David’s note: Jeanette, you are someone who doesn’t let their background define their future. You have broken past so many barriers and you are trailblazing the path for other women to do so as well! Respect!
I don’t have a college degree. I never really knew what I wanted to do, and didn’t want rack up a ton of debt just to be able to say I had a degree. So I’ve been working full time since I graduated high school.
I started at my previous company 15 years ago working in customer service, which was an entry level position. Over the years, I worked my way through different positions before finally moving into a Business Analyst role in IT. I’d always liked my jobs, but looking back, I was never truly passionate about them.
Then my company decided to implement Salesforce. Everything changed. I was one of a few people on the initial team that was formed to start the implementation and as I started to learn about what Salesforce was and what it could do, I became voracious about learning more and more.
I got my Administrator certification in 2016 and then attended Destination Success in 2017 where I earned 5 more certifications during the week. Despite that, or maybe because of that (I attended your breakout session there), I still wanted to learn more.
I decided I wanted to learn how to code. Having no real technical background, and certainly no coding or software development background, the idea terrified me. After hearing your story at Destination Success and reading some articles on your website, I knew I had to try. It was just a matter of how to get started. I was fortunate that at that time, I was working with an amazing consultant (Zayne Turner, who is now Principal Architect Evangelist at Salesforce) who told me about the RAD Women Coding School and encouraged me to look into the program.
So in the Fall of 2017, I applied to be in the next cohort of RAD Women and was lucky enough to get in! Between that program and your website, I finally felt like I could start to understand code and maybe even write some of my own. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use many of my newfound skills in my current role and found it hard to continue growing and going down the career path I wanted.
Last Summer I ended up leaving that company after more than 14 years and took a position where I felt like I could spread my wings a little more, continue learning, and get to apply my new knowledge in my daily role. Leaving a company I had been with for that long was difficult to do (it’s the comfort factor), but seeing and hearing other people’s stories and advice about maximizing your potential and knowing your worth I knew it was the right thing to do.
Since leaving I have taken part in the pilot for RAD Women Part II, and am very proud to say that I achieved my Platform Developer 1 certification! I’m now 11x certified, have my Application Architect certification, and am now moving up the System Architect side of the pyramid.
If you were to tell “high school graduate me” that I would achieve the career success that I have today, especially without a college degree, I don’t think she would have believed you. I’m thrilled to say that I get to live the reality of that success every day, and I hope others reading this will be inspired to blaze their own career trail as well!
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