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.
LVB – I was born and raised in Brazil, graduating from UNA in Business Administration. To be honest, before becoming a Salesforce specialist, I was a bit lost career-wise. I worked for a variety of companies – banking advice, human resources, assistant hairdresser, receptionist; but never really found anything that sparked my passion, nothing I saw myself doing long term. I decided I’d try to find a job in tech, so I began writing to different tech services companies in Sydney, asking if I could join their teams as an unpaid intern in return for training on their chosen technology. After sending more requests than I could count, I was invited for an interview. I think they admired my willingness to take a risk, invest in myself and my overall eagerness to learn. We found an arrangement that worked for us, so I left my old ‘life’ and started my Salesforce journey. I started as an intern and attained my Salesforce System Admin cert within 6 weeks and haven’t stopped since. I am proud to say I am now 11 x certified after only 2 years in Salesforce.
Joining the tech world was a real game-changer for me; I now have a career path; I can see many opportunities for progression and many more different challenges to take on and learn.
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?
LVB – I was always good with technology in general; it interested me and felt intuitive when using it in my previous roles, but somehow I never believed that I would be capable of working in tech. I just came home from work one day, super frustrated and bored, and decided I would have a go. The worst thing anyone could say was ‘no’. I prepared myself to hear that word a lot, got clarity on my reasons to change my career and took the leap.
SG – You achieved many certs along the way. Can you share three things with us,
- why you value certs
- challenges associated with the process and,
- your top tips for being successful in cert exams?
LVB – Why I value certs
I value certifications because they are the best way to study and gain new skills. When you prepare for a certificate, you have to study hard if you want to learn it. Then achieving it and getting the email that says you passed is the best feeling.
Challenges I found
The hardest part of study for me is finding a consistent study routine. Life is busy; work eats into your personal time; friends want to catch up when you should be studying; it is hard to balance. Some of the certifications I achieved took many weeks of dedicated study, but I think it is worth it in the end.
My top tips
I think the other people you’ve interviewed in this series have given some great tips for achieving your certs. I’ve done a lot of those myself. The two I’d add are:
- Make sure you are having fun while preparing for your certification. Find a study buddy, in person is best, but online is great too. You can find and meet people at Salesforce events & users groups, even through LinkedIn.
- Don’t just try to memorise the information you are studying from text and flashcards. Get hands-on, use trailhead and practise the things you are learning; I found I retained far more about the things I tried vs the stuff I read about.
SG – What do you enjoy most about your work as a certified Salesforce professional?
LVB – There are many events, online tutorials and user groups – it is a very ‘interactive’ community that makes work fun and helps build your network; I think that is cool.
But, my favourite thing is that the Salesforce ecosystem is open to everyone, no matter their background. I started out with zero tech training or experience. Salesforce themselves publish tons of information to help you learn Salesforce; they pride themselves on being accessible to anyone; there is so much you can do without code. If you work hard, you can make it!
SG – Finally, we’d love to know what your plans for the future look like, is there anything you can share with us?
LVB – I will continue studying to gain more Salesforce and leadership skills, I believe there is a lot of room for growth for me.
I started an initiative last year, the Salesforce Latino Study Group, as volunteering effort to try to bring more Latinos (like me) into the Salesforce Ecosystem. This collaboration initiative has been a huge success so far. Our study group is an informal initiative that aims to promote mentorship; we all collaborate and help each other. I’ve been able to help people who are beginning their careers to find their first job, get certified and also have hope in the future; many of our mentees are enduring a hard time during this pandemic. Although, I am the official mentor/leader of this group, I am also a mentee; I have been growing my values, resilience, and leadership skills. It is a great responsibility and tremendously rewarding.
If you are interested in the Salesforce Latino Study Group, please click here to visit their page.