David’s note: I get the feeling you have no idea how special and impressive of a person you are, A. Humble too =) To everyone reading – you can follow in A’s footsteps by 1) never giving up, even through constant failure and 2) getting certified! CONGRATS!
I don’t know if you remember me…
About a year and a half ago I was reading your site and saw you had some scholarships to offer for the Apex Academy. I had wrote and asked if we could make a trade and offered to help any of your readers who needed it to spruce up their resume in exchange for a scholarship.
At the time I was brand new to Salesforce development. So brand new that my first attempt at creating a custom controller for a Visualforce page resulted in me being somewhat embarrassed on Stack Overflow. My code would work on single records, but fail when attempting to allow multiple records to be edited and saved at once. So I posted it on Stack Overflow looking for some help. The first comment I received was a scathing criticism:
“I don’t even know how this can run at all. It’s so poorly written, you have multiple constructors, you’re not following best practices, and I don’t even know where to start to help you with this.”
I’ve learned a little bit since then, to say the least. Including the fact that there was nothing wrong with my overloaded constructors, but that’s neither here nor there really. After I finished the Apex Academy, I decided it was time to start seeking out the credentials I needed to go somewhere with the skills I was learning. First was the Admin (201). Passed it in one shot, although I was a bit surprised. A few weeks later I decided I was ready to take the Platform Dev 1. Failed. Womp womp. So I studied for a few more weeks and went back for more. I failed again. That hurt and was quite discouraging, but nevertheless I kept at it.
About this time I also started to receive some interest on the job market from people who saw my Admin cert on LinkedIn. I didn’t exactly think I was ready to make that leap, but if nothing else I figured interviews would teach me some things about what I didn’t know and give me a good indicator of where I stood.
My first interview came. It was slated to be 1 hour. Ten to fifteen minutes talking about the company, the managers background and my background. Thirty minutes or so of technical questions. Twenty minutes or so of questions regarding my personality and experience. Not too bad I thought. We got to the technical questions, and things went south in a hurry. After what seemed like an eternity, but was really less than 10 minutes, the gentleman tells me, “This is a waste of time. I don’t think there’s anything you can say at this point that would convince us to pass you to the next phase!!” It was one of the most humiliating moments of my life, and that’s no small feat as I was a pretty dorky teenager.
It took me probably about a month to get over that and get back to work, but when I did I was more determined than ever. I kept taking interviews, growing my skill set, and using everything I could as an opportunity to learn.
Over the past year I’ve interviewed for no less than a dozen and a half companies for roles ranging from Salesforce Admin to Consultant to Developer to Business Analyst. None of them were going my way. Some were better than others but the best result I could get was, “We really like you, but we feel we need somebody with more experience”. Thankfully none ever came close to flopping as bad as that first one.
During that time however, I started working on a freelance basis. My first job was $10/hr to write a couple simple triggers. It hurt my pride to realize I was making less doing that than I made working fast food in high school, but I at least had my full time job putting food on the table. After each contract though I would raise my rate a little bit figuring I had the reference and some experience to justify it. I was finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
This past May I finally had the confidence I needed to go back and take the Platform Dev 1 again. And to my utter surprise, it was… dare I say… easy. I was finished with the test in under 10 minutes. I read over all my answers 3-4 times and couldn’t find any I was comfortable changing, so I submitted my results and after the longest loading screen of my life was told I had passed and now that Salesforce shares the percentage, I knew I had not only passed it but done extremely well. And that’s when everything changed…
Once I posted that certification to LinkedIn and added it to my resume I have felt like America’s most wanted. My phone and my inbox have been blowing up for weeks with people wanting to interview me. Where as before I’d have to apply to 12-15 jobs to get an interview or two, there have been so many coming my way that I’ve had to turn them down because I don’t have the time available to take them all. They haven’t all gone well, but it doesn’t matter because earlier this week I was offered multiple jobs. I haven’t decided which I’m going to take yet, but whatever decision I make I’m going to see a massive pay increase and have the opportunity to work remotely.
My life will be forever changed because of this journey. I’m going to have more time for my kids, more money to do stuff with them, a job that challenges me mentally, that let’s me flex my creativity and satisfies my logical, problem solving side. So thank you David, for your generosity in allowing me the scholarship that helped me overcome the struggle of learning something new. Before your course a lot of the things I would read and watch seemed to be speaking martian, but afterward, even though it still seemed foreign at times, I had the tools necessary to decipher it and figure out what I was looking at and hearing.
Your work in this community is incredible and I will never forget what you’ve done for me, personally. Without your help and you sharing the stories of other people who have struggled on their way as well, I’m not sure I could’ve overcome everything I did to get here. If there’s ever anything I can do to help you or your followers, I would be more than honored to lend my time.
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Great story! may I know which place you found the freelance job? I need some incomes so I can get rid of my current labour job. thanks!
LOVED READING THIS!!!! I even shared it with my daughter, who is about to graduate HS and head off to…life. Thank you!
Aawwww all the best to your daughter! Great industry for her to consider =)
What an awesome story! Thanks for sharing.
Good luck with the new job, A!
As for the nasty post on Stack Exchange…some people seem to forget that they were once newbies and couldn’t code their way out of a paper bag.
So inspiring! Thanks for posting. We always need a reminder to keep on trying.
Is it a course advert?
GREAT Story “A”! An inspiration again to us all. What was your field of work before?
Thanks keep it up!!!
Congratulations, A. That’s outstanding. Welcome to the show! I’ve been a software development veteran for 22 years, and your story really inspired me. Thank you for sharing. Hope I get to meet you some day.
Keep at it A, Congratz on your available options and a huge thanks for David being a inspiration for all.