Hema Kumar had always dreamed about a career in the tech sector but family circumstances prevented her from fulfilling her dream. Nevertheless, she was persistent and, with the help of Salesforce Workforce Development Partner, FDM, learnt the skills she needed to become a successful Salesforce developer. Now she is working at the National Grid ESO. We invited Hema for an interview to share her story:
Hema, please briefly introduce yourself.
I am a Salesforce certified professional with four Salesforce certifications, 300 badges and 191,675 points on Trailhead. I’m currently working at the National Grid ESO as a Junior Salesforce Developer after completing my 12-week training with FDM.
How did you learn about Salesforce?
I did not originally have the guts to pursue a career in the IT sector so I was looking for teaching assistant jobs at a primary school while working full-time at ASDA as a home shopper. However, when we were all locked at home during COVID-19, I started to have a bit more free time and looked for something more productive to do. My brother-in-law, who is an Associate Director at Accenture, introduced me to Salesforce through Trailhead. Due to the interactive nature of Trailhead and lots of support from Trailblazer groups, I soon felt part of Salesforce Ohana.
Firstly, I was learning on my own on Trailhead. I managed to obtain the Administrator and App Builder certifications. Then I started to look for Salesforce administrator jobs. However, I came across the FDM Salesforce Developer course and decided to join.
How did you find the course in terms of time commitment, live lectures and independent study?
FDM provided a 12-week training program covering Salesforce Admin, Development and App Builder. The training program was extensive, including hands-on practices, projects and thorough evaluation. It was very helpful to close any gaps in my knowledge, though very tight on time! I didn’t have any prior extensive tech knowledge so it was exciting, challenging and very intense. Nevertheless, my perseverance and dedication helped me to complete the program.
How much time did you need to find a job and how did the job hunt go?
It took me a year to get my first job opportunity with the help of FDM. They have connections to Salesforce employers. Shortly after I completed their course, they set me up to have my very first interview with National Grid. Thanks to the FDM Team for supporting me and thanks to National Grid for giving me this opportunity and believing in me.
How well did the course meet your expectations in terms of salary, job opportunities and learning new skills?
It helped me fulfil my teenage dream. I’ve always wanted to be an Engineer. Unfortunately, due to family restrictions, I couldn’t pursue my engineering course even though I received an offer from a good engineering college. I had to do a science graduation from the local university. I am a woman from a small town in India and my father didn’t really want me to pursue a higher education away from my hometown. Despite a slow start, now I am one of the key members of the National Grid salesforce developer team.
What is your job like?
I am a Junior Salesforce Developer. My job revolves around supporting development, customization and configuration as a part of devOps delivery. The majority of my job includes the creation of objects, fields, validation rules, flows, Apex classes and triggers. I have recently also started working towards enhancing my LWC (Lighting Web Components) skills.
Do you need soft skills in your work?
Communication is the key up and down the hierarchy as well as with my peers to keep everyone updated around the status of individual projects, risks etc. Soft skills play a key role in ensuring the right collaboration within a team, special thanks to National Grid for guidance and mentoring in enhancing my skills.
What have you gained since participating in the training program?
With my confidence, necessary tech skills, and soft skills, I learned how to work efficiently in a team, how to ask questions when you are not sure and how to drive success under tight deadlines.
What do you like about Salesforce?
It gives a package deal to the aspirants who want to be successful in their careers. Trailhead is an all-in-one learning platform to gain new skills in the best possible way. Salesforce helps to provide mentors when required at critical junctures to help and guide you in the right direction. I also had a mentor. Trailblazer communities and events are excellent for exchanging useful information and timely help, whether it be for doing certifications or career advice. It is a complete package, from the start of my learning all the way to getting my first job, I did not have to look anywhere else for help or advice.
What type of people would you recommend Salesforce to?
Anyone who is dedicated, disciplined and can manage time judiciously and is full of zeal to learn. Salesforce provides complete help for both tech and non-tech people to achieve the career of their dreams. Salesforce has a variety of career entry-level options suitable for all people regardless of their background!
We invited Darren Holyoake, Head of Engineering at the National Grid to discuss the experience of having Hema in their team.
Why did you decide to hire Hema?
At the time we were looking at a different approach to recruitment and fulfilling Salesforce capability, we approached FDM and initiated an approach to meet our capability requirements. During the interview, Hema was clearly a self-driven, committed with a passion for Salesforce and to continuously strive for self-improvement that also enables her to give her all to her work commitments.
What has she brought to your company?
Hema has delivered on her potential at the interview, being a keen, enthusiastic hard-working member of the team. Continuing to grow her knowledge, understanding her own limitations, and taking opportunities to learn from other members of the team. This drive and passion for her work is contagious and has meant she has become a well-liked and valued member of her team, recognised for her enthusiasm and desire to improve.
Where do you see the benefits of companies hiring talents without a traditional tech background?
There are always benefits to having a diverse workforce capability in an organisation. How individuals achieve their knowledge, experience, training and competency comes from various routes to the workplace. No approach is better than the other it varies and depends on the individual, education, life/work experience, drive, passion, commitment and ability to learn new skills. A mixed route to competence in a chosen field provides a balanced and diverse team, different experiences and approaches to achieving outcomes. A willing and motivated individual will always add value.
If you would like to embark on your journey and are interested in a career at Salesforce, we recommend visiting our workforce development partner directory to find a course which is the most suitable to your demands. You could also visit the Talent Alliance website to find additional resources for job seekers. If you would like to submit a success story of your own, use this form. And we have our LinkedIn group where we share success stories, events and motivation.