Today, I am excited to have a new post in the Origins series where we hear from Admin Heroes on how they got their start with Salesforce. Today’s story comes from Adam Olshansky. Enjoy!
After graduating college several years ago, I started my first professional job with Honeywell as a Systems Analyst on the SAP Infrastructure team in Phoenix, AZ. I got first-hand experience at dealing with on-premise hardware and grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of user experience working with SAP. The team was great to work with aside from that but after 2 years, in July of 2014, I got a promotion to Senior Systems Analyst on the functional side working on a product I had heard a little bit about called Salesforce. The same week I received this promotion, in my part-time grad school program, I happened to be in a class on Cloud Computing, a topic that had always interested me. Our guest speaker for the week was a Salesforce employee, Adam Seligman, who gave us some background on the company and really got me excited about my new role.
A couple weeks later, I was told that I was going to be sent to a conference I had never heard of before, called Dreamforce, that was put on by Salesforce every year. I reached out to Adam again to let him know that I was going and he gave me some tips about registering for sessions with the Agenda Builder and told me to come find him there. This was my first of what would be many great experiences receiving help from the Salesforce community.
Just a little over 2 months into my new role working with Salesforce, I attended my first Dreamforce! My goal was to soak up as much information as possible and so my first ever session was a hands-on training to dive right into the platform. I tried signing up for about 50 sessions during the week since they all looked so exciting! I found the hands-on training amazingly user-friendly and fun to use and I actually finished it relatively quickly. I was overjoyed with how easy it was to work with and understand and was anxious to learn more. I headed over the to nearby Dev zone where I picked up some free literature and created my first ever, personal developer org.
I attended another hands-on-training, this time on Apex. Since I had done a decent amount of Java development in college, I was also able to get through it relatively quickly and my fear about terms such as SObject, SOQL, and Salesforce development started melting away. I highly recommend hands-on-training sessions at Dreamforce for any awesome admins looking to learn about Apex. It’s a great skill to add to your arsenal if you’re interested in coding but still great to learn the terminology and be able to speak to a developer in their language even if you’re not. On the final day of Dreamforce, I was hanging around Moscone West when I happened to stumble upon a Theater session given by a self-taught developer from Google named David Liu. Another Dreamforce tip, don’t overlook the theater sessions! He mentioned his website, SFDC99.com, as a great tool to learn the platform and become certified. I made sure to write this site down and even spoke to David for a few minutes after the session.
I had a blast at Dreamforce and have been on a Salesforce high ever since! I started learning everything that I could and started working through workbooks and reading some of the extraordinary blogs by the Salesforce MVPs (such as AdminHero!) and looking more into getting certified and trying to discover how to further my career. Around the end of January of 2015, I saw a post on SFDC99 about someone who received 5 certifications in just 6 weeks! A tall order no doubt, but since I had managed pretty well with the hands-on-trainings at Dreamforce, and being a competitive person by nature, I challenged myself to match it. I spent most of my free time studying all I could with tips I got from David’s site and was able to achieve my goal of also achieving 5 certifications in 6 weeks! In retrospect, I wish I had known about Trailhead at the time and might have been able to do it even quicker. I had a blast getting certified and learning about the amazing platform that is Salesforce. I wrote back to David to thank him for his help and inspiration and he ended up publishing a post about me!
After achieving the non-coding certifications, I was back to David’s site to start learning Apex. After several months of review, going through the Apex and Visualforce developer guides, the associated Trailhead modules, and the free Salesforce workbooks, I was able to pass the Advanced Developer multiple-choice exam (caveat, it did take me a few tries). I have been awaiting the re-opening of the programming assignment signups ever since.
When David’s blog post went live, I was inundated with LinkedIn requests from various individuals asking me for certification tips. I was extremely honored to be able to give back to the amazing community that had helped me out so much and was very interested in finding out how I could do more. I was able to help several people get certified and even took some time to help one person in particular review and eventually get a job as a Salesforce admin! I started attending user groups and met Salesforce MVP Eric Dreshfield who gave me the opportunity I was looking for to get even more involved by setting me up with an MVP mentor in Jayvin Arora. Jayvin helped encourage me to propose some Dreamforce proposals for the Admin track, and I am proud to say that I’ll be presenting 2 different sessions with him at only my 2nd Dreamforce! I have also recently started getting involved in answering questions on the Success community and also become more active on Twitter as I look for ways to continuously become a larger part of the amazing Salesforce community that has helped me out so much. In July 2015, after looking around for jobs to get more hands on with Salesforce, the guy who I previously helped get a job as an admin, told me about an exciting opportunity at SolarCity who was looking for more people to join their Salesforce team. After a few conversations with the recruiter, and flying out from Phoenix to San Francisco for the interview, I ended up getting a job as a full time Salesforce Software Engineer with SolarCity in San Francisco. I was more than happy to relocate and get the chance to be even closer to the company that has literally helped me start a new career and given me a great community to be a part of.
In just over a year, my entire life is in a much better place thanks to Salesforce and the amazing community and I am constantly looking for ways to become a bigger part of it and help give back to others just as so many did so much for me. My longer-term goals include becoming a Salesforce MVP and eventually a Certified Technical Architect. Salesforce is consistently being named one of the most innovative companies and I believe that the sky’s the limit. Looking forward to what the platform and the community has to offer in the future! I know it’s going to be incredible!