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Trailhead, Vetforce, and Salesforce University: My Secret to Becoming a Salesforce Certified Admin!

Trailhead, Vetforce, and Salesforce University. My Secret to Becoming a Salesforce Certified Admin!

I’d never known what I wanted to be when I grew up–it was always changing. When I was 8, I was going to be the President. When I was 10, I was going to teach. When I was 15, I was going to be a musician. And when I was 20, I was going to be a historian.

When I started to hear rumors last year that my company might be making cuts soon, I had to ask myself again, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And since I understood a little more about myself than I did when I was 8, I had a better idea of what would make me happy. I wanted to get into a field that had job security and a future, but one in which I wouldn’t become stagnant–I really do have a passion for learning!

I have a brother-in-law who is a lot like me, and he seems to get this about me–my need to be challenged so that I don’t become bored. And for a year or two, he’s been telling me, “You know, you’d love this Salesforce stuff!” So a few months ago I decided it was finally time to give it a shot. I started where he suggested, with Trailhead.

I was a little intimidated at first, as there were so many topics! I jumped right in with the “Learn CRM Essentials” trail. I’d never worked with Salesforce before, or anything else like it, so it seemed logical to start with the basics. Once I’d finished, I felt like I had a much better idea of what the platform was and why people use it–but more than that, I was a complete fan! As I worked through the trail, I was already imagining all the ways, if properly used, this system could simplify the job I was currently in. It was all very…well, cool.

Next, I went for the Admin trails. I went through the beginner and intermediate ones, and found the content fairly easy to learn. I enjoyed the modular setup–I could work on it for an hour at a time and then come back to it later. But then, when I’d finished, I wondered–was I ready for a certification exam? I had Googled lots of study materials, but there was just so much out there!

I have an M.A. in history, which I got in a traditional classroom setting, and there’s a big part of me that still loves learning things in class. I put a lot of trust in a teacher’s ability to give me the highlights. So before I decided to schedule my exam date, I was interested in finding out more about instructor-led training. I already knew about Salesforce University, but then I stumbled across Vetforce.

When you first land on the Vetforce page, it’s right there: “Get free Salesforce training. Become Salesforce Certified. Land your dream job.” This was perfect for me–I’m a veteran! I wanted to learn Salesforce! And I wanted to become certified, to boot. Because I’d already done most of the required admin modules, the Vetforce process was pretty straightforward. I signed up, verified my veteran status, and walked through the steps. They offered free Salesforce University classes, so I signed up for the Administration Essentials for New Admins online class starting the following week.

The class was exactly what I needed. I don’t always have the best imagination, so I appreciated the story-based learning. These were real-life scenarios designed to show me why I might need to do something, such as create an email template, assign a certain profile to a certain person, or create a custom field. Context, for me, has always been key to retaining information.

Things were going fine until it got to the end of the week. I panicked! Like the go-getter that I am, I’d scheduled my certification exam for the day after the class ended. “Do it while the information is fresh,” I told myself. But then the doubts crept in. Was I ready? I’d spent all that time on Trailhead (a month and a half)–doing those modules had been my primary hobby! And I’d spent a week in the Salesforce University class, where I’d had a great instructor, taken copious notes, and asked all the questions I could think of.

In the end, I just went for it. I arrived at my exam site slightly nauseous (test-taking has never been my favorite thing–that’s one of the reasons I majored in history. Lots of papers, but not too many tests). A friend dropped me off and said “If you pass, we’ll get ice cream to celebrate. And if you fail….well, we’ll still get ice cream.” This didn’t make me feel better–I’m lactose intolerant. But I sat down in front of those questions and realized that, for the most part, I knew this stuff! I’d just seen this! I’d just done this! There were a few I guessed on, but in the end I passed, the first time through.

Now my resume says I’m Salesforce Administrator Certified. I get a call at least once a week from recruiters who’ve found me online–there are plenty of Salesforce-based jobs that need to be filled. I’ve started another class, Administration Essentials for Experienced Admins, already (and I’m glad to say I have no trouble keeping up!). I’ve just had my first interview for an administrator job (fingers crossed!).

I’m really excited about where all this is taking me. Salesforce skills are essential to companies, and the field is constantly changing and growing. I’m now all grown up. And this is definitely what I want to be doing.

If you’ve been inspired by Stacie’s story, learn more about how you, too, can become a Salesforce Certified Professional. And if you’re a veteran, like Stacie, learn how VetForce can help you build Salesforce skills and certifications to bolster your resume or launch an entirely new civilian career.

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