Blazing A Trail As One Of Pakistan’s First Certified Salesforce Application Architects.

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Blazing A Trail As One Of Pakistan’s First Certified Salesforce Application Architects.

Today, we are going to hear from Maimoona Shahid, one of our team at Zumzum, who has successfully achieved the Salesforce Certified Application Architect status. Not only should Maimoona’s story inspire all of the Salesforce Ohana, we hope Maimoona also inspires many more females to join the tech world.

Tell us about yourself Maimoona.

I was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and moved to Pakistan with my family when I was 8 and I currently live in Karachi, Pakistan. I studied and graduated in Computer Science and Information Technology from the NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, Pakistan in 2012. Studying computers was never my first choice, however, now I do realize that it was the best one for me. I did struggle learning the concepts initially but I put in my best efforts to learn and acquire the understanding.

How did you begin your Salesforce journey ?

After graduating university in 2012, I was looking for work in the technology industry as a software developer. I got to know about Salesforce for the first time from a job description and searched and read about it for my interview for the same job.

I went for the interview and was offered a job and started working as a Salesforce developer in 2012. I worked and gained experience and learned Salesforce as I went, teaching myself as I went.

Since I wanted to continue my education, I decided to enroll in a Computer Science and Information Technology Masters Degree in 2013. While working as a Salesforce developer during the day, I studied for my masters degree in the evenings, a couple of days a week. It was pretty challenging and time consuming to balance all the commitments I had.

In 2014 I decided to change my working style to become a remote worker, from home. I then accepted a role as a Salesforce developer working remotely. Fortunately, this gave me the extra flexibility to work and study at the same time. My hard work paid off and I completed my Masters Degree in 2015.

When did you pass your first Salesforce certification ?

I worked on Salesforce for five years and didn’t think that I was interested in passing any Salesforce certifications. Working, learning and training as I went, although I never thought of doing any certifications. There were times when I received an interview call for a new, exciting opportunity in the Salesforce ecosystem, and I was very much interested in the role. All went really well but I was not considered for the job because I didn’t have any Salesforce certifications in my bucket.

That upset me and I scheduled my Salesforce Platform Developer I certification exam for the upcoming week. I did pass my first Salesforce certification on 23 May, 2017 and studying for this exam changed my way of working a lot.

Working as a Salesforce developer, often the first solution that came to my mind was mostly to write code for an Apex trigger or Apex class. Passing my first Salesforce certification changed my approach so that I began to look for an out of the box, “Clicks, not Code“ solution before going into writing any custom code.

This encouraged me to attempt for more certifications and I set a goal to do a number of certifications and made a list. Later the same year, fortunately I started working with Zumzum, where I got a chance to work and study towards my goal of gaining more certifications at the same time.

Why did you decide to become a Salesforce Certified Application Architect ?

Moving forward in my career, I never wanted to manage people, but I still want to help others overcome their challenges and gain more responsibilities in their career. So the career path I chose for myself was a Technical Architect. Although , I never thought of becoming a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect until I started my certifications journey and also came across the “Ladies Be Architect” group which inspired me to become one.

After I completed my Salesforce Platform Developer I, Platform Developer II certifications, I gained the Salesforce Certified Administrator certification. While I was studying for the Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator certification, I came across a group called Ladies Be Architects. They arrange study groups and encourage women to become Salesforce Certified Technical Architects. That inspired me to follow the same path. Salesforce Certified Application Architect is the first milestone in becoming a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect.

What tips would you share for others on the same journey as you ?

Every journey has its ups and downs and its own challenges, including the journey to becoming a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect. I would advise them to stay focused on their goals. Things might take time, you may lose your focus too many times, sometimes, you may even fail. There might be days when you feel distracted, disappointed and what not. Get inspired. Follow people with the same goals and on the same journey as yours. Keep reminding yourself, you are doing good and you can do better.

My top tips would be:

  • Follow people on the same journey as yours, that keeps me going. Most of them share their experiences and some good links as well.
  • I do go through Trailhead trails and badges for exam preps, every certification has a trail link added in the description.
  • For three of my certifications I did buy Focus on force Practice exams and study guides which is a paid course for $24 each (valid for an year). The study guide is scenario based which helped me in developing the understanding of how to decode the scenarios given in the actual certification exams. Personally, I bought study guides to help me prepare for the Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer and the Salesforce Certified Data Architecture and Management certifications.
  • I also do practice in a test, demo or developer orgs while preparing for the exam. I did try to create different scenarios for my Sharing and Visibility Designer certification second attempt, which helped me clarify how sharing works.
  • I also joined some of the study sessions of LadiesBeArchitect and went through recorded sessions as well, which are available on their website.

What are your future ambitions and goals ?

A lot of opportunities , I believe. My plan is to work towards becoming a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect, a trusted advisor in my field. It is still a long way to go but during this journey I want to learn as much as I can.

Thank you Maimoona for sharing your story with us. We are proud to see you leading the way for many other people to join the Salesforce ecosystem and look forward to hearing of your many more successes in the future.

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