Apprentice to Salesforce Awesome Admin. 

Brandon Harris is one of our team at Zumzum who has been through an amazing journey of learning and on an upward trajectory as a Salesforce Certified Administrator.  After joining Zumzum, Brandon has been learning and skilling up on cloud tech skills, building his career and opening up new possibilities for future progressing and development.

We asked Brandon to tell us a little about his journey and here is what he has to share with you.

Tell us a little about yourself Brandon.

I was born in Manchester but spent much of my childhood and time at school travelling around the UK as a member of a military family. From a young age I had an interest in video games and computers and this slowly developed into a general knowledge and passion for technology. My hobby drove me to learn more and more about the possibilities of technology. I focused heavily on computer skills when making my subject choices at school which allowed me to build on my basic understanding of computers.

My learning experience at school was a mixed bag, although not struggling to understand the concepts we learnt I struggled with book learning and therefore struggled more with the information retention side. I would say I underachieved in my grades and with more application I believe I could have achieved far better but this began my realization that I could achieve with a different form of learning. 

Why did you decide to follow the journey of an Apprentice ?

After finishing secondary school and moving back to Manchester I was aware of the opportunities opened to me by moving back to a large and growing city. I spent a small amount of time at college attempting to study IT further, with a plan to go to university. During my time at college I was sent on work experience to a local computer shop and after two days of work I was offered a weekend job. During my time at this job I felt I learnt far more applicable knowledge and at the same time began to become more uninterested in college and eventually dropped out. This left me in a limbo over where to go and when looking at potential routes in tech industries I noticed that either experience or degrees were needed and this led me to apprenticeships that would allow me to work towards both. 

How did you begin your Salesforce Certified Admin journey ?

When going for my interview at Zumzum I didn’t know what to expect, this was my first formal interview but I was honest and open about my experience and reasoning for wanting to change to an apprenticeship and was accepted at Zumzum which I believed offered plenty of opportunities to learn and expand my knowledge. 

I had a fairly good basic understanding of Google G Suite as I used Gmail as my own email client which gave me a sense of familiarity, so to begin with I studied for my G Suite Administrator Certification. Once achieving this I was given more responsibility in handling a higher number of cases as well as starting to assist in more complex areas of the G Suite management.

Throughout this time I continued to use Salesforce as a User, this allowed me to get a good understanding of the basic functionality of the software. Working with Salesforce was a new experience to me as most of my experience with software has come from a consumer’s perspective so this was my first encounter with a software which was primarily for business. Now I had a good understanding of how Salesforce is used and the capabilities it offers I began to learn basic administrator functions. 

The focus on cloud computing was something that really took my interest, I had a very basic understanding of the “cloud” when joining Zumzum. I knew that it was about remotely accessing data from anywhere in the world, but my eyes were opened up once I began to understand the potential that cloud computing gives not just in storing data but also how you work on applications and on a day to day basis. 

How did you approach passing your Salesforce Admin certification exam?

Once my usage of Salesforce developed into a more in depth understanding we decided that pursuing the Salesforce Administrator Certification would be best for my progression as it allowed me to learn and apply knowledge at Zumzum and opened plenty of opportunities to pursue more advanced certifications in the future.

I did a lot of trailheads leading upto the certification exam, the most helpful one for me is the Salesforce Admin Certification Trail. I did not go through this from start to finish, my tactic was very much to focus on the areas that I have the least amount of knowledge in. By working with Salesforce on a daily basis there were some areas that I was very comfortable with and others which I had never worked with before. 

To understand which areas you may need attention you can do this Salesforce Webassessor mock exam online. This is a paid exam ($20) so i would not suggest this as your first method but would highly advise before sitting the real certification exam, as this will give a complete percentage breakdown of areas you need to improve. This then allows you to go away and really focus on the important areas and raise your score by enough to comfortably pass. This was definitely the most helpful for me as it allowed me to be more streamlined and focused with what I was learning.

I also did a number of free mock exams just to test my knowledge regularly. I have attached two websites I used. Please note that these exams can usually show the same question if you do them multiple times so these are only so useful before you are just recalling the answer and it is not very helpful in actually learning the answer.

What does the future hold for you Brandon ?

The future holds a lot of opportunities for me, passing the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam has been a huge eye opener in terms of understanding what potential routes I may take in the future. For the immediate future my aim is to complete my Salesforce Trailhead Ranger Badge I am very close with around 86 badges so far completed. 

I have not fully made my mind up where I want to take this but the great thing about the Salesforce Certified Administrator  is it’s a good starting point, each of the Salesforce certification routes starts with the Salesforce Certified Administrator. Also I learnt a lot about what I do and don’t like, for example at one time being a developer was definitely an option but as time has gone on I realized that despite wanting to have a basic understanding coding this is not something that I wanted to do as a full time career. So now looking into the future I am leaning more towards the Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant exam or the Salesforce Certified Architect exam.