Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re speaking with Michael Drzewiecki, a Salesforce Admin who, as a career changer, has worked hard to advance his knowledge of Salesforce as a platform. Michael has an astounding 14 certifications since Dreamforce 2016, and as of this recording has 92 Trailhead badges.

Join us to hear about how Michael got started with Salesforce, navigated a career change, and what he thinks it takes to build sustained and lasting success.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Michael Drzewiecki.

From Auto Mechanic to Admin

When Michael was growing up, he dreamed of being an auto mechanic. He did it for a year, and even though he’s still into cars, he realized it wasn’t for him. After a stint in retail, Michael began the journey that would put him on the path to becoming a Salesforce Admin in 2015 by breaking into the IT world five years earlier.

As of this show, Michael has 14 Salesforce certifications. The astounding thing is that he started his first certification at Dreamforce 2016, this past October. His first introduction to Salesforce came at Dreamforce 2015: “I went there as a total newbie. I knew nothing about Salesforce other than that my boss said, ‘Go check out this Salesforce thing.’”

Michael took his first Admin certification the day before Dreamforce 2016, but didn’t pass the first time he tried. “I refuse to call it a failure, anytime you sit for an exam that’s success in itself.” When he compared the section-level feedback with his own results, he was able to figure out what he needed to study. At 8 am the next morning, he was back in the exam room and passed.

The Power of Determination

As someone with a lot of certifications, Michael has some great advice about thinking through problems on the platform. When he gets an unusual or difficult requirement or feature, he has developed his own unique approach.

“You have to think like Salesforce,” Michael says. Because he didn’t come from a programming background, he doesn’t try to solve things from Apex first. Instead, Michael tries to solve problems declaratively first and, from there, he moves on to the Success Community and Answers. As Michael puts it, “There’s no secret sauce here, just determination.”

Building a Learning Journey in Trailhead

With 92 Trailhead Badges (and probably more since this podcast was recorded), Michael has forged his own path through Trailhead. His approach was incredibly practical: he’d study for a certification, take the exam, and if he didn’t succeed he would learn what he needed to work on from the feedback provided. Instead of focusing on badges, he would learn everything he could find that was related to those keywords.

This approach took him to all sorts of places, but after Destination Success, he noticed, “I have 48 badges in progress, maybe I should clean this up a bit.” He’s working towards becoming a Ranger, but his practical approach is what has taken him so far so quickly.

How You Can Start Adding Certifications

Michael’s advice for people who want to achieve what he’s achieved is pretty simple: “When it comes to certifications, just do it.” He talks to a lot of people who wait and wait to take the Admin certification, “All you’re doing is building a bunch of negative energy up inside yourself about that exam.”

The entire reason that Michael has been able to make incredible progress in such a short time is that he’s not afraid of failure. He views it as an opportunity to learn, and that’s what has helped him to gain so many certifications so quickly.

For more insights, make sure to follow Michael on Twitter (@drzewiecki).

We want to get your suggestions for guests on the podcast, and we need your help! So tweet your guest suggestions, support, etc. to @SalesforceAdmns to help us get more Awesome Admins on the podcast.

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