In this blog series, we share people’s incredible Salesforce certification stories. Becka Miller became a middle school secretary so she could have the same hours as her three children: Samantha, Hannah, and Erin. As they got older, and with lots of encouragement from her Salesforce-experienced husband, Mark, she made a life-altering career change and became Salesforce Certified.

I married the love of my life, Mark, at age 18, just after my first year of college at Texas A&M. Soon thereafter, Mark joined the Air Force and was sent overseas, so I followed him to Germany.

I tried to go to school while we were hopping from base to base every couple of years, and did earn an Associates degree in Business & Management from the University of Maryland, but always had to start over when we arrived at our next base. Babies came next, and with three little girls it was impossible to find the time to attend school and be their mommy. I stayed at home with them for 11 years, then went to work for the school district as a secretary so my schedule would mirror theirs.

As you can probably guess, school secretaries don’t get paid much, and after 7 years I realized I was not living up to my full potential. Mark had been involved with Salesforce for 10 years. I knew a little from him, so I thought I should really look into learning Salesforce for myself. Have you ever had your spouse try to teach you something? I had very little IT experience, and remember my head wanting to explode while he tried to explain the difference between leads, accounts, contacts, and opportunities.

I started researching online, watching YouTube videos, and trying to learn what Salesforce was all about for a couple of months. Then I heard about VetForce, a Salesforce program that prepares current service members, veterans, or military spouses for a civilian career in IT, consulting, or sales. I signed up, created a Trailhead account, and started earning badges. When school let out for the summer, I attended the 5-day ADM201 class in Austin. Then a few short weeks later, I took my Salesforce Certified Administrator exam and PASSED!

Certified, but with no experience, I joined the Salesforce Certified Professional Group on the Success Community to try and find somewhere to do volunteer hours to put what I had learned into practice. Before I had the chance to do this, my current boss, Paul, found me. He is a Salesforce Partner who was looking for a new Admin to train to be a consultant. So only six weeks after becoming Salesforce-certified, I had landed a job, using the skills I had been certified for, and joined The Fury Group. They sent me to Dreamforce in September, where I attended the first 2-day Pardot Consultant Class.

When I returned, I took my Pardot Consultant Certification exam and PASSED again! That same day, I also went to my second Houston Salesforce User Group meeting. Even though I was newly certified, the leaders encouraged me to start a Houston Pardot User Group, so now I’ve have taken that on as well.

Next stop: the Platform App Builder exam with the DEV401 class. In the not-too-distant future, I want to add Sales Cloud and Service Cloud to my list of certifications.

I have learned a lot and I’m excited about how much more I can achieve. I know I have only scratched the surface. Words of wisdom for anyone thinking about certification? Don’t be afraid to try. Don’t stop after taking a class through Salesforce University—sign up to take your certification exam. You might just surprise yourself. And if you can’t find a job right away, head to the Success Community and check out the Non-Profit Groups in your area. They could use your help in exchange for some experience. The whole Success Community is there to help you.

My Salesforce ride so far has been fast and furious, and I really hope to keep up the momentum!

Becka’s Certifications
Salesforce Certified Administrator July 1, 2015
Salesforce Certified Pardot Consultant October 21, 2015

If you’ve been inspired by Becka’s story, learn more about how you, too, can become a Salesforce Certified Professional.