1Real-Life Examples of How Salesforce Trailhead Is Transforming Careers
Salesforce.com is about to close Year 2 of its Trailhead program, a digital skills initiative designed to bring greater online access to Salesforce training and certification. The courses are free, and every time a participant completes a segment of training, he or she is awarded an online badge, certification that is added to their LinkedIn profile. While best known for Salesforce’s core customer relationship management (CRM) application, Trailhead covers other of the company’s products, such as digital marketing and building apps. In this eWEEK slide show, we offer some real-life examples of how this popular program is working.
With Salesforce Trailhead, Damian O’Farrill transformed his career from running a business as a salsa dance instructor to a certified Salesforce administrator. While teaching salsa lessons in Mexico City, Damian needed a better way to keep track of his students’ progress and billing. Using Salesforce’s low-code platform, O’Farrill built his own application to monitor his students’ progression and payment schedules. Using Trailhead, he was able to gain the necessary skills to launch his career in tech. Today, he is the Salesforce Global Sales Operations and Marketing Automation Lead at Autodesk.
Cheryl Feldman had been working as a hairdresser for years when she tore her rotator cuff and had to make a career change to a less physically strenuous position as a secretary. Through the Salesforce Community, Feldman was able to transform her career and skill up on Salesforce. Today, she is an assistant vice president at one of the world’s largest global asset management firms, helping customers scale and utilize Salesforce software. She is considered a Salesforce expert who has built her career and passion on the foundational skills learned through Trailhead.
Zac Otero was working at a meat processing plant when the factory shut down. Luckily, he had a cousin who was working as a Salesforce developer and introduced him to the possibility of a major career change. By listening to Salesforce Success Community podcasts and reading ebooks, Otero was able to learn the skills needed to land his first full-time Salesforce administrator position. Today, he works as the Salesforce lead at BKD, a U.S. CPA and advisory firm, and continues to develop his skill set with Trailhead.
Mark Tossell started his career as an engineer but made a career shift to become a Baptist pastor. After resigning from his church due to personal and health reasons, Tossell was given the opportunity to help a friend’s business implement Salesforce. With no prior CRM experience, he began to watch dozens of Salesforce demos and Dreamforce session videos before he stumbled across Trailhead. Trailhead gave him the structured, guided content he needed to learn the skills for the job and provided a path for a new career as well as a new way of supporting his family. Tossell now works as a digital business analyst.
Looking for a way to get a job in technology, Umair Ilyas discovered Trailhead. Without having to quit his day job at a nonprofit, Ilyas was able to skill up and land a job as a Salesforce administrator. Today he works as a consultant helping various companies get started with Salesforce. He also takes time outside of his day job to help others learn the skills needed to find their dream tech jobs as a co-leader of the Salesforce New York User Group. Ilyas frequently speaks about Salesforce at local organizations, such as NPower, to help people from underserved communities learn new skills.
In 2006, John Schaff was involved in a life-altering motorcycle accident that put him on disability for seven years. After years of recovery, he was turned down by prospective employers, who said that his tech skills were out of date. To build the fundamental skills needed to get back into the workforce, Schaff began attending a local vocational school, where he heard about a Salesforce admin training program offered through Trailhead. After he trained for just a few months, Trailhead provided him with a pathway to a tech job. He now is a Salesforce administrator for one of the largest commercial banks in the country.
Krystal Carter was a political science major in college with the goal of attending law school. After graduating college, she landed a job as an administrator for a medical waste company, where she was first introduced to Salesforce. Discovering Trailhead and learning how to use Salesforce inside and out, she pivoted away from law school, diving headfirst into a career in technology. Today, Carter owns her own cloud consulting company, Danny Kay Cloud, and uses Trailhead to ensure her skills are fresh, up-to-date and meeting the demands of the fast-moving tech industry.
Shonnah Hughes’ career transformation began 10 years ago when she was working as a technical trainer and needed to train her entire company on how to use Salesforce. After discovering Salesforce’s potential to advance her own career, she started using Trailhead to up-level her role and learn new skills without going to school. Today, Hughes is the CRM technical lead at one of the largest museums in the country. She also has a passion for raising the exposure of young women of color to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professions and hosts a Trailhead Ranger Boot Camp in Minneapolis every other month, where the group focuses on completing modules, and earning points and badges.