In our most recent #SalesforceQA, we caught up with Jonathan Fox, Military Trailblazer, and Developer at Art of Cloud
Jonathan offers his top 3 tips for taking your career to the next level in Salesforce. The benefits that come with networking in the ecosystem and attending events. As well as, revealing his views on certifications vs experience.
Salesforce Republic (SR): You have an interesting career history and journey into Salesforce, going from the Military Police to a Salesforce Developer at Art of Cloud. Could you tell us a bit about how you got to where you are today?
Jonathan Fox (JF): Back in April 2018 I handed in my notice to leave the Military, however, the policy is you have to serve a further year. A week before I took that leap, I was talking with my brother-in-law about my options upon leaving. We discussed what he does in his current role as Technical Consultant at Capgemini. He introduced me to the world of Trailhead and Salesforce. At that point, my love and obsession with Salesforce began. Later I was offered my dream role at Developer at Art of Cloud.
SR: What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced throughout your Salesforce career and how did you overcome these?
JF: I wouldn’t really say I have faced many career challenges. When it comes to my career in Salesforce, it has been pretty perfect in terms of my employer and my role as Developer at Art of Cloud. I’d say the challenges that I have faced have all been self-inflicted, as a result of imposter syndrome and anxiety.
Like many people experiencing a career change, I kept asking myself, was I really the person for the job? Was I the person they thought I was? After realising many people experience this, I decided to write an article on LinkedIn about how to overcome imposter syndrome, have a read here.
SR: What are your top 5 tips for those looking to take their career to the next level in Salesforce?
JF: In no particular order, these are my 5 top tips…
#1: Immerse yourself in Trailhead. It’s a fantastic learning platform and it’s free, it’s a win-win. Trailhead provides a wealth of knowledge no matter where you’re at in your Salesforce career, be that as a new Trailblazer or an already established one.
#2: Remember your worth. Salesforce careers are so diverse and flexible, and there are so many different paths to take. This means different life experiences (like mine from the Army) are transferable, the challenge is translating that.
#3: Delve into the community. Attend as much as you can from local community user groups to larger Salesforce events such as World Tour or Dreamforce.
#4: Network. But do it because you want to rather than because you feel you have to. I network because I enjoy it and I like meeting new people. The same goes for maintaining these relationships. I’ve always had a genuine interest in other people’s achievements. This sets me apart from those who only network to gain something. Ultimately the active network of Salesforce professionals is there to help you. But create genuine relationships first and you’re more likely to gain real help when you need it. Likewise, if you can offer help or advice, make sure to do so.
#5: Don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there and asking questions. Meet CEOs, CTOs, MVPs and other Salesforce employees. You never know what they may be able to tell you, what advice they might give or what doors they could open for you.
SR: As a Trailblazer Community Group Leader, what would you say are the career benefits of attending community events and networking within the ecosystem?
JF: Community groups offer so much more than people realise. There’s a vast amount of information delivered by the speakers/presenters. However, people often forget about the other people they can learn from at these events.
As a rule of thumb, customers, recruiters, consultants and, of course, a range of Salesforce professionals with varying skills turn up to these events. This is great because if you’re looking for career advice or a new opportunity, you have various professionals to speak with who will be able to help. Not only that, you’ll expand your network. The more events you attend the more likely you are to expand your knowledge of the platform.
If you’re an employer, customer or recruiter, there’s definitely a benefit from the knowledge aspect. You’ll get the opportunity to speak with new faces in the ecosystem, as well as experienced professionals potentially looking for their next step.
SR: You’re a Trailhead Ranger and 4x certified, do you believe that certifications and badges are essential when it comes to career success in Salesforce?
JF: Certifications definitely hold weight when it comes to any job within Salesforce. Both certifications and Trailhead badges demonstrate commitment and motivation to continual learning. Which is key for a successful career in the ecosystem. However, in my opinion, experience (be that related or not) translated into the job role is much more important. Certifications and badges can be earned, experience can’t. So, it’s important to find experience where you can.
SF: What would you say are some of the key traits needed for career advancement in the ecosystem?
JF: Positive mental attitude and determination are definitely essential. Speaking from past personal experiences, so long as you remain positive, anything is achievable. Don’t give up on your goals and work hard to get what you want.
Something that I always try to remember is that success is not final, failure is not fatal. It’s your determination to continue that counts.
SF: What are your predictions for the future of Salesforce?
JF: With the advancements in AI, more specifically Einstein, I think more intelligent decisions will take place when it comes to business processes. I see these advancements allowing more companies to catch higher-value opportunities. As well as, discover potential holes in their sales paths much more easily.
SF: Finally, what emerging trends in Salesforce are you most excited about?
JF: As a developer, Salesforce evergreen and the capability to utilise servers functions excite me. These things open the 360 platform up for even more features.