I’ll start off by introducing myself — I’m Oli, and I’m a Salesforce Developer at oe:gen. I started at oe:gen just over six months ago, after working as an Apple Certified Mac Technician where we used Salesforce Service Cloud for service management.
I didn’t go to sixth form or college; I did an apprenticeship at the company I worked at just before oe:gen. I didn’t go to university either, partially because I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I didn’t want to rush myself into spending three years learning about something which, in a couple of years, I might have no interest in. Why do that when I could be earning and learning at the same time, without all the debt?
A few months after starting my previous role, I began to get interested in Salesforce as I was using it on a day-to-day basis. I saw the potential for what we could do with it — what could make my job, as well as my colleague’s jobs, much easier, and that really appealed to me.
That’s when I found out about Trailhead — the awesome, fun, and free way to learn Salesforce. Most high-end systems don’t provide you with a free, fun learning platform like Trailhead. In fact, I don’t know of any other systems that do, and this really shows to me that Salesforce genuinely want people to learn about their platform.
After spending a short while on Trailhead mainly completing admin/config modules, I really started to see the potential for what we could be doing with Salesforce, and I wanted to make a change. I spoke to the head of information services at my previous company, and after a few meetings, we agreed for me to make small changes for my department (tech services). This was really the beginning of me becoming a Developer — although at this point, the thought of code scared me quite a bit and was something I didn’t really want to dabble with.
I got a good feeling whenever I deployed something that worked and benefited the department — that made Salesforce better for us, effectively. It made me want to do more, and is when I realised what I wanted to do. This is when I realised that I wanted to work with Salesforce full-time.
I started working at oe:gen in September of last year, with no experience in development at all, whether it be APEX or Lightning — nothing at all. I spent a lot of time in my first couple of weeks at oe:gen on Trailhead, and when I wasn’t doing admin modules, I started to ‘play’ with code. I really wanted to try and push myself to go further at the very start of my career in Salesforce.
After a few weeks of learning about APEX, I really started to get the hang of writing basic APEX triggers and classes, as well as Visualforce pages based on controllers I’d created. At this point, I realised that I wanted to be a Developer. This was the route I wanted to go down — and here I am now!
Now, I work with the rest of the development/config team on a variety of client-facing and internal Salesforce projects. My very first set of Lightning Components (something I initially thought I’d never get the hang of) formed a large part of our new Timesheet system (check out Ryan’s blog on this here).
I’ve learnt a massive amount since starting at oe:gen thanks to Trailhead, and the team of amazing people that I get to work with on a daily basis. I honestly never thought when I started working with Salesforce at my previous company that I’d be where I am today, that I’d be able to call myself a developer, but here I am – and anyone can do it!
I guess the main thing I want people to get out of this post is that you don’t need an amazing set of qualifications to be a Developer. You just need to be determined to want it. If you’re interested on learning on the job, why not apply to the oe:gen academy? Through oe:gen, you can learn while you earn alongside some really talented folks.