SG: Let’s get started. Why don’t we start from the beginning? Please tell us about your education/ career before entering the Salesforce ecosystem.
KM: My name is Khyati Mehta. I live in Kolkata, India. I was born and brought up in Orissa, but then I shifted to Kolkata for my higher studies. Now I live here.
Coming to my professional life, I was introduced to Salesforce in the last years of my college, and from there on, I understood that Salesforce is a powerful platform where I could make a career. So I went ahead, gave some interviews for Salesforce, and now I’m here. I also got introduced to the Trailblazer Community. I was also a part of the Trailblazer Community as a normal trailblazer. But then I saw that there were no active groups in my area in the trailer community, and many people from my side wanted to go ahead and learn together. So, I wanted that to come up. And I became the group leader of Salesforce, Women in Tech, Group Kolkata.
Now, I can proudly say that it’s the highest or the most active group in East India, with weekly sessions. This July 12, we are completing one year, and more milestones are under pipeline, which will be discussed shortly.
Apart from this, I am also an active community speaker. I have many sessions in the community in my area, and I make my presence visible on different channels too. I also have my YouTube channel named the US again leads for Home and Technical Pork Cutter, where I also post podcasts. A podcast is not new in India, and I have been the first one to come up with it. A podcast helps you learn and understand Salesforce from different people’s journeys.
SG: That’s really commendable. What did you study before you started your Salesforce journey? And how many years have you been in the profession?
KM: I am an undergraduate. I never wanted to take Science. I don’t know why I chose Science. The idea of taking Science was something that came out of nowhere. I had my best friend who wanted to take Science, but then she took Commerce, and I too wanted to take Commerce at a point of time. But I took Science, studied all the subjects, and was indecisive about the future. I like subjects and Maths, but I’m not that much into books. I like it just to pass the exams. So I didn’t know what to do. And I had one of my cousins, someone I used to admire, who was doing BTech. I always wondered if she could, why can’t I give it a try?
I had two options from which I could choose my university, either Kolkata or Orissa. Orissa was technically the second option. Kolkata was the priority because I only have my mother, and my mother’s family lives here. So finally, I got into one of the universities in Kolkata. Although I was not a bright or hard-working student, reality struck me when I reached my last year of my BTech.
That was when Cognizant conducted campus recruitment with pretty good salary offers. But they had only one condition; we should have a thorough understanding of the Salesforce platform. They provided training for a few weeks and study materials that were basically Trailhead courses. We had to face multiple rounds of interviews where they tested our technical knowledge. I was all prepared by mugging up the important concepts without really understanding the basics of Salesforce and how it can be effectively utilised for the betterment of an organisation.
Luckily, I got the job, but yeah, to be honest, I didn’t know much about Salesforce at that point of time because I was a BTech student. Nobody told us about Salesforce. We really didn’t know what was happening, and we were just thrown up with something that was quite new. It’s from that point I started getting curious about the Salesforce platform. I went through all the modules and learned everything again, deeply understanding the concepts, and yeah! I am here sitting right in front of you.
SG: That was a really insightful story. So, Khyati, what inspired you to continue making a mark in the field? What triggered you? In other words, how did it inspire you to be in this field?
KM: As I told you, I always wanted to make this change when it comes to the East India community. As we all know, the trading community is extremely wide, open, and active in West India compared to East India.
If you see any East Indian cities, we don’t have communities that are active, as we can see in West India. Right? That’s because of the exposure and the number of meetings they have, we could not provide until yet. And the community was something thrown to me. Once, I was going through a few LinkedIn posts, I realized there’s something called Community at a time when I was also involved as a normal participant or a normal trailblazer there.
But then I realized, eventually, that I can also be a leader and I can also guide, or I can also take sessions based on the journey or what we are missing here. So that was one of the trigger points. I always wanted to make this change- to bring together the East India community and be active, to show their enthusiasm to the world.
Apart from this, there had been many different circumstances that I had been into when it came to Salesforce. I have helped a few underprivileged children with Salesforce, and they eventually got jobs, which Salesforce has even recognized, and I’m very grateful to it.
Other than that, I’ve also helped special students with us. So eventually, I cannot say these were my trigger points, but these always made me make a better version of myself. And I always wanted to help each and every person I could find around me. So that’s me.
SG: Inspiring indeed! This brings me to the next question: why do you value certification in general, and why do you think it’s important in today’s time?
