Learning Salesforce with a Community

Learning Salesforce in 2016 at Cloud Co-Op.

A Year of Working at Cloud Co-Op and Learning Salesforce

First off, I joined the Circus with Cloud Co-Op nonprofit client Circus Now. Very cool!

Along the learning-way, Google became one of my dearest friends. I learned from my expert friends that if I don’t know how to do something in Salesforce, my friend Google would send me help, videos, and examples if I was stuck on a business process, formula field, or report requirement. So, wherever I am, I’m never without help — good to know.

AttendingDreamforce, I was, as usual, gobsmacked by the scope and variety of all that is offered there. We could spend the week seeking out and acting upon a wish to be more giving and charitable. I didn’t do that, but I could have! Then, I could have spent the week in the giant adult playpens that Salesforce creates at Dreamforce—from hands-on, to sitting at the feet of a Salesforce guru. I could blaze a trail, earn a badge, rub elbows with people who see coding as clearly as a musician sees musical notes. I might have chosen to study at Salesforce University and gotten more certifications at a bargain price. But what I did do was sessions–lots of sessions learning from the larger community of awesomeness.

Though the bargain aspect pleased me, I didn’t get a certification at Dreamforce. I elected to study on my own, actually with the Salesforce Certification Study Group. And get a certification so I could add my own cert to the heap of certifications at Cloud Co-Op. My Co-Op family supported me and was proud of my accomplishment.

Google and I worked together much of the year as I worked with Cloud Co-Op clients–Circus friends and my newest friends at Austin-based Shelfbucks. Serving as their on-call admin through Cloud Co-Op’s Concierge Cloud, and with Google, I helped them through a few pinches and user requests.

Beyond Study, Dreamforce and Google

However, my learning escalated when Salesforce-adept Andy Davidson came on-board. After first taking on his share of the growing Co-Op business, he focused particularly on making sure that junior admins had more than Google and Salesforce Help to get their work done. Luckily I was assigned to his tutelage and with Andy, I found myself in the heart of flows, changing pick-lists, default values, and creating choices. Mr. Google would never have thought to just throw me in the middle of a flow, making edits, to show me how flows flow. Andy threw me into projects, not because I could do them, but because he supposed I would learn from the challenges. I did. And learning Salesforce happened.

Now, so you know, we didn’t do all this in a company’s production org. No, it was drilled into me to work in the sandbox…did you do it in the sandbox…you did that in the sandbox…didn’t you?  And did you test it? To see if it works, and try to make it not work? Did you test, test, test? In this way, we learn good practices from a skilled business person and Salesforce gurus.

A True Community of Learners, Teachers, and Sharers

I co-lead the Austin Nonprofit User Group, and call on my Cloud Co-Op-smart friends to teach at our user group meetings often. We have a Salesforce Saturday group here–the original one started by Stephanie Herrera.  My Cloud Co-Op friends mingle with my user group friends and we all learn from each other.

One of Cloud Co-Op’s missions, through Vets2Cloud, is to mentor military veterans returning to civilian life.  We do this with Salesforce training and hands-on work to make them ready for gainful employment in technology. To this end, Cloud Co-Op has a weekly Warrior Coaching hour. Guru after guru teaches us about business management, Process Builder, formulas, Salesforce best practices and whatever we ask from the Warrior Coaches. Btw, I’m not a veteran—just a Co-Op team member, but most of our members are veterans.

Taking stock of my year–all good!

At the start of the year, I must have been a 2 on a scale of 1 to 20 of all that you could know using and learning Salesforce. While studying for certifications has grown my knowledge. My Advanced Admin certification, señor Google, Certified on Demand, Dreamforce, all have added to my store of abilities. But, with the hands-on work that I have gotten at Cloud Co-Op, hopping on go-to-meeting or hangouts with my co-workers to figure out real problems, Andy’s challenges—I’ve moved well up on that scale. Rest assured though; if I’m working on a pain-point or need in your Salesforce org, I have a whole team behind me to step in and help get it done—Thank you Andy, David, Eric, John, Ajay and all the guest warrior coaches. It’s a team and we’re sharing the learning.

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Blog By: Patricia Boyce
Cloud Co-Op Consultant. Three Certifications, Austin, Texas.