London Special: #LadiesBeArchitects with Gemma Emmett

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London Special: #LadiesBeArchitects with Gemma Emmett

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re coming to you live, again, from the Salesforce London World Tour. This time, we’ve got Gemma Emmett, a Solution Architect at Bluewolf and Golden Hoodie winner.

More about this London Special episode: what an Architect focuses on and the path to becoming one, how you can adopt a future-oriented mindset, and the birth of #LadiesBeArchitects.

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

The perfect mix of IT and business.

“If you’d asked me when I was about five, I would’ve said that I was going to be an author and that I was going to write stories. I was always writing stories, and I was always bringing them home for my mom and dad to read,” Gemma says, “but if you’d asked me when I was about 16 I would’ve said I was going to be a translator,” but by the time she turned 18 she knew she was going to be in IT.

However, Gemma didn’t want to go down the purely coding or purely technical route, so when the time came she decided to study a mixture of business and IT. That choice ended up working out, and today she’s a Delivery Lead at Bluewolf, which means that when they implement Salesforce for customers she fills the role of the Architect, making sure that everything that they build meets the customer’s requirements while fully understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the solution they’ve chosen to implement.

Everything you need to know about Salesforce Architects.

There are two main types of Architects: Solution Architects and Technical Architects. “The Solution Architects are primarily responsible for the making sure the solution that you build meets the business requirements,” Gemma says, “while a Technical Architect is primarily concerned with how different systems talk to each other, making sure that they’re talking to each other at the right time, that they’re sending the right data, that we’re creating rather than updating, and that we’ve appropriately secured that conversation between the two systems.”

Solution Architects and Technical Architects work closely together, “and our job is basically to argue with each other,” Gemma says. There’s also a coaching component as well, “When we’ve got consultants from an Administration or Development background, part of our role is to help them take on a more holistic view of the system that the customer is implementing.” They’re thinking about the system from a broader perspective, while also trying to keep an eye on how it’ll work in the future, “especially if a customer changes their mind a lot.”

The beginning of the #LadiesBeArchitects movement.

“I started off as an Admin,” Gemma says, but got more and more interested in the broader systems involved that led her towards becoming an Architect. This interest in the broader context of things also was the genesis of the movement she started, #LadiesBeArchitects.

“I started #LadiesBeArchitects after I started working towards the designer certifications,” Gemma says, “and I learned so much that I wanted to keep going.” As she moved her way through the exams, she started blogging to chronicle her experience and help others, “I found other people’s blogs quite helpful, but there weren’t enough resources online to help me get over the hump.” She was using a wide variety of resources spread out all over the internet, and so she decided to consolidate her study notes into something other people could use.

Getting more people Certified.

“#LadiesBeArchitects was born out of a desire to have other people to study with,” Gemma says. While the Architect Trailblazer Success Community was useful, she was interested in bringing people together to have conversations and study together. “I learn better from actually listening to somebody,” she says, and the interactivity is key for her to be able to process what she’s learning. The community quadrupled in only three months, partially because Gemma started working closely with the head of the Architect program at Salesforce about how to diversify who gets certified and help make that happen.

“A majority of certified Technical Architects are men, and when we looked at rough figures it looked like there were about one in 25 female CTAs in the world,” Gemma says, “which is testament to how difficult this qualification is, but also it’s probably testament to how good we women are at beating ourselves up and telling ourselves we can’t do things.”

Resources

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