4 Important Lessons Learned While Chasing Badgers On My Way To Trailhead Ranger!
If you’ve not heard about Trailhead yet, it’s the fun place to learn Salesforce — a magical place where you’ll find a vast array of topics, and you can do it all for the low, low price of “FREE.” As added motivation, you earn badges along the way that not only provide validation of your skills but (and some may say more importantly) bragging rights over your friends.
But more crucially than “What can you do in Trailhead?” is to discover “How can Trailhead benefit me?” It’s a fair question, and everyone’s Trailhead journey is unique. For me, I found four key learning strategies that you can apply to help you get the most out of Trailhead.
1. You can learn wide.
The Salesforce Cloud offering is something to behold. Finding ways to connect with your customers from sales to service, blending in artificial intelligence, wearable devices, and more futuristic stuff. There’s a lot going on! I remember going to Dreamforce last year and seeing rows and rows of booths with partners and people… it seemed to go on forever. I thought, “This is all part of our Salesforce ecosystem, and that’s pretty awesome!”
The reason it’s so great is that it means, together, we have so many ways to solve business challenges. On the other side of the coin, it can also be a bit daunting and somewhat intimidating — especially when business seems to be moving at the speed of thought. Even as Salesforce employees, we tend to start with an expertise in one particular cloud. For me, it’s Marketing Cloud. But Trailhead has helped me go beyond my comfort zone and discover the bigger picture of what else is available.
I was able to learn more about the clouds that I don’t work with daily by earning badges like the IoT Basics and Commerce Cloud Basics. Even among the clouds I knew well, being introduced to Lightning and general topics like data science, complimented my existing knowledge. I now have a much more complete understanding of all that there is to offer from Salesforce, and you will too!
2. You can learn deep.
Once you’ve had a tour around what Salesforce has to offer, you may find yourself interested in learning about specific subjects in greater depth. There are guided learning paths, or trails, offered for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels of all roles spanning Admin, Developer, and any flavor of end user.
So far, I’ve spent most of my deep learning within the Admin role, as this was a big part of my focus for 2017. These trails got me far on my Ranger path! And when I say deep learning, I really mean it. I particularly remember the Protect Your Salesforce Data trail, an advanced admin track covering important topics like permission sets, identity basics, and user authentication. I found the security part to be really challenging. But, as it turns out, this is a prominent topic on the Administrator certification and ended up being critical to my success on that exam.
3. You can prepare for your certification journey.
Speaking of certifications! There are many cert paths available if becoming certified is your end goal (check out this helpful guide). And Trailhead can be a big part of your preparation. Particularly if you’re learning a new skill. Trails give you the ability to “simmer” on the concepts as you learn. I covered more about this in a prior post about sitting for my Email Specialist Certification.
And now, there are trailmixes to throw into the — mix — as well. Curated to help you prepare, these trailmixes are based on the key topics outlined in each study guide, including:
- Prepare for Your Salesforce Administrator Credential
- Prepare for Your Salesforce Advanced Administrator Credential
- Prepare for Your Salesforce Platform App Builder Credential
- Prepare for Your Salesforce Platform Developer I Credential
- Prepare for Your Salesforce Platform Developer II Credential
We all learn differently, and we all learn at a different pace. Trailhead gives you the flexibility to pick your topic, and decide how much time you want to spend on it. Maybe you have a full-time job or are a student. If you only have an hour a day, take an hour. If Saturday morning is your Trailhead time, go for it. And if you need to review a trail again (which I myself have had to do several times) it is always there waiting for you. That’s the beauty of Trailhead.
4. You can better understand Salesforce values.
One of the things I found when “chasing badgers” on my Ranger journey, was it’s not all about developing hard skills for admins and developers. Trailhead features a whole host of modules covering the soft skills you need to be a well-rounded Salesforce professional. And some of those modules actually focus on Salesforce values.
When you’re lucky enough to become a Salesforce employee, you may find your phone begins to ring… constantly. People have not only heard about what great products Salesforce has, but also how it is one of the best places to work. I always take the time to share my personal point of view, and what my day-to-day life is like in my role, but I then send them straight over to Trailhead.
People are surprised to learn that there are trails on the Salesforce Success Model, the Salesforce Ohana Culture, how to Cultivate Equality at Work, the Salesforce Ecosystem, and how to Manage the Salesforce Way. Trailhead is more than just learning about our software, we also give you a peek into what makes Salesforce, Salesforce. You’ll find additional trails on how to manage your sales team, how Salesforce uses agile project management, the secrets of the Salesforce writing style, and so much more.
For those of you who simply wish to adopt some of the Salesforce methodologies, these trails can be of great help. I personally learned not only more about Salesforce, but a bit more about myself too, as some of the topics challenge you to be a better person (the Equality Ally Strategies, in particular, is a favorite of mine!)
So, let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start!)
So where do you get started? If you’re new to Trailhead, check out Trailhead Basics. And if you’re new to Salesforce, or you’re familiar with just one specific cloud, I would suggest you Begin in the Beginning. This is a great trailmix that will jump-start your wider learning. As you complete the different modules, you’ll find the subjects that are of greater interest to you, giving you the chance to go deep with your learning in those areas that matter to you most.
Then, you can start earning badges and ascend the Trailhead mountain! Soon you’ll be ranking-up as a Mountaineer, an Expeditioner, or all the way to Ranger. The choice is yours. And if you’re looking for even more inspiration, check out the stories of our Trailblazers, who are already blazing their own trail through Salesforce.
Get your Trailhead on!
To date, I’ve earned my Marketing Cloud Email Specialist, Marketing Cloud Social Specialist, and Administrator certifications. And, of course, I’m also a Trailhead Ranger. As proud as I am of what I’ve already accomplished, I know that I have only just scratched the surface of what’s possible. There’s always more learning to be done.
Join me in the wonderful world of Trailhead, and who knows, you may be our next Trailblazer sharing your story. What are you going to do this year to meet your Salesforce learning goals and dreams? Whatever you do, be sure to find out what many more of you have already discovered, Trailhead really IS the fun way to learn Salesforce!