Way back in the day when I walked to school uphill, both ways, in the snow, I had to learn Salesforce fundamentals by scouring the web for blog posts, reading endless Help and Training articles, building out apps of my own design in a developer org, and leaning on the Salesforce community for help when I got stuck. And while all of those arenas of knowledge and learning are still applicable in one way or another to becoming a Salesforce expert, there are now many more blogs, lots of new books, and, best of all, there’s Salesforce Trailhead.
An important part of managing a successful technology services company is ensuring that your staff is not only knowledgeable about the technologies you work with, but that they also understand how to use that knowledge and apply it to effectively solve customer challenges. At Trekbin, we conduct a new hire training program, provide project shadowing opportunities, use Chatter groups for knowledge sharing and collaboration, host hackathons, and provide support for Salesforce certification exams, among other things. Now with the introduction of Salesforce Trailhead, we have another important resource to add to our arsenal.
Why am I hot on Salesforce Trailhead?
The topics and content center around key areas of knowledge needed to build robust and scalable solutions on the Salesforce platform. These are some of the same key areas we teach our employees, eliminating the need for us to focus on this level of training for those areas. We can focus our efforts on more advanced training that builds on these concepts instead.
The learning and results are measurable. There is verification that the person going through the program has successfully completed each module by either quizzing them or verifying that they actually configured Salesforce correctly (huge!). Users get scores and badges that are visible to us and community at large.
I know that Trailhead will continue to expand with new modules and challenges without me having to contribute anything at all. It’s like getting training for my team directly from some of Salesforce’s own big brains. This is an investment Salesforce has made in their community, and I intend to (selfishly) take full advantage of this investment for the betterment of my staff and my company.
It’s self-paced, so if someone is busy this week with project work they can complete what they have time for and pick it back up when they free up. I also like that users can choose their own adventure, so if you’re more focused on clicks over code you can go that route. We’re requiring our staff to complete all of the modules, but of course they can complete them in any order they wish.
It lets me know who is ready for official certification. Let’s face it, certification costs money, and I want to be sure we are wisely investing only in those who have proven they are ready. It also helps build confidence in those on the path to certification, and we think about passing all of the Trailhead challenges as a certification of its own.
While it doesn’t relate to the learning aspect, the Trailhead concept meshes well with how Trekbin thinks about embarking on a journey with technology. We are all explorers covering new ground everyday, and every trek starts at the trailhead.
As I mentioned before, we are requiring every Trekker to complete all of the Trailhead modules, and I strongly encourage other Salesforce partners to do the same. Not only does it help our team become more knowledgable, it also lets our customers and prospects know that everyone on our team has, at a minimum, met a publicly accessible level of achievement.
If you have ideas for Trailhead, or love it just the way it is, I encourage you to reach out to Chris Duarte on Twitter and blow up her feed (sorry Chris). I’d also love to hear how you are using Trailhead or other tools to teach and/or learn Salesforce.