I got my very first computer when I was in the 6th grade and it was love at first sight. With lights shining bright and my heart skipping a beat, it was a scene right out of a movie! Granted all I did was play games on it, but nevertheless it fascinated me right from Day 1. It had made me made a gadget-freak for life! Apart from this ‘life-changing’ moment, if there was one person I should be thanking for my love of technology, it’s probably Dexter! That’s right, the cartoon character of the boy-genius with the super-cool lab. It was almost like he was playing out my life, complete with the pesky sister :). So when it came down to choosing a stream for my higher studies, it was all but natural that I would take up a degree in computer science and later on a job as a developer.
As you’ve probably noticed, Salesforce did not figure anywhere in my life till this time. In fact, I initially started out as an ASP .NET developer in my first job as an intern at Suyati Technologies, Kochi. Here, I got the chance to work on Salesforce for a client project and it amazed me just how flexible the platform was. It was letting me develop applications unbelievably easier and faster than .NET. Yup, it was love all over again! The ease-of-use and level of innovation that Salesforce offered cemented my choice of it over C#. It was a bold and difficult choice to make because at that point of time Salesforce was not a preferred technology for consultants in India. But I must admit it has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.
The novelty of Salesforce among developers in India and Kochi proved to be a huge advantage for me. It gave me the chance to be a hard-core evangelist and trainer for the platform within the company, both for internal and external projects. I soon became the ‘go-to’ guy for anything and everything in Salesforce projects, a status I thoroughly enjoyed. I owe a lot of my ‘expert’ status to the Salesforce community as well as the detailed workbooks on Force.com that were available then. These paved the way for expanding my knowledge on the platform and have come to my rescue at the toughest of times. A huge shoutout to my Salesforce peeps back then and a big thank you! My interaction with the Salesforce community made me realize the huge potential that the platform holds for developers in India. This prompted me to kick-start the Kerala Salesforce Developer User Group, a community that hones like-minded individuals interested in Salesforce and the cloud.
In 2013, I joined the team at Simplion Technologies, Gurgaon where I had the chance to work with a great bunch of Salesforce lovers like me. My time there equipped me to handle projects of varying levels of complexity. Being a company that focuses solely on Salesforce, Simplion was just what I needed to realize that there was so much more to the platform. It was a repository of opportunities for a developer/admin who knew just how to use it. While I was not poring over code, I was busy organizing the Gurgaon User Group events, a thriving community of Salesforce developers today.
My next role was at Groupon, a top player in the Salesforce community and this was a crucial step in my career. The fact that it was headquartered in Chennai gave me the chance to introduce the Chennai Developer User Group as well, another great community of Salesforce lovers. By then, I had also become the proud holder of the elite Salesforce.com and Force.com MVP titles. This honor further exposed me to a much wider Salesforce community – one that consisted of people I had always looked up to. My experiences with Dreamforce, both in 2014 and 2015 only deepened my ties with the platform and the community as a whole. I must say that no matter how many Dreamforce events I attend, I don’t think I can ever get over the excitement and adrenaline rush that I feel each and every time. Interacting with the dynamic and inspiring group of Salesforce MVPs and successful business heads slowly gave wings to my own long-term dream of becoming an entrepreneur. I began to seriously consider the prospect and thus was born Dazeworks – a pure-play Salesforce consulting and development firm based out of India. A venture that is close to my heart, not just because it is a dream come true, but because I am delighted to finally be able to contribute to the Salesforce community in my very own way. I have a great team working with me and I know I can rely on the Salesforce community to overcome any hard-hitting challenges I may face. I can say wholeheartedly that there is no better feeling in the world than this! Of course, I can go and on about it, but I’d rather let you see for yourself at Dazeworks. I realize that there is so much more to learn and experiment on the platform and that’s truly an exciting place to be – one that I absolutely love waking up to every day.
On an ending note, here are a few thoughts that I’d like to share with those admins who are testing Salesforce waters.
Take the Trail – If you are a newbie, the best way to wade through Salesforce is with Trailhead. Even if you’ve been around Salesforce for some time, Trailhead is the recommended way forward because some of those badges are REALLY tough to win. Chris Duarte and team – Keep ‘em coming! 🙂
Time to do Some SABWA – Being a great admin is not just about sitting at your desk and resolving the hundreds of queries that come up, but also about connecting with your users. SABWA or Salesforce Administration By Wandering Around suggests you spend a few minutes of your time reaching out to your users and talking to them. That’s one of the easiest and most effective way to being an #AwesomeAdmin. A shoutout to Mike Gerholdt and Cheryl Feldman for this great tip!
Stay Certified – Having a certification is a great way of proving your expertise on the Salesforce platform to the world. It shows not just to others, but more so to yourself, that you have the right skills and knowledge to take on a challenge in Salesforce. So go ahead and get certified, it’ll be worth it!
Keep your Explorer Hat on – What I love about Salesforce is that the platform is always adding new features and functionalities. And it gets better with each passing release. So the only way to stay ahead of the game is to keep challenging yourself to stay updated with all that’s happening in and around the platform. The Salesforce Community is a great place to get help on any questions that you may have. They continue to play a key role in lending a helping hand to me in times of need.