When I was asked to contribute a blog post for the Forcelandia site I wasn’t quite sure what to write about. A technical post? Something more personal? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the best topic for my first post would be about the amazing community of Salesforce Users, Administrators and Developers that makes this event possible.
With Angela and Larry’s leadership we get to have the coolest regional Salesforce event out there, and it’s because we have such fantastic local groups. I’m not a group leader, but as someone who has gotten so much out of this community I want to make the case that there are compelling reasons to get involved, or be more involved, now and after Forcelandia!
Learning About What’s Possible
Like many of you who transitioned to Salesforce from other fields or technologies, it took me a while to appreciate the depth, breadth and flexibility that the force.com platform had to offer. Nowhere else will you get the hands-on experience, demos and tips from users, administrators and developers who live and breathe the platform, day-in and day-out. Even the most seasoned among us have a lot to learn and we tend to get blinders on when we’re tied to our particular, and often peculiar instances. It’s so important to keep an eye on what others are building and improving with Salesforce, and not just once a year at Dreamforce. User groups will keep you at the forefront and never let you run out of ideas!
Advancement – Tools and Connections
There’s a good chance that your current job is not the last you’ll ever have. Involvement in a Salesforce User Group community is an invaluable resource for building connections and learning about the paths that other professionals have taken to get to where you want to go. I started on the platform as a DBA, and though I had considered the path to developer before, it had always seemed out of reach. I couldn’t see an entry point into really becoming a software developer without quitting my job and going back to school. Salesforce changed all that. Suddenly I had a set of tools and an amazing community that helped me find that path.
Participating in the Developer user group was a really important part of that. It gave me confidence, and seeing demos of the really cool stuff that other devs in the community were building was tangible proof that my goals were achievable. If you’re thinking about what the next steps in your career might be, you’re guaranteed to find someone in the community who’s been there before, and can help point you in the right direction or offer advice.
Moral Support and a Welcoming Community
I think it’s important to highlight that sometimes the best part of attending user groups is for the simple relief of sharing your frustrations and challenges with other people who just “get it”. Especially if you’re a solo Admin or Dev and you don’t get to bounce ideas and issues off someone at your workplace, these groups are golden. After all, there’s a reason for the #whySFDCadminsdrink hashtag, ammiright @salesforcesaint?!?
Seriously though, In the last couple of years I’ve been fortunate to also become more involved in the Salesforce Women in Tech user group (formerly Girly Geeks). I can’t believe it took me so long, because this group of women is possibly the most supportive, fun, and knowledgeable professional group I’ve ever been a part of. If you identify as a woman I encourage you to check it out, but more generally I’d urge you to look for your user group home, whether that’s Women in Tech, the Nonprofit User Group, the Admin User Group or the Developer User Group.
Like so many things, you really get out what you put into this community. For any of you who are excited about Forcelandia and looking forward to an incredible day of learning on the platform, I hope to see you at an upcoming meeting!