The Journey to Becoming a CTA

Becoming a CTA

Eric Schubert talks to Salesforce about realizing, as an Admin, that he already had a lot of the skills he needed for the CTA. He also discusses how he approached learning everything else there is to know in order to achieve the coveted title and the journey to becoming a CTA.

Learn by doing

Eric supported around four hundred users on the platform on both Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. “Before I got into the Salesforce world, I was at an organization that did not want to get a CRM product off the shelf,” he says, “they were building a poor man’s CRM.”

Eric’s job was to be the intermediary between the business and the developers, figuring what the business requirements were and then relaying that to the team. He was also the go-to person for training.

While it was certainly educational, it was hard to do the DIY thing and also deliver actually impactful business innovations, so when Eric was offered a job as a Salesforce admin he jumped at the opportunity. He went to a training class, this was in the days before Trailhead. “This is how training went: you leave the class, you think you know everything,” but really, “you were kind of thrown into the fire.”

Seeing himself as a CTA

Of his pursuit to becoming a CTA, Eric says “When I first got involved with Salesforce, they didn’t even have certification exams,” he says. However, at one organization he worked for “there were folks onboard there who, had ‘Architect’ in their title but I felt like the things they were doing like data modeling or solutions, were things I’d been doing for just as long or even longer.” That made him take a closer look at the Architect exams, and so far he’s passed eleven certifications.

It’s a major realization that more admins need to hear. You’re already probably doing things on the platform that overlap with what an architect does, and even more importantly, you’re probably thinking like an architect.

When you’re solving a business need for your organization, “you have to think about using all the advantages Salesforce gives you out of the box,” Eric says, “or think about if you want to use a bunch of custom objects.” The approach of an architect is just about scaling up that thinking to a broader perspective.

The certification pyramid

Climbing the CTA pyramid can be different for everyone. There are definitely some things on the development side that are a challenge. “I can look at code and get a general gist of what’s going on and what’s happening, but I’m certainly not a developer perse,” he says about the Platform Developer exam. “Being able to pass that exam gave me a little more confidence that I can be able to pass the Systems Architect side of the pyramid with a little more time and study.”

“It’s definitely not easy and I definitely worked hard at it,” Eric says, “but even if you’re not necessarily a developer, there are tons of resources out there right now and practice exams that are available to help.”

For more advice from Salesforce MVPs and influencers check out our #SalesforceQA series.

View a full transcript of Eric’s journey to becoming at CTA here –

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