Meet Farah Sherif
If Salesforce Developer Farah Sherif could begin her career all over again, she would start learning Salesforce earlier. She didn’t expect to be coding for a living, but she soon discovered that it was the right career path for her. “I used to think coding was really complicated,” says Farah, “but Salesforce and Trailhead made it easy. Also, with enough dedication, you can learn anything on Salesforce.”
Trailhead is the front door to the Salesforce ecosystem, where anyone can learn today’s most in-demand and relevant skills for free, earn resume-worthy credentials, and connect to global opportunities. Today, more than 18 million Trailblazers are learning, networking, and growing their skills to build successful careers.
I used to think coding was really complicated, but Salesforce and Trailhead made it easy.
Farah was introduced to Salesforce by her cousin, who is a Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame member, back in 2018. He sent her a couple of modules on the Trailhead learning platform, including the Admin Beginner trail, and she was immediately hooked.
Today, Farah’s career is thriving, and she’s currently a Senior Salesforce Developer for Oloop Technology Solutions, an enterprise technology consulting firm based in Aurora, IL. She’s also become a Salesforce MVP herself.
A passion for learning and building skills on Trailhead
Trailhead has been Farah’s go-to learning environment from day one — and she has blazed through hundreds of units and modules ever since. To date, Farah has completed 34 trails and earned a whopping 365 badges and 11 superbages, bringing her to the Triple Star Ranger level.
Farah has also enhanced her resume by achieving 15 Salesforce career-boosting Certifications, and she recommends this approach to other developers looking to advance their career. She says, “Even though you don’t have experience in a topic, if you study hard enough and tackle the certification, it gives you a chance to be part of a project that uses the products you learned about in your certification.”
Despite all her achievements, Farah continues to use Trailhead as her primary source for learning new skills. “Although there are several resources available,” she says, “I start with Trailhead first, and then check other resources. When preparing for certifications, the practice questions have been really helpful.”
Although there are several resources available, I start with Trailhead first.
Finding inspiration in the Code Sample Gallery
For developers who want to explore working examples, Farah suggests checking the Code Sample Gallery, which she considers “an underrated, hidden gem.” It contains code examples written by the Salesforce Developer Advocacy team that showcase a variety of Salesforce Platform features, such as Lightning Web Components, Apex, and Flows, as well as use cases like transforming Visualforce pages to Lightning web components. Farah says, “It’s the best way to learn as the code is written by Salesforce experts and there are tons of examples on how to do everything.”
Communication is a valuable skill for developers
Along with technical skills, Farah has learned that good communication is vital for developer success. As she progressed in her career, Farah came to believe that developers don’t just sit behind a computer and code all day. Developers have to be able to communicate well with others to get their job done or showcase their solution. Whether it’s about reporting blockers to a product manager, discussing a workaround, or even explaining a technical approach to a client, it’s important that developers are able to express themselves clearly.
“I didn’t learn it in one day,” Farah says, “but I have come a long way since my first time speaking with a client. Communication skills also help when you listen to conversations because then you are learning how to deal with people and how to handle customers.” (Tip: Check out the Storytelling & Communication module on Trailhead to improve your skills!)
What’s great about being a Salesforce Developer?
One of the reasons that Farah loves being a Salesforce Developer is the development experience itself. She enjoys building something from scratch that can help people save time or make their lives easier. She also gets excited when she’s able to work on something that people previously thought was not possible and help bring it to life. She says, “I love coding because it’s challenging and it forces you to think in a structured manner to come up with an error-proof solution.”
Seeking help from experts in the community
The key to Farah’s success: asking questions. When faced with unfamiliar requirements, Farah spends plenty of time learning and researching to give her some background on a new topic, which benefits her entire organization. “When I spend time learning a new product or a new Salesforce feature, it’s always valuable for my team as I can act as a source of knowledge of that topic later on when we have to use it.”
Farah also looks to the Salesforce Developers Trailblazer Community to seek help from experts or follow thought leaders like David Liu and Salesforce Ben. Farah says, “The Trailblazer Community is my safe space, where everyone is incredibly helpful, and when I know that when I reach out to someone, they will genuinely want to help.” Her favorite groups are Apex Hours and Ladies Be Architects.
The rare honor of a Golden Hoodie
Farah completed university with a Computer Science degree and was a few months into her new job, trying hard to prove herself as a Salesforce Developer by studying and taking certifications. But it was only when she started getting more deeply engaged with the Trailblazer community that her career prospects started to change.
“After spending some months learning on Trailhead,” Farah recalls, “I applied to lead the local Trailblazer community group in Cairo, Egypt. Those meetings really helped sharpen my skills and I actually got my first job as a Salesforce Developer by attending them and connecting with the people.”
Farah’s dedication to learning and to the community didn’t go unnoticed. In October of 2020, Salesforce awarded her with a rare Golden Hoodie in celebration of her commitment and her journey as a Trailblazer.
“When I received the Golden Hoodie,” she recalls, “it was an incredible moment that I’ll be proud of forever.” The award felt like a verification of all her efforts. Two years later, she was at her first Salesforce conference, and the meaning of the hoodie finally clicked. “That’s when I truly felt how special it is to have the Golden Hoodie. It’s different when you get to wear it in person and be recognized by 4000+ people.” She shares more of her perspective and experience, as well as a glimpse of her Golden Hoodie, in a Trailhead Live episode (at 25.32).
When I received the Golden Hoodie, it was an incredible moment that I’ll be proud of forever.
Advice for new Salesforce Developers: Don’t stop learning!
Farah advises developers who are new to the Salesforce ecosystem to ask questions and don’t stop learning. To stay up to date on the latest, she recommends checking the Salesforce release notes that include improvements to existing functionality and new tools. She also suggests getting involved with your local Salesforce community, attending group meetings and conferences, where you have the opportunity to network and meet other professionals and come back with new ideas and inspiration.
For Farah, learning is a continuous process — something she tries to remember every day. She says, “You don’t just stop learning when you have X number of certifications or when you think you’ve hit a milestone. When you maintain learning as a habit, it really pays off.”
To meet developers like Farah and expand your technical skills, join the Salesforce Developers Community and be a part of the conversation on all things Salesforce development.
About the author
Christie Fidura is the Director of Global Trailblazer Engagement. In this role, she seeks to engage and elevate the community and work directly with them to understand their challenges, concerns, wins, and inspirations. You can find Christie in the Trailblazer Community at https://trailblazer.me/id/christiefidura. A certified community manager and multiple-award winning marketer, Christie believes in technology, community, and equality.