Why did you become a Salesforce Admin?
I choose to become an Admin to better myself. I had a blue collar job operating a machine at a manufacturing plant and was looking for a better way to support my family. It was the middle of a recession, and the idea of going back to school seemed like a huge investment. My cousin, who, like me, was also home-schooled and didn’t go to college, was successfully supporting his growing family of six. I wanted to know how he was able to do it, so I asked him. He was a Salesforce developer. He said I didn’t need a degree or background in IT to become a Salesforce professional. And, then he mailed me his study guides. The study guides were just the beginning; I dug into all the resources I could find, especially the ButtonClick Admin podcast. My manufacturing job was long shifts of repetitive motion, so I couldn’t watch videos or read materials, but I snuck in headphones under my protective gear and listened to podcasts and recorded sessions on repeat hoping I could absorb the information.
The first time I took my Salesforce Admin certification exam, I failed. But I was determined to become a Salesforce Admin, so I took it again. The second time I passed. Good thing I did, because I then received notice that my factory was shutting down and my machine operator job was going to be eliminated. I needed a new career quickly, so it was time to get serious about Salesforce. After hearing about the Salesforce community over and over again from the podcast, I took the initiative to find my local user group. I was nervous going to a Salesforce user group meeting as a machine operator, but I was welcomed with open arms and, in fact, met my future boss. Thankfully she took a chance and hired me although I had no official Salesforce Admin experience. Now I’m the Salesforce lead for the company. I turned a blue collar job into a professional technical career by becoming a Salesforce Admin.
What’s your favorite part about being a Salesforce Admin?
The challenge. There is always a challenge. I enjoy trying to match business requirements with the tools in Salesforce. I like being the one who can connect the dots and make the business run better.
What’s the most important skill for a Salesforce Admin?
Admins must be adaptable and versatile. There are constantly new things to learn, new problems to solve, and new stakeholders to work with, so you have to be able to adjust quickly.
You also have to know the difference between hearing and listening. Hear what the requirements are through the words your users are saying. Listen for what they are saying and, perhaps more importantly, what they are not saying in order to choose the right way to solve the business need.
What’s your advice to other Salesforce Admins?
Pace yourself. Don’t get overwhelmed by Salesforce because there is so much to learn, you can get overwhelmed very quickly. Take it one day at a time and don’t be intimidated by all the resources. Focus on one thing – a Trailhead module, a specific feature, or recorded session – and then move to the next.
Go to your local User Group! Your user group is your home base as an Admin. I’ve made a lot of great personal and professional connections through my user group. User groups are where you can meet your own Admin heroes. Connecting online is great, but it means a lot more when you can have a physical conversation with another Salesforce Admin.
To hear more about Zac’s story, listen to “It’s Possible: The Story of Zac Otero” on the Salesforce Admins Podcast.