A lot of people who know me consider me a hardware guy when it comes to servers and workstations. This probably comes from the fact that I was always building them from the day they became everyday consumer products. I get it though when most were buying Dell Pentium II’s and III’s I was building servers with Adaptec Ultra 160 SCSI interfaces running 8gb 10,000 rpm hard drives. Truth be told though I’m a software guy. I have always had the desire to dive in and learn to use new software. A few examples for historic value would be Windows NT, NT Server, Small Business Server, Server 2012, All versions of Windows OS, Simple Machines Forum (SMF), Invision Power Board (IPB) and most recently WordPress.
Recently at the day job I got thrust into the position of Salesforce Admin which at first was a little overwhelming. The reason being the implementation was completely handled by others that were no longer part of the organization. This meant not only was the software new to me but the goals, implementation and customization’s were all unknowns. Basically I was tossed into a trial by fire scenario and I like that. The reason being I learn best by doing and the first thing I did was watch every Salesforce Admin video offered by my Lynda.com/LinkedIn video subscription. That familiarized me with the software and the chapter quizzes were useful but I needed to learn more and more importantly get some hands on experience and the live day job Salesforce environment was not best the place to learn.
Fortunately for me I have an outstanding Salesforce rep “Anushka” and after a lengthy call she sold me on the Salesforce Trailhead training platform. I took Anushkas advice and signed up for Trailhead. I used my LinkedIn account to keep the training completely separate from the day job Salesforce account. On the outside the experience looks somewhat hokey. It looks like someone borrowed Jellystone Park from Yogi Bear. There’s trails, trail mixes, badges, superbadges and everything is themed with hiking. The trails are predefined “paths” built of individual modules of learning. “Trail mixes” are custom learning paths. Badges and points are accumulated as you proceed down a trail.
When you head down a path you step through modules that feature quizzes, challenges and projects. The modules are broken down in a way to be easily digestible. Never boring, never overwhelming. The “Challenges” are hands on test where you must complete tasks that are verified by the software. There is no gaming the system. I like this very much. I dare say it’s almost fun.
Completing these trails and modules builds points and earns badges. Now I’m not one to typically care for a reward/title system because it’s often meaningless. This is simply not the case with Salesforce Trailhead. The points and badges in trailhead say that you actually did these thing, hand’s on which is about as close to on the job training as you can get.
I have never been good at studying or testing but I will admit the Salesforce Trailhead approach simply works and it works well, at least for me. If your interested in a new career path with a cool fortune 500 company signup for yourself and see if you like it. Did I mention it’s free?
As for me my goal is all the Admin training as well as gaining the following “Superbadges”