School --> University --> a job working with Salesforce... right?

No, we don't believe that there is only one path to working in the tech sector.

Especially when it comes to working with Salesforce.

When it comes to educational and career backgrounds, our Art of Cloud team is made up of such a diverse group of people! Sure, there are a few of us with degrees – but that’s not what we value at Art of Cloud.

Our newest team member, Jonathan, is the perfect demonstration of an alternate pathway to working with Salesforce. 

Jonathan was a Corporal in the British Army for several years before leaving for the civilian world. He took his passion for tech, learned everything Salesforce, and joined the Art of Cloud team this summer.

Jonathan now runs the Trailblazer Community Group for Leeds and will be speaking about Dreamforce 2019 in San Francisco as a Vetforce representative! Woah. 

But how? How can somebody go from Corporal to Salesforce developer? Jonathan’s story may have some tips and advice for you.

(p.s. this is brilliant advice for anybody wanting to get into the Salesforce world, not just veterans!)

From military to Salesforce

In Jonathan’s own words:

I have always been interested in tech.

I studied Computing at A-Level and have always wanted to understand how things work and how to develop my own process’ to make life easier.

Life in the British Army

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In 2014 I joined the British Army as Royal Military Police and, in late 2017, promoted to Corporal.

I was an instructor in Op Temperer which took me into training all soldiers, from Private to Lieutenant Colonel, on how to respond to terrorist threats. I enjoyed this role greatly, and was often the lead instructor which meant I headed up the training for the North of England as well and worked in other European Countries like Germany and Norway. 

In 2018 I realised it was my time to leave

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Leaving the Army is daunting – you have a 1 year notice period, work life changes as you are no longer considered for courses or ‘the exciting stuff’.

That 1 year was a bit of a struggle. I managed to fight my way onto a promotion course, although these aren’t really opportunities given to those who have signed off. This promotion would have been important for my CV and… I love to learn. I didn’t want to waste the year away.

Finding Vetforce and Trailhead

I was first told about Salesforce and Trailhead by my Brother-in-law. I then attended a Trailblazer event where I found out about Vetforce and how they have free certification courses and vouchers for most certifications. 

The year notice period that the Army enforced was filled with Trailhead learning.

The Vetforce community

The Salesforce support network is huge and extremely supportive.

Their Ohana is very effective. It does seem a bit more prevalent in the US than anywhere else, but if you look you’ll find support here in the UK, too. The U.S are very go go go and all for it but also include the UK guys so have felt very welcomed by them.

Back in the 'real' world

Leaving the Army – I applied, applied, applied, used Linkedin all of the time, reached out to people, went to events, practiced for interviews, continued my self study. I spent some time working at Sheffield University as a Software tester as well as working freelance.

I created the Trailblazer Community Group for Leeds to allow local users of the Salesforce Platform to learn from each other and network.

This summer, I found a growing tech business in Leeds –

(spoiler, it’s us)

they looked like the kind of place I’d want to work. I reached out, and… the fit was perfect. 

Life at Art of Cloud

Being at Art of Cloud – the supportiveness from management is amazing. I expect it is probably the case with being on civi street. You have time to learn the ropes properly, you are given that support network. You’re not just expected to get everything within a second. The biggest difference I have noticed is that Ben, Michael and Liz actually care.

If you have an issue, they try to understand. In the Army, the ‘it happened to me, so get on with it’ mentality came from the ranks above.

Since I started at Art of Cloud, my Salesforce career has taken off. Studying and learning from Michael in order to gain my Platform Developer 1 certification is going extremely well, managing to get eyes onto projects and help advance them has made me feel like one of the team. Being accepted straight away was such a nice feeling. 

Supporting Salesforce Community and Vetforce at Art of Cloud

Kindly, Ben offered to sponsor the Trailblazer Community Group for Leeds, and helped with the planning to help take off this project.

And being allowed to attend a meet at Salesforce Tower to spend the day with the Vetforce community was greatly appreciated, as pushed my Salesforce knowledge, networking and experience further and also keeps me in touch with veterans on the platform which is very important to me.

My advice to getting a job with Salesforce

(and anybody else) wanting to get into Salesforce without a typical the education and background:

For veterans - take the plunge

Don’t listen to the crusty old ranks, there is something on civi street and you are hireable. So many soldier characteristics are transferable which ‘normal’ people don’t have.

Value self-taught learning

There are so many people, groups, and platforms to learn from, and all it takes is some time and discipline.

Top tip: focusonforce.com is the best resource I’ve found for practice exams!

Use Trailhead

Get onto Trailhead, its an amazing free resource.100% utilise the Community groups and attend the events, this help so much with networking. Definitely get in touch and sweet talk with recruiters, they do the leg work for you!

To read about Jonathan’s journey in more detail, head over to his highly informative LinkedIn post: Soldier to Civilian.

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Or give us a call on +44 (0) 113 394 4686.