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Meet Todd Halfpenny

Todd Halfpenny demographic information

During Salesforce World Tour London ’23, Todd Halfpenny found himself on stage, in front of thousands of people, chatting with the CEO of Salesforce UK about his Salesforce journey before being awarded a rare Golden Hoodie. “If someone had told me that one day I’d be there, I’d have never believed them,” he says. Especially since he switched to Salesforce development “by accident” when his career took an unexpected turn.

Todd and his best buddy Codey after winning the Salesforce Golden Hoodie

Todd and his best buddy Codey after winning the Salesforce Golden Hoodie.

Todd came to the Salesforce ecosystem through his brother. He’d been working long, sporadic, and late-night hours at his previous job as a network engineer at a mobile telco company. But with a second child on the way, Todd wanted to spend more quality time with his young family.  His brother suggested that Todd join him at his new startup as Todd’s years of experience with mobile networks and apps would make a great fit. So, Todd became the Chief Mobile Technical Architect at his brother’s company Caddify, a Salesforce ISV partner that delivers a no-code platform for building mobile companion apps. 

One of Todd’s responsibilities at Caddify is to monitor new developments in Salesforce and make sure that they get integrated into the product roadmap. As a lifelong coder who also believes in no-code tools, both the Caddify platform and Salesforce developer tooling were a great fit.

Trailhead is an “invaluable tool” for learning

Todd spends time building his Salesforce development skills on Trailhead, Salesforce’s free learning platform where anyone can learn today’s most in-demand and relevant skills, earn resume-worthy credentials, and connect to global opportunities. He explains, “There are parts of my job that I do quite infrequently, and to have Trailhead’s repository of such well-documented and structured information has been just gold.”

To have Trailhead’s repository of such well-documented and structured information has been just gold.

Since starting out on Trailhead, Todd has thrown himself into learning with gusto and achieved an impressive Salesforce MVP profile: to date, he’s a Four Star Ranger with a whopping 427 badges, four superbadges, and three certifications. Todd’s favorite challenge so far has been the Lightning Web Components Specialist superbadge. “It was a real toughie at the time,” he recalls, “and it was the last step needed to get my JavaScript Developer certification.” With the ongoing importance of JavaScript in Salesforce development, Todd felt that it was an important certification for his role. He’d also wanted to assist in the credentialing process, so he’d taken part in the Beta of this certification and just needed to complete the LWC Specialist superbadge to receive the certification.

Todd highly recommends that Salesforce Developers take the Administrator certification, which gives developers a broad understanding of the Admin experience, so they can identify any gaps and build functionality or integrate solutions. The process of studying for it also offered him great insight into the Salesforce Platform. He also recommends focusing on developing communication skills via Trailhead, such as the Effective Communication Skills trailmix, which covers speaking, writing, and remote collaboration. And listening more — he adds, “For me, listening is the best developer learning tool.”

The key to success as a Salesforce Developer

Todd finds that certain mindsets are helpful for any type of software engineer. First and foremost is curiosity, having an inquisitive mind is an asset, and another is empathy. “Make sure your users are your priority,” he advises. “Be curious about the problems they’re facing, and how you can use your expertise to make their lives better.”

Be curious about the problems they’re facing, and how you can use your expertise to make their lives better.

For Todd, this is easy as he’s excited about all things technology, from the everyday to the groundbreaking. As technology evolves so quickly, there’s always something to learn and new opportunities to explore. A key driver for Todd to become a Salesforce Developer was to bring consumer-like experiences to enterprise users. “We don’t want people who don’t get to choose their tools to have to put up with second-class experiences,” he explains.

From Salesforce newbie to community leader

At the beginning of his Salesforce journey, Todd supplemented his learning on Trailhead by attending his local London Salesforce Developer Group. “From the very first meeting, I learned so much and also met folk who are now very good friends,” Todd recalls. 

These connections have enabled Todd to grow professionally and personally. “I took my first steps in public speaking, and the Trailblazer Community encouraged and supported me as I deepened my knowledge of the Salesforce Platform, eventually enabling me to share my experiences around the world at many of the Trailblazer Community Conferences.” 

I took my first steps in public speaking, and the Trailblazer Community encouraged and supported me as I deepened my knowledge of the Salesforce Platform.

Todd speaking at Trailblazer Community Conference Czech Dreamin’

Todd speaking at Trailblazer Community Conference Czech Dreamin’.

Many ways to stay involved with the developer community

His early roots in the Trailblazer Community are as strong as ever years later, as Todd finds lots of ways to stay connected through various Salesforce topical channels, including the Salesforce Developers online community, the Ohana Slack workspace, SFXD on Discord, and podcasts like Good Day Sir!, which has its own Slack community. 

Todd also continues to attend in-person community events, as well as get involved in community-led projects, such as co-organizing the annual London’s Calling event for Salesforce professionals, and a mobile app for the homeless nonprofit StreetLink. On top of all this, Todd has discovered a way to have a bit of fun by founding Shirtforce, a site that sells tongue-in-cheek t-shirts for Salesforce Trailblazers of all kinds while raising tens of thousands of dollars for charities around the world.

Shirtforce models

Shirtforce models

Fundamentally, Todd feels a profound sense of gratitude for the movers and changemakers in his community. He says, “I want to recognize every single person who’s involved with organizing the hundreds of Salesforce community groups and conferences. The number of volunteer hours and passion that go into creating these spaces for the rest of us is enormous, and they all deserve a huge thank you.”

Advice to new developers: Say “Yes” to the community

Whether it’s being active online on Trailhead, attending local community events and conferences, or participating in Slack workspaces, getting involved is the very first step on a journey that Todd says, “I guarantee you won’t regret.” 

For those who are a bit shy or hesitant, he is especially encouraging: “When I first ventured into the world of Salesforce, I was overcome with impostor syndrome, yet I was welcomed with open arms everywhere I went. I still feel it now, but know that it’s very common and almost everyone you meet in the community wants you to be there, and you’ll fit in just fine.”

When I first ventured into the world of Salesforce, I was welcomed with open arms everywhere I went.

Todd and his Trailblazer Community Conference London’s Calling co-organizers

Todd and his Trailblazer Community Conference London’s Calling co-organizers.

On the technical side of things, Todd strongly recommends spending time on upgrading JavaScript and general web developer skills. With almost every Salesforce release, he sees an increasingly greater focus on non-Salesforce-specific skill sets being used within the context of Salesforce development.

Todd’s final word to the wise is to say “yes” more often. He says, “Very early on, there were a few opportunities that came up that I declined. Taking them may not necessarily have brought me to a very different place, but I would most likely have had (even more) fun on the way.”

To meet developers like Todd 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. 

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