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.
MN: I am a B.Tech graduate with a Mechanical Engineering background and got recruited by an IT company. After ramping up, my IT career kicked off on Data and Business Intelligence platforms like Business Objects. During the initial days, I also had the ambition to be an MBA graduate to upskill myself in Business management and administration. But I was looking for an opportunity that could help fulfill my ambition, and that’s when I joined the Salesforce ecosystem as an Admin.
This move was compatible with my MBA ambition as I understood how business processes ran on the Salesforce platform.
SG: That’s awesome. Now we would love to know what was the tipping point when you said, “I want to make this change,” and what was the trigger for that?
MN: As I successfully became an MBA graduate, my affiliation to the Salesforce ecosystem furthered, and I got passionate about the Salesforce platform. Though the platform has evolved tremendously in the last 15 years, back then, I was still astounded by the ease at which we can set up business processes on the Salesforce platform using out-of-box customizations. I thus felt the Salesforce ecosystem was the place to invest my career, and I started as a Salesforce Admin.
As I solidified myself as Salesforce Admin with improved problem-solving skills, I had the ambition to be a solution provider for a business as well as provide recommendations to business stakeholders. This set the tone for me to evolve from a Salesforce Sys Admin to Salesforce Solution Architect and eventually to be a Salesforce Enterprise Architect.
SG: You achieved many certs along the way. Can you share three things with us?
1. Why do you value certificates?
2. What are the challenges associated with the process?
3. What are your top tips for being successful in cert exams?
MN: Ya sure.
1. During my 15 years of Salesforce Experience, I always felt that Salesforce certification is crucial as it will complement one’s years of experience on the Salesforce Platform. Also, one can gain Salesforce certification on new domains as it prepares you to guide/recommend solutions when your company decides to invest in a particular Salesforce Cloud. Though we have Trailhead Badges and Superbadges now (huge thanks to Trailhead academy for this), back then, the Salesforce Help link and knowledge articles were the only content for me to crack Salesforce certification.
2. One challenge I see with the current process is time. One has to invest time in getting certified when your current job makes you occupied. If there is a way you can easily identify a group that does similar certifications, I feel that may help us a lot to get in touch with like-minded people with whom we can prepare for the exam. Otherwise, it’s a lone effort and commitment, which can sometimes be stressful.
Salesforce certification and its process will easily help one understand the length and breadth of the Salesforce features behind the certification. I would recommend at least a month or so to be invested in going through the Trailhead contents, superbadges, etc., linked with Certification and be prepared.
3. My few tips for the aspirants will be,
- Go through the Trailhead content systematically and finish them. Don’t worry about the number of hours quoted on the Trailhead site for a cert, but as one starts to learn, the required hours will not matter.
- Get exposure to practice exams available online or in webassessor. Do NOT go by the answers given onsite but find the correct answer for these practice exams by yourself.
- During the exam, try to eliminate wrong choices to arrive at the correct choice. Sometimes, doing that will easily help you save time and answer correctly.
SG: What do you enjoy most about your work as a certified Salesforce professional?
MN: Always try to leverage the latest Salesforce enhancements as part of finding a solution for a business requirement. This will help one to always be aware of the latest Salesforce features. Also, try to solve complex problems in an innovative or smart manner.
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?
MN: I would like to thank my mentors, managers, individuals, and companies who have provided me with space to work that helped me improve my career forward. Few learnings like appreciating others in their contribution, empathizing with others, and willingness to help are some of the traits that have stuck with me on this journey.