I recently sat down with Trailblazer Salma Khathun to talk about women in tech, her career and why the Salesforce Success Community has given her so much encouragement, and shared her four top tips for building a career with Salesforce.
Can you tell us about your role at AutoRABIT?
Currently, I’m working as a Senior Engineer in the Customer Success Team at AutoRABIT, which is a Salesforce partner. My role is to provide solutions to customers that will simplify their deployment efforts. This means I work with Salesforce architects, developers and admins globally, helping teams to achieve Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD).
Can you tell us about yourself and your career journey?
I graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Kakinada, India, before moving to Bangalore in search of work.
In 2014, I was fortunate enough to land a job as a Senior Associate in Quality Assurance with Trekbin – another organisation in Salesforce’s partner community. It was my rob to ensure that every application built on the Salesforce platform was delivered bug-free. This is where I was first introduced to Salesforce.
When I began my Salesforce career, Trailhead wasn’t around, so I had to teach myself by going through each chapter in the Force.com Fundamentals PDF. Then I discovered the Salesforce Success Community – what an amazing all-in-one community! I love that you can post your questions and ideas, and check for known issues. But, the best part is being able to connect with the Salesforce Ohana – Salesforce employees, Trailblazers, customers and partners. When I’m exploring the Salesforce Success Community I feel like there are no barriers.
At the start of my learning journey, I used to explore solved queries in the forums to understand how community leaders solved critical issues. This gave me a lot of encouragement, so I started checking unanswered and unsolved queries, seeing if I could add value and expertise. When I received my first ‘best answer’ accolade, I felt like I had won a gold medal.
In late 2015, I became the leader of the Mumbai Women in Tech User Group, and was the first woman to conduct a Women in Tech meetup in all of India. I am really excited about running these events, and doing my bit to encourage more women into the tech industry and Salesforce community.
What are some of the greatest accomplishments of your Salesforce career to date?
For me, any appreciation received from a client is truly the greatest achievement. When I received a thank you card and gift from Geraldine Gray (the original founder of the Salesforce Women in Tech networking group) I felt like I had conquered the world.
In 2014, I was honoured to receive the Go Getter Award for Performance at Trekbin. This was a huge achievement given I’d only embarked on my Salesforce career less than a year earlier. Also earning my 100th Trailhead badge and becoming a Trailhead Ranger was a huge milestone.
What advice would you give your fellow Trailblazers to help them take the next steps in their Salesforce careers?
It’s important to not just gain a Trailhead badge but earn it. By studying all of the module content from beginning to end, instead of merely skimming it, you learn more.
Trailhead is a great resource for learning new skills. If you’re an admin, don’t just stop at the modules specifically relevant to your role, for example, start exploring the beginner developer modules too. In doing so, you learn new skills and your admin proficiency will evolve.
If you’re stuck on a problem, make the most of the Salesforce Success Community or Tweet about it. Salesforce leaders and Trailblazers are active on every forum and social media, and they’re happy to give advice, help and solutions.
Finally, find a local Salesforce User Group or Developer Group, and start connecting with your peers – you never know what you might learn and who you might meet.
So, what’s next for you?
I believe if you want to be an expert then you have to take challenges in your role and beyond. At present, I’m working on understanding API concepts – like Metadata API and Tooling API – to further my knowledge.
I’m also making an effort to share my expertise with colleagues and Salesforce peers. For example, I’ve taken the initiative of teaching Salesforce to my colleagues in sales, marketing, support and product, going through each Trailhead module with them.
I’ve also started blogging, sharing my Salesforce admin tricks and insights. Plus, I’m focusing on sharing Salesforce DX concepts with customers, showing them the potential of Source Driven Development.
I’m also dreaming of one day being a part of the biggest global event on the Salesforce calendar, Dreamforce.
Need more inspiration to kick-start your own Trailblazing journey? Read the stories of other Trailblazers. Discover how they’ve found their paths and changed their worlds, or go one step further and elevate your learning with Trailhead.
Megan Petersen is our Trailhead Community Evangelist. Read more from Megan.