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Behind the Certs – Inshu Misra

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SG – Let’s get started. Why don’t we start from the beginning? Please tell us about your education/ career before coming into the Salesforce ecosystem.

IM – Even though I had a predilection towards programming while growing up, when I was choosing my B Tech major, I was reluctant to opt for Computer science as I thought I wasn’t great at it. Hence I decided on Biotechnology as my major. But my curriculum had compulsory Computer programming courses each semester which surprisingly became my favourite subjects, and I understood my inclination towards programming.
As a result, I excelled in my interview and got my first job as a Java developer even before completing my graduate degree. Working as a Java developer, I got to work on a parallel Salesforce migration project. Therefore, I instantly registered for a cross-skilling program offered by my employer.
Since then, I have worked as a Salesforce developer, tester, business analyst, consultant, technical architect, solution architect, mentor and a coach using Salesforce Sales, Service, Marketing, Experience, Analytics (Tableau CRM) clouds in various industries.

Become a Salesforce Certified Professional

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?

IM –When I first started working on a Salesforce project, the one thing that amazed me was that I was able to code from my browser without the need to maintain a local server. And that’s when I decided that this was what I wanted to learn. On top of programming and building complex logic, the Salesforce ecosystem offered intelligibility, accessibility, manageability, stability and all those other beautiful itties.

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?

IM – In my view, certifications have great value because not only do they reflect our drive and motivation, they also increase our credibility, market value and employability.

The certification process could be very challenging in different ways. The significant challenges that I faced in my journey are:
1. Time management: Working full time on a project and doing a certification is really difficult to manage as personal life usually gets affected. Project delivery should not be impacted, so we often borrow time from our personal lives, which could be stressful at times. No matter how good you are in maintaining and following your schedules, the desire to put that extra effort constantly disrupts our schedules.
2. Financial commitment: Most of my employers supported my certification journey financially, but there was always pressure to pass the certification at times. Otherwise, I’d have to pay the cost from my pocket. For two years, I had to bear the maintenance cost of the certifications from my pocket before the maintenance became free.
3. Which one is right: As there are umpty Salesforce certifications and partner accreditations available, the most challenging question was – “Which one is right for me now?”
Many a time, I had to work extra hard as I was out of touch on that particular topic. So even though the certification adds value, if you don’t have that work experience, it becomes complicated to understand all those complex scenarios.
4. Resilience: The process requires a lot of resilience as there is always a possibility of failing that exam. I did fail a couple of certification exams before finally acing them, and not only does it cost you additional dollars, it also challenges your motivation and tests your perseverance.
5. Focus: With everything going on in our lives, it’s very easy to lose focus which is of utmost importance when taking that exam. After all those hours of rigorous preparation, it becomes easy to lose your calm when actually taking the exam.

The top tips that I would like to share are:
1. Choose your next certification wisely: Don’t fall for the trap of peer pressure, and always choose the certification exam that you’re comfortable with at that time. For example, if you are working on a Service Cloud implementation, Service Cloud Consultant would be a lot easier to clear than the Sales Cloud Consultant exam at that time.
2. Reach out to your mentor(s): From helping with a particular technical problem to helping you decide what would be your next certification, mentors play a significant role in our lives. Mentors could be your seniors, your peers, your people leaders or the ones from the Salesforce Trailblazer Mentorship program. If you don’t already have a mentor, seek out your trusted ones from within your network, find one through a community or just register as a mentee in the Salesforce Trailblazer Mentorship program.
3. Commitment: Prepare a proper study plan and time the certification between projects or major releases not to cause unnecessary stress and pressure on yourself.

Get your Salesforce Certifications on the first go

SG – What do you enjoy most about your work as a certified Salesforce professional?

IM – The Salesforce ecosystem is ever-changing and ever-evolving; with an acquisition happening every second week, there’s always a scope for learning and expanding your knowledge.
Getting all the workstreams together, understanding the business problems and designing the technical blueprint is what I enjoy the most about my work.

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?

IM –There are so many, but to name a few: I want to thank Jane Beck, team Slalom, Lorrelle Weber, team RXP Services, Sally Berlin, John Railton, all my amazing colleagues from Les Mills International, all my mentors from TPG, Accenture India and my current coach cum mentor Priscilla Lund for always motivating me and believing in me.

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