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The Power of Learning: Teresa’s Salesforce Journey as a Non-IT Professional

The Power of Learning: Teresa's Salesforce Journey as a Non-IT Professional

Get inspired by how Teresa kicked off her tech career supported by one of our Workforce Development Partners Saranen.

Teresa is a highly motivated Trailblazer who started her career in the Salesforce Ecosystem without any previous knowledge of the IT industry. Get inspired by how she kicked off her tech career supported by one of our Workforce Development Partners Saranen.

Teresa, could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Teresa, I’m Indonesian living in Finland and I am currently a Salesforce administrator at Kemira. I have a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Business, and I had no experience in IT before I joined the Salesforce Ecosystem. I found my job at Kemira through the Saranen Recruitment Training program. The program combines Salesforce training led by professionals and a 6-month apprenticeship at a company to gain practical experience.

How did you learn about Salesforce?
One day, I came across a Saranen Salesforce program. I heard about Salesforce a few years ago, when one of my professors mentioned this company as one of large IT companies during a lecture. However, it had not caught my attention yet. 

After I finished my studies, the job hunt was very difficult. I studied business, however, due to family circumstances I went back to my home country. Then, I returned to Finland just before COVID-19 started. It was a very challenging time to find a job. During that time, I was thinking about changing my career direction a bit more to the IT industry, as the sector was experiencing high growth. I started watching videos for beginners about creating very simple web pages and took an online course while searching for jobs. I felt lost as most jobs would require some experience or relevant degree even for an entry-level position. I was also still trying to apply for open positions related to my education but with no luck. 

I started researching some information on the internet and created my Trailhead account for the first time just out of curiosity. I tried several basic modules and I wanted to do more and more modules. It was a very fun experience and every time I completed a module, I had the feeling that I had accomplished something. Afterwards, I found the courage to apply for the Saranen training program. I passed the first screening interview, got invited to an interview at my partner company and a few days later, I received a call saying that I got accepted to the program. This is how my Salesforce journey began! 

How did you find the course?
During my internship period, there were days when Saranen organized online classes with Salesforce professionals to teach and train us. It was during the pandemic, therefore, we had no in-person classes. We were able to ask questions in case we were facing any challenges. In parallel, my supervisor at work also created a list of Trailhead modules which helped me to acquire the knowledge required within the company. Therefore, I could focus on what I need to learn to hit the ground running.

After work, I studied extra Trailhead modules. I even installed the Trailhead GO app on my mobile phone, so I could still read some material even when lying down on my sofa. My other additional resources were Focus on Force and Salesforce Ben. And of course, the Salesforce help page. I used additional resources because I felt I needed to grasp the foundation quickly. Usually, the most important topics would come up repetitively from different sources. This helped me to get the bigger picture of what concept would be the most important. Also, Salesforce has many clouds, and it was good to focus on the one that my partner company was using. 

How well did the course meet your expectations in terms of salary and job opportunities and learning new skills?
I would say it was one of the best decisions I have made. The Salesforce Saranen program was high quality and our lecturers were wonderful. My company was supporting me by letting me make mistakes. When I experienced ‘oops’ moments, everyone was ready to help me. Moreover, I always learn new skills, both technical and soft skills.

Salesforce is like my superpower. It multiplies my ability to do things.


How much time did you need to find a job and how did the job hunt go?
Receiving email rejection was hard, but waiting was also exhausting. Waiting for an email or phone call that would invite me to an interview, waiting for the interview’s result, and waiting if I made it. Even one day felt like forever. During this time I tried to keep having a fixed schedule (such as waking up at the same time every day), walking outside daily, and participating in local events. This might be a simple routine, but it helped me to stay positive. I am glad that thanks to the Saranen recruitment program, I was able to find a full-time position in the Salesforce Ecosystem.

What is your job like?

My tasks as a Salesforce Administrator revolve around supporting end users, creating reports/dashboards, testing, maintaining data, and configuring. I have the opportunity to be in touch with end users globally, learn how the IT team functions, and how applications work in an international environment. There were some ‘ooops’ moments (such as accidentally deleting something I should have not…), but I believe experience is the best teacher. I also feel happy when I can help our users to use Salesforce with more ease.

We can proudly say that Kemira has a resource where we can believe that no matter what the problem we have in the salesforce area, it will be solved when Teresa is handling it.


Do you need soft skills in your work?
Yes! Soft skills are very important in working with my team and our end users. I do not have any technical background and now I am surrounded by people with very strong technical skills. In this case, asking for help is one example of soft skills; How to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds to solve a problem as a team.

Active listening is important to understand issues encountered by our users, not only to understand the issue but also to solve it. For example, helping our users to create a report according to their needs that they can use to support their daily tasks.  

What have you gained since participating in the training program?
It would not be an exaggeration if I say that this experience has changed my life for the better. Living in a foreign country is not easy. However, thanks to this training program and job, I am surrounded by wonderful people. I gained more confidence, knowledge, experience, and the most important thing: something to strive for.

We also asked Kamal and Mika, both working in Sales and Marketing IT at Kemira, where they see the benefits of companies hiring talents without the traditional tech background:

As such it does not matter if a person has any technical background in general when it comes to the Salesforce platform. If someone has a technical background it is always good, however, that does not mean a person without it cannot learn technical things. We hired Teresa on the knowledge she gained from her training at Saranen which was enough for the work that we needed her to do at Kemira. After that, she built additional knowledge with the help of certifications and now she is solving problems that are very technical. So this demonstrates that if a person has the will and zeal to learn something new their background does not matter.

Kamal Kishore Singh
Manager of Sales and Marketing IT at Kemira

I believe the main benefit is to bring new perspectives and ideas to the team. In general, Kemira has a high emphasis on diversity, equality and inclusion, which is not only an important value in itself, but also makes us a better company. Having talent with different backgrounds, experiences and education provides us with insights outside of our group thinking. Especially when we need to work with stakeholders and other partners and understand their point of views. I think that is extremely valuable. Conflicts are of course a part of having team members with diverse backgrounds, experiences and opinions, but that makes us look in the mirror, keep our own biases in check and eventually grow – as a company and personally.

Mika Kortelainen
Senior Manager in Sales and Marketing IT at Kemira

Have we aroused your interest? Learn more about the Salesforce Talent Ecosystem or join our LinkedIn group to receive updates.

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