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Behind the Certs – Nadeem Shaikh

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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. NS – I completed my Bachelor of Science in Technology and quickly realised that I have a knack for technology during my first job as a Java Developer. I found my passion was delivering outcomes that drove growth and business value. I also had a keen interest in understanding the ‘business side’ of tech, so I pursued my MBA in Information Systems. 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? NS – That’s a good question. After completing my MBA, I worked as a Solution Specialist with a leading web solutions provider in APAC. My role involved working closely with customers and product teams, predominantly supporting clients with their product implementations. I really enjoyed this role but wanted to go a few layers deeper and help shape the solutions themselves. At the end of the day, I wanted to be able to solve a problem at its core. It appeared to me that working at this level would be very rewarding, seeing the positive impact my ideas and approaches would add to the companies and clients I worked with. At this moment, I received an offer from a fantastic company, @VeraSolutions, which set me up for a steep learning curve and serious personal development. I began as a developer, this was my first role within the Salesforce ecosystem, and I was delighted to have the opportunity. 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?
NS – Why I value certs For me, certs do two things 1 – they set an excellent benchmark for everyone in the industry to work to; keeping the professional standard high. 2 – pursuing and studying for certs unlocks areas of the platform that you may not get a chance to explore during your day to day job/projects. This not only increases your product know-how but makes you a better and more informed professional, particularly when working across clouds. Challenges I found The real challenge you will face whilst pursuing a cert, in my opinion, is your acceptance of the status quo. I realised this while preparing and taking my CTA Review board. I was comfortable and had accepted a particular way of solving a problem, utilising methods I have developed or have seen others use to solve business problems on the platform. Preparing for the Certified Technical Architect cert forced me to break that norm and think differently; it required me to go back to the drawing board, learn something new, and apply it correctly and quickly. My top tip
  1. The one and only one tip I would like to share with others, and a younger me, is to learn to accept failure. You are not born perfect, nor do I think you are meant to be perfect at everything. If you haven’t failed a cert exam yet, you will sooner or later, and it will hurt. When you do fail, just know that it is okay, and even the best of us have; they say it is character building. Perhaps more importantly, it teaches you there is always more to learn. Embrace it, prepare harder, and for sure, you will clear it the next time. In the end, failing a cert is worth it, trust me.
SG – What do you enjoy most about your work as a certified Salesforce professional? NS – I don’t think enough of us value this enough; being a certified professional brings a lot of credibility and responsibility. That is the one thing I really enjoy and value about my work. Clients, stakeholders, and your teams trust you and your judgement because they know that you have spent time and effort earning those certs. The quality and rigour around the cert program are well known, and people know it is a sign of quality. So to all those preparing to take your next certification, value it more and ensure you keep the responsibilities these certs bring with them; it isn’t just your reputation, you represent every certified professional in the ecosystem, we must live up to the highest of standards. 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? NS – Picking one would be like asking a child to pick their favourite parent. But I would like to give a massive shout out and thank you to Amit Choudhary, Atif Saad, Jason Doshi and Chris Baldock for constantly challenging me and giving me the freedom to try out new things. I would also like to take this moment and thank Zak Kaufman, Owen Davies, Taylor Downs, and Alethea Josephson for their constant mentoring and support. All that I am, and all that I know, is because of the faith and trust shown to me by the fantastic people working at SaaSfocus – A Cognizant Company and Vera Solutions. I will owe them always. Get your Salesforce Certifications on the first go

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