaikh, Digamber Prasad, Arun Nair – we have shared so many moments of team pride and customer accolades for our impeccable deliveries! I am so proud of the support we foster as a team! Last but not least, Atif Saad, for all of your words of wisdom as leaders, for entrusting me to lead Consulting practice, empowering me to drive innovation and a culture of learning within the team!

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