David’s note: 50 years old, learning to code, switching to a completely different profession, then rejected for your dream position… and yet you still found success because you chose not to give up! You must have been a hell of a salesperson! Legendary!!
It seems a long time ago, but it was just last year’s August, when I was working as a salesperson (official title: Account Manager) for 14 years in the same company in Athens, Greece. Important notice: I had just started the sixth decade of my life (50 years old!)
I’ve got a Physics degree and I’ve always been interested in software development since my first university year (does anyone remember Pascal programming language?), but unfortunately several circumstances in my life directed my professional steps to Sales (B2C at first, and B2B later).
In 2014, the company I was working became the first Salesforce partner in Greece. I had already created a sales tool (a primitive CRM) in Access forms, so I was keen to see what a “real” first-class CRM looked like – and I loved it! I started working on Salesforce Developer editions in my free time or during my (very long indeed) transportations to/from work. I was studying very hard and stubbornly at weekends, at night, during holidays.
In November 2015, I thought I should start my certifications journey (or Odyssey – if you like). I passed Administrator and App Builder until the end of the year. In February 2016, my company was looking for a Salesforce Developer/Consultant and I thought it would be a good idea to try getting this job, so I sent my CV. After all, Salesforce was my hobby! I forgot to mention that in August 2015 I started developing an app (it’s called GRpack), which I published in March 2016 as a managed package. I thought that my two certifications, and the App I had developed (with triggers, many classes, Visualforce pages and thousands of code lines) would be indication of how much “devoted” I was to Salesforce. Unfortunately, I was rejected and I didn’t even receive a reply to my application. Very disappointing, but life goes on…
So, I continued passing certifications (Sales Cloud Consultant and Advanced Administrator in April/May 2016), I completed all Superbadges in the summer, and started studying for my next big goal, the Platform Developer I certification. Then, at the end of August (don’t forget that we are still in 2016) something happened. I received a LinkedIn message, asking if I was interested in a Developer position for a big company, somewhere in Ireland. I’d never thought about working abroad, but suddenly this idea was so obvious to me. So, I started sending my CV for Salesforce Developer vacancies in UK and Ireland (had to be European countries, speaking English). I talked to many recruiters and I realized that the luck of working experience as a Developer was one of my big obstacles, but I decided to go on searching.
At the middle of October 2016, I was talking to a recruiter who proposed a Developer position and imagine my surprise when I found that it was the same position I mentioned before (that one I had received the LinkedIn message in August). The two interviews went very well and finally I got the position of my dreams. So, me and my wife relocated to Ireland last January and I started working in the development center of one of the biggest multinational medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods manufacturing company.
I know all these details may look a little boring but the reason I write all these is not about me, it’s about all those whose Salesforce is a passion and especially for those who want to have a professional life with Salesforce. My message to all those people (to all those passionate people who want a Salesforce career) is very simple: believe your passion!
Study hard, get many certifications, get superbadges, learn using Trailhead, attend every event you can, join your local Developer and User Group, help others, even try to create an App (there is always an unexplored area) and NEVER believe the others when they say that you can’t. You can do anything if you are passionate enough! It’s not easy, it needs to invest many hours of your life, but eventually it has to do with how much you believe your passion: if a 50-year-old salesperson can become a Salesforce Developer with 6 certifications and write a Data Factory framework, then obviously you can, too!
Closing this email, I admit that during difficulties I was thinking of your journey as a Salesforce professional. Thank you, David, for being an inspiration to all of us.
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