26 October 2015

I’m a certified Salesforce Admin, App Builder, and Platform Developer I, and as of yesterday, I passed the multiple choice section of Platform Developer II. In just over a year and a half, I went from knowing nothing about Salesforce to getting an unassuming mostly blank screen that read “pass” after completing the hardest test I’ve ever taken.

And I can attribute so much of the knowledge I have to the Nonprofit Starter Pack. There have been a lot of blog posts written about how to study for your Salesforce certs (hell, I wrote one, a few months ago, when I got my Admin!) but I’m not going to rehash everything you’ve already read about study groups and setting dates. Instead, I want to talk about how the NPSP helped me get to where I am today.

1. I used it!

Honestly, if it weren’t free to install the NPSP into a dev org and just play around, I would never have moved forward with the platform.

2. I supported it!

I’m in the Power of Us Hub every morning from 8:15a-8:45a (and often longer than that too) answering as many questions as I know how to answer. When I started this, I didn’t know how to answer many, but I read the answers written by amazing devs like Nic and (the) Dave(s). I learned from them, and got opportunities to share my knowledge back out.

3. I contributed to it!

The best way to get proficient at something is to just do it. The open source nature of the NPSP (and Vols4SF) gave me chances to put my learning into practice, by solving real world problems for hundreds of users. Plus, my contributions were code-reviewed by the people who mentored me, encouraged me, and showed me what a good Salesforce professional looks like.

4. I read it!

When it came down to it, the reason I was able to pass the multiple-choice section of the Platform Dev II exam is because over the course of installing, using, supporting, and contributing to the Nonprofit Starter Pack, I had to read a LOT of code. I had to read a LOT of code written by really smart people, and a LOT of code doing tricky things.

I learned about async future methods from the Geocoding functionality. I learned about batch and schedule-able jobs from advanced donation rollups. I learned when to use a WFR instead of a trigger from the email preferences feature. I learned about custom labels from the settings pages, and I learned about Visualforce Remoting from the Manage Households page. Want to start your Platform Dev journey but don’t know about how those features work yet, or don’t know the technology behind them yet? That’s okay. Head to Github and get reading!

I still don’t understand all the code that’s in the NPSP, but it sure helped me get to where I am today, and I can’t wait to keep finding great ideas in that github repo.

Now on to prepare for my programming assignment so I can get this certification!