KM: When I helped the underprivileged children with Salesforce, I also helped my maid’s son and daughter, who eventually got a job. But they didn’t have the proper certifications of their graduation or 10th or 12th certificates with them to show to their employer. Reputed companies won’t hire you if you don’t have basic graduation certificates. At the same time, obtaining certifications also have become very common. It’s actually good to achieve certifications, but you should also be capable of answering anything that is related to that certification. Certification for the sake of certification is unacceptable. If you’re not confident, you should never go for certs.
You need to understand what you are capable of and in what lies your passion. Make that certification count, make your knowledge count.
Certifications are capable of helping your employer understand the capability and dedication you have for your career. The certifications are undoubtedly a very valuable asset that acts as an add-on to your resume. So, use it with full power that could drastically change your life.
SG: Were there any challenges you faced in the certification process? And if there were any, what were they?
KM: Oh yes, a hell lot of challenges. So, as I said, when I was giving the interview for my first job at the college, we never knew that there was something called Salesforce and its importance. I have got a few questions from that area also.
But then, when I talked to a few of my colleagues, I came to know that these are the questions of a normal case for certification. And that was the time when we realized that this was something really big. And then, I decided to give it a good try.
I had to go through every Trailhead module very vividly because that was one point I used to see that could affect my knowledge very well. And I used to go through blocks that would help you succeed in your certification exams. There are different blocks available. There are different YouTube channels available. We have many resources here and there that could basically help you understand it.
But, certification is not easy to crack unless and until you have the required knowledge. I recommend thorough preparation before attempting the cert exam.
SG: You achieved many certs along the way. Can you share 3 challenges and top tips for the aspirants to ace their cert exam on their first trials?
KM: For cert exams, I still swear by the Trailhead. Always, my first go-through would be the Trailhead. I would eventually go through the trailer and go through all the modules properly, word by word, so that I understand, if at all I miss any steps, I understand what’s happening there.
That is what I first do before a certification exam. After I understand the topic very properly, I go through a few blogs. There are always a few terms here and there that you miss out or you don’t understand properly. So that is my second step. I always go through blogs and understand those topics properly.
Also, I try to do some hands-on, if possible, on what’s basically happening. And then my third step would always be to go to any YouTube channels if I want to. I am not a person who would like to see videos for a longer time and maybe pause them and do it. So, I basically go through the scripts or the blogs as much as possible. And then, I would highly recommend going through the questionnaire that’s available, like the mock questions, which are undoubtedly helpful.
And, also if someone is quite new and doesn’t know what to do, you can always reach out to community leaders like me. They would readily help you understand where to go, what to do, and how to practice more to face the actual exams.
SG: What do you enjoy most about your work as a certified Salesforce professional?
KM: I love many things. It’s not just one. I love the Salesforce environment and how easily we can get through the problems. I love how the community helps me, if at all. If I’m stuck anywhere, I can go ahead and maybe ping someone or at least Google it to find a solution.
I love how people are there to help you always. If you reach out to anyone in the community, they will reply to you within an hour or so. If they are available in that time zone, they’re ready to help you, or if they are busy, they will refer you to someone else or guide you somewhere. They’re willing to do anything for you. And I also love how the community works. We have meetings. I do in-person events in Calcutta.
So, we feel delighted to meet everyone, talk to them, and understand their issues. They can also solve my issues. So, it’s amusing networking and learning in Germany together. And I absolutely love it. Yeah. Also, as I said, I am not just feeding my stomach but also willing to help others, which is why I would love to use this platform.
Go ahead and help as many people as you can. It’s not just people in the Salesforce. You can get someone who wants to get a job, or someone who is struggling in their jobs, or someone who does not know what to do, like maybe your male child, or someone who is good at learning but doesn’t know what to do. So, you can help them get a job in Salesforce, get life together, or out of just the love. You can also do non-profit work.
You can help special students in your community. You can help underprivileged children in your community. So just go out, and help. You would definitely love your job as a Salesforce professional.
SG: Time for gratitude!! Finally, is there anyone (individual or company) that 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?
KM: I would like to thank two people. Without them, I was unsure what I would do in my career. Firstly, my mother who always supports me with whatsoever decisions I have. So, I would like to thank her for pushing me and just saying to go ahead and try what Salesforce is, and I am here. So don’t worry about anything else. Just go ahead and try.
And the second person who helped me was one of my new colleagues. He helped me inculcate a passion for Salesforce, the platform which is booming. He has largely helped me in my career formation.