How's your week been? Feeling a little stressed and anxious? As I write this, I just got home from a friend's housewarming party, where the typical response to: 'How are you doing?' was 'I'm ok, considering...'
The 'considering' was code for 'I never thought a Trump Presidency would be this bad.'
So keeping in mind this is a professional blog for social change oriented Salesforce folks, I thought I'd take a technology perspective on what technology ties are to the Trump Presidency, if any, and/or what those of us who work in technology or use technology can do when a new policy takes effect, say to defund the Affordable Care Act or ban Muslim refugees, that we do not agree with. Here are a few thoughts:
1. Hold your technology company's leadership accountable: I could not have been more proud to see that Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, attended the women's march in San Francisco on Saturday, January 21, to advocate for equality. Marc is consistently vocal in advocating for equality, which matters because as a business owner his voice resonates loudly in audiences that are conservative and liberal. He also represents thousands of jobs in dozens of countries. The CEO of Uber, by contrast, has come under criticism for joining President Trump's economic advisory group. Work at Twitter? Maybe the next time you're housing a Republican victory party you could tweet your CEO and suggest it be moved to another locale.
2. Get on the Trail! That's right, there are Salesforce Trailhead modules that can help you be an awesome ally for equality! Check out the new Equality Ally Strategies badge and all of the diversity focused badges! Use the knowledge you learn to support and advocate for your colleagues of all backgrounds at all levels of the organization, in addition to encouraging your organization's leadership to take action like you did in tip #1.
3. Use technology to make social change! In addition to using Salesforce itself to organize your data, members, donors, actions, campaigns, and more to change the world, a barrage of new apps and web sites have flooded the market encouraging you to contact your elected officials and take other steps to stay engaged. But what apps can you trust? What apps won't crash? Only time will tell, but please let me know what you're having success with! Two that I have found so far are: Showing Up for Racial Justice (primarily white people organizing for racial justice; has chapter organizations across the country; why not start one at your company?) and The Indivisible Guide (for organizing to get your message through to elected officials, written by former congressional staffers). I've tried several other mobile apps and online petition sites and many have unclear information about who the founders are and what their affiliations are, and most ask for detailed personal information in order to send a canned email to an elected official, which does not seem to be an effective means of persuading an elected official but is a more effective means of gathering personal contact information to send endless emails that the signer may or may not wish to receive.
4. Take care of yourself. Getting enough rest, limiting screen time and news/media exposure to certain hours, doing activities that bring your joy and fulfillment, and staying connected to community/ pets/family are important. You are worth it. The more healthy and sane you are, the better you will be able to reflect that to the world, and the world could use as much health and sanity as you can spare right now.
What ideas do you have? What apps have helped you change the world? What do you see as the role of tech in the new administration? Good luck out there!
When my friend Pierre told me he had three Salesforce certifications, I was shocked. I thought there was no possible way I could ever accomplish such a feat. Well, it's been a few years, but here I am with three Salesforce certifications (Salesforce Administrator, Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant, and Salesforce Developer), studying for my fourth! I can't believe it. And I *hate* multiple choice tests with a passion. So here are some hints and resources to help you along the way. The most important thing I can say is: you can do it!
Tip 1: Use Salesforce materials! Salesforce creates the certification exams, so be sure to use Salesforce materials when you study. Your first stop should be the Salesforce certification website, where the first thing you should download and use for organizing your studying is the exam guide for the certification you're going after (e.g., the Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam Guide). If you're on a budget, Salesforce Help & Training and the various implementation guides Salesforce produces are your best bet - simply take the topics in the study guide, google them, then practice, understand, and memorize the definitions and concepts from Salesforce's own documentation.
Tip 2: Join a study group *and* get a study buddy. There are several free study groups forming regularly in the Success Community and Power of Us Hub, or you can always form your own. Keep in mind, though, that the exams are difficult and you'll need to spend many hours outside of the study group studying. I highly recommend finding a one on one study buddy to keep you on track and to divide and conquer some of the research and sifting through all of the various subject areas on each exam. It's also great to quiz each other and clarify concepts. You can post in a group like Girlforce that you want a study partner, or ask at your local user group meeting.
Tip 3: Does your Salesforce organization have Premier or Premier Success? Are you sure? Take a quick second to double check because online, on-demand certification prep courses are included with these support plans. Otherwise, it's worth asking your organization to send you to a Salesforce University live or live online class, or at the very least pay for your exam fees. If you're paying out of pocket, consider the reduced cost exam fees surrounding Dreamforce.
