Prove it to Yourself

Let's start with a question.
Why do we take Salesforce certifications?
  • To get that job which requires a certified candidate?
  • To add to the number of certifications your partner employer holds?
  • To prove to your peers and bosses that you are the subject matter expert?
  • Because everyone seems to be doing it these days?
  • Who doesn't love a good exam?
I believe the best reason to take a Salesforce certified exam is to prove to yourself that you are an expert in your field, that you aren't 'winging' it. In short, to silence your inner critic.


The London Women in Tech user group, which I lead with Jodi and Freya, kicked off 2018 with an event entitled Changing Our Relationship with the Crazy Lady Inside.

It was led by Nic Conway and Danielle MacLeod of Somebody Inside, who helped the 70+ strong audience identify and control the 'crazy lady inside', their name for the internal voice which questions our abilities and can fill us with self-doubt.
It was a great session, I admit to shedding a tear and later found out that I wasn't the only one. I came away with some techniques to apply next time (and there will be a next time) that nagging voice raises her head.
It also made me think about the times I had held myself back and this is where I realised that my own crazy lady was the major reason why I had delayed becoming a certified Salesforce professional.
Impostor Syndrome is real.
I couldn't imagine I would know enough to make the grade, I was scared of failure. My pesky inner critic had kept me away from becoming certified for way too long.

Unfortunately I seem to keep falling into this same trap.

Instance One
According to the Certified Salesforce Administrator exam guide:
The candidate should successfully complete the Administration Essentials course (ADM201) from Salesforce or possess the equivalent experience and knowledge prior to taking the exam. Additionally, the candidate should have six or more months of experience as a Salesforce Administrator 

However, I waited until I had been an Admin for more than 18 months and had taken the ADM201 course in person and online before attempting the exam.

I simply didn't believe that I knew enough to pass.


I did.



Instance Two
I read up and learnt that there was a lot of cross-over between the Admin and the Developer certifications and so decided to tackle Dev next.
My old friend self-doubt dropped by again and I dilly-dallied, so much so that when I finally decided to bite the bullet and book the exam... it was announced that it was being discontinued!

Instance Three
I attended Administration Essentials for Experienced Admins course, it was an interesting four days but I found that I already knew the content inside out. I realised that I had left it too long to take the course and that my experience had gone past that of the material.
So, you'd think that would encourage me to take the Advanced Administrator certification wouldn't you, but no, I waited a further year before I finally took the exam.


I passed.



By this time the results emails also provided the breakdown of our results. I had aced it.
Why, oh why did I wait so long?
Finally the penny dropped that I was good at this s**t, I knew what I was doing and I needed to remind myself of this every time that impostor syndrome kicked in.

I am pleased to say that in the eight months since I have gone on to take (and pass) another four exams.

So what can you learn from this pathetic tale?

Do it for yourself

Certifications are not the be all and end all, many very experienced and respected Salesforce professionals hold few, or no certs. I have always been of the opinion that experience is absolutely essential at a certain level. That knowing the platform does not mean that you can deal with stakeholders effectively, gather requirements thoroughly, deliver your proposals with authority, and train and support end users competently.

However, putting yourself to the test to confirm that your experience and expertise meets the standard the Salesforce certification programme demands is important for validating your knowledge to yourself.

Banish the self-doubt and push yourself to book an exam.

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