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Behind the Certs – Tanjid Mowla

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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.

TM – I came to Australia in 2009 to study Business Administration straight after finishing my A levels (Year 12) in Bangladesh. At the time I didn’t really have a clear vision of where I wanted to take my career. I was always intrigued by how big businesses and multinationals operate so I picked a Business Administration degree.

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?

TM – There was actually no specific tipping point when I wanted to switch to a career in Salesforce. While I was doing my degree, I was working part-time at a small not-for-profit called The Fundraising People. When I started working there, we were using Excel spreadsheets to manage the donor database. But as the company grew larger, we had to make an investment on a proper CRM software. My boss at the time ( Matthew Brine) picked Salesforce in 2011 and I was given the responsibility to implement it with the help of a consulting partner.

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I quickly realized the potential that Salesforce has to rapidly transform business processes by automating them and making them more efficient. In the early years I was pretty obsessed with learning everything about Salesforce. I remember that I would spend countless hours trying to figure out why my workflow rule was not working. I was told off by Matt a few times for spending too much at the office and one time I had a serious talk from Matt about the importance of work-life balance because I sent an email to a client at 3 am in the morning! But for me it didn’t feel like work at all, I was addicted to the rush of learning new Salesforce features. This was way before the days of Trailhead and I mostly self-taught myself so I had to go through a lot of trial and error to get features to work.

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?

TM –

  1. 1. I think certs can provide a great level of baseline knowledge before starting a new project. However, I do want to emphasize that certs alone is not a good indicator of a person’s technical capabilities. I have worked with exceptionally good Salesforce Architects in the last 10 years some of whom have only 1 cert or no certs at all. But I strongly recommend getting a few certs if you are new to the industry as that will give you confidence that you know the basics. I personally always try to aim for certs + experience on projects to solidify my learnings.
  2. Each cert tends to have their own set of challenges but finding the right information for exams is always challenging. Salesforce has done a great job over the years with providing amazing content in Trailhead. But I think when it comes to certification exams, sources like SaasGuru can be a really valuable tool for revision. 
  1. I have a set process which I have refined over my last 14 certs: 

– Start with the Study Guide. This is the most important step that most people tend to overlook. I take each point from the Study Guide and list them out on an Excel Spreadsheet and I keep reviewing them over and over until I am confident that I know the topic inside and out. 

– Go through the Salesforce official Trailmix. 

– Consider using a 3rd party revision tool like SaasGuru. In my opinion, this will give a better chance of passing on the first attempt. 

– READ every question thoroughly during the actual exam. Don’t rush. If you are not sure about an answer, mark it for review and move on to the next question instead of wasting time. 

– Use the full time that was allocated to you for the exam to go back and review the answers where you did not feel confident.

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

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TM – I really enjoy the learning process involved with my line of work. Salesforce is an ever-expanding platform and there is never a shortage of new Clouds or tools to learn, or certs to complete. One of the things that I cherish the most in my role is seeing the impact that Salesforce has made on a business process and getting positive feedback from the actual end users after a Go Live. I think it’s one of the best feelings in the world to know that the work that you did made a huge difference in a person’s day-to-day activities.

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?

TM – As I have been in the industry for over 10 years there are just too many people that I want to thank, and if I try to name everyone it will fill up 10 pages. But I especially must thank a few very special people for giving me the opportunities to work on some amazing projects over the years. I would like to thank Matthew Brine, Reid Meldrum, Elizabeth Adams, Toby Wilcock and Steven Herod for letting me work at amazing companies like The Fundraising People, Sqware Peg, Cloudwerx and Accenture. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. 

I have also had the pleasure of working very closely with some of the best Salesforce Architects in the industry, all of whom have helped me on my journey. I look up to them very much and they have always inspired me to become a better architect. I would like to thank Monil Pathak, Jim Bartlett, Tuan Abdeen, Khalid Mohammed, King Ho, Nathan Bradshaw, Kierin Spark, David Thomas, Andrew Manetakis, Norman Lee and Sumair Shaikh for the constant support and inspiration over the years.

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