Tip 4: Use free technology and apps! While Salesforce Trailhead is not designed to help you get certified, it can certainly introduce you to the concepts on certification exams and get you hands on in applying them in a free developer org (or Trailhead playground). The most useful aspect of Trailhead when studying for certification is probably the 'Resources' section at the end of each section, since it has a ton of handy links to Salesforce documentation.
Using flashcard apps like Quizlet can also be great, as long as you make and study your own flashcards to ensure accuracy.
Want more tips? Be sure to attend or catch the replay of #AdminHour: Let's Talk Salesforce Certifications, which you can register for right here.
While I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the label of 'developer champion,' I'll do anything to encourage the Salesforce community to become more diverse, so I hope you'll find in these steps one or two things that you can do to become more engaged and further your technical and people skills and come to feel more at home in the Salesforce ecosystem while you're at it. Here are 10 easy steps I personally have used to further my Salesforce career, including becoming a developer champion, Trailhead enthusiast, and more:
1. Sign Up - start by getting your own developer org here and getting on the Salesforce developer newsletter list. Follow Salesforce Developers on social media. This will keep you up to date and expose you to ideas and concepts as well as give you opportunities to dive in.
2. Start small - check out a workshop online, like the Intro to Apex workshop live or pre-recorded - it's awesome!
3. Make friends - follow people on social media, read blogs, ***ask questions***, and be appreciative! And don't forget, when someone is kind enough to take the time to reply to your question in the community, make sure and mark a reply as a best answer - it really helps everyone!
4. Challenge yourself - attend a hackathon or take a certification exam - you can do this!
5. Get hands on - with Trailhead, a sandbox, or your developer org, there's no excuse to not try out what you're learning!
6. Learn! Girl Develop It, RAD Women, #AdminHour, Girlforce Study Groups, and more are all excellent resources and free or very low cost ways to boost your skills.
7. Ask questions - I cannot emphasize this enough! You may notice if you follow me in the Power of Us Hub (and I hope you do!), that I ask at least as many questions as I answer. Of course, I always search for the answer before I ask, since that's a best practice I learned from the community, but not being afraid to ask is one of the best tools in my Salesforce toolbox!
8. Attend events and push yourself - Dreamforce, TrailheaDX, local developer user groups, #AdminHour, Girlforce gatherings, and more are a great way to meet others who are at your level that you can rely on as you build your skills together. FWIW, I pushed myself to attend a Salesforce Developer hackathon and WON with a team I met that day before I even knew a single line of Apex!
9. Try it in your real Salesforce org! Did you know that using Process Builder, writing formulas, and even advanced reports are all great ways to flex your developer muscle? It's true! You ARE a developer!
10. Share your success and pass it on! The Salesforce developer community is growing by leaps and bounds but it's not complete without YOUR voice. People need to know that anyone from any background can be a Salesforce developer. Take it from me, someone who never managed an IT project before I was asked to at my nonprofit in 2009. The community is here to help; we can do this!
Want more support and want to get tapped in to the Salesforce community but aren't sure where to get started? Join Longshore Consulting for #AdminHour - the fun, free, interactive way to learn Salesforce the first and third Thursday of every month at 10am PT/1pm ET - register here!
I often encourage the nonprofits I work with to avoid using multi-select picklists, and I always get the same question back: Why? Here are a two of my many reasons why I personally advise against using multi-select picklists whenever possible, why do you use or not use them?
1. They are really difficult to work with in formulas. Example: I wanted to use values from a multi-select picklist field as part of a naming convention for cases. There's not an easy way to do this. In fact, Salesforce help points out there are very few formulas where multi-select picklists can be used. Here they are:
2. They are hard to work with in reporting. Example: I wanted to use race as a multi-select picklist field to allow people to self identify in whatever way they choose. This is great, until I realized that to accurately capture people and that myriad ways to self-identify, I'd have to create a report for each picklist value (e.g., African American, Asian, Latinx, etc.) and then people would be double counted across the reports (e.g., someone who multi-selected African American and Latinx). I would then also need to create reports with all of the possible permutations or report on each person individually to allow for their full individual expression. Instead, I opted to use checkboxes which make reporting much more clear. Also, to be clear, to be able to report on one option in a multi-select picklist requires a super annoying workaround! Ugh! Read how to do that here. How this makes me feel:
So, what are your thoughts? Are there times when you don't need to report on multi-select picklists so you just use them anyways? Are there times when you've used one only to realize later you would have preferred checkboxes? Let me know!
Missy (@missylongshore on Twitter and Periscope) writes this blog just for you!