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Trailhead is known as the fun way to learn Salesforce. As a millennial relatively new to both Salesforce and the industry, I am interested in taking advantage of all opportunities to increase my Salesforce knowledge and overall business skills. By combining interactive mini-courses with engaging projects, Trailhead has been a key learning resource as I have worked to build my understanding of Salesforce since joining the company. Here are my four best practices to blaze your trail in the environment that is Salesforce:

1. Focus on the Basics First

 

As you start your Trailhead experience, you may be overwhelmed with the number of options presented in front of you. I suggest starting your journey by doing modules that are tagged as beginner. Though it's good to show initiative and desire to do advanced badges, starting with the basics helps in acclimating yourself with how Salesforce works. For me, I needed to understand what a CRM was. Though I understood the definition you could look up on Wikipedia, I didn't know how it manifested itself in a product offering. The CRM Basics module in the Learn CRM Essentials trail helped show it to me. Trailhead is great at taking complex concepts used throughout the company's ecosystem and explaining them in a relatable way. Decide where you have gaps in your understanding of Salesforce, and focus on doing modules that can fill those gaps in first.

My Suggested First Badges To Earn:
CRM Basics
Salesforce Ohana Culture
Salesforce User Basics

2. Learn Through a Hands-On Approach

 

In some modules, each unit culminates in a multiple choice quiz to test one's understanding of the material, while other units feature hands-on challenges in place of quizzes. These hands-on challenges require a user to go into a functional Salesforce environment called a Trailhead Playground and complete a specific task tied to the lessons learned in the accompanied unit. When I first started working on Trailhead modules, I was nervous to undertake hands-on challenges. The challenges are excellent, however, at walking a user through the step-by-step process behind completing actions in Salesforce. For example, if a user wants to know the steps required to build a report to capture certain fields, the Reports and Dashboards trail walks them through it in a step-by-step manner.

Hands-on challenges present the blueprints a user will need to go forward with the real world tasks they need to accomplish on the job. One of my first assignments when I came to Salesforce was to create a report capturing certain fields of data from various company records. In addition to receiving the support of my manager, I utilized the Reports & Dashboards module to understand how to properly build real-time reports that reflect the data I need. To this day when people ask me how to build reports, I use that very dashboard as a guide on the process behind it.

3. Expand Your Knowledge Base

 

To successfully blaze a trail in Trailhead, the user needs to expand their knowledge past what they may be comfortable with. A successful Trailblazer completes modules and trails across a variety of subjects, in the process showcasing a vast understanding of Salesforce. Although I completed many technical badges focusing on the integration and development of Salesforce's wide product array, the area in which I expanded my knowledge the most was management. Though I may not necessarily be a people manager right now, a Trailblazer completes badges that they believe are important for their growth as an individual. The skills I learned in the Learn Drucker School MBA Essentials trail, for example, are adding benefit for me now as I learn how to manage and be a leader for my cross-country team at NYU.

4. Put in the Work to Become a Trailblazer

 

Becoming a Trailblazer takes time and effort, and it's important to not to let yourself get discouraged along the way. Trailhead is designed to be both engaging and fun, so if a particular module or trail has you feeling frustrated or burnt out, the vibrant Trailhead community is here to help you. Check out the Trailhead group in the Success Community and on Twitter, ask any questions you have and get answers from Trailblazers like you! In the meantime you can set that module aside and start another which teaches something entirely different, if you'd like. Since Trailhead maintains your progress on a trail, you don't have to complete everything in one big swoop. The key is to not slack off on your overall goal of gaining more knowledge. I knew that I was a Trailblazer when I wasn't deterred from learning about Salesforce via Trailhead, despite not understanding a concept the first time through. A person knows they are a trailblazer when they circle back on a concept they didn't get the first time to try to understand it better, because it shows that learning about that particular area of study is valuable and important to them.

My List Of Suggested Trails:
Navigate the Salesforce Advantage
Learn Drucker School MBA Essentials
Get Smart With Salesforce Einstein

Becoming a Trailblazer is a process that takes both time and dedication. It isn't a process that can be completed overnight, and it isn't one that should be rushed through quickly just to get badges or finish trails. Remember, the goal is to learn and develop the skills that are featured in Trailhead. As a millennial, Trailhead was my ticket to gaining knowledge about Salesforce, and was as valuable as my internship in teaching me about the company. Create an account today and begin your journey to become a Salesforce Trailblazer!

This piece is the second in a series that will be released this summer titled “Re-Think: A Millennial's View On Current Technology”. It will highlight the viewpoints of a millennial who has spent the past three years interning at Salesforce, one of the fastest growing and most innovative technology companies in the world. The writer is a current rising senior at New York University's Manhattan campus.