Thu, 25 July 2019
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got a special interview from WITness Success 2018. We have Susannah St-Germain, Technical Architect at Boston Scientific, to talk about how she made her career in a more technical area of the Salesforce ecosystem.
Join us as we talk about how to tap into your passion to make a career, what helped her get the training she needed coming from a non-technical background, and the shift in mindset you need to make for coding.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Susannah St-Germain.
From pro musician to Salesforce pro.
Today, Susannah is a Salesforce Developer and Technical Architect at Boston Scientific, but her path to getting there is unconventional, to say the least. She originally went to school for music, going for her masters in viola performance. “At some point, I think I realized that maybe I don’t necessarily see myself playing in an orchestra forever,” Susannah says, “so I decided to drop out of grad school.”
Susannah came out to Breckenridge, Colorado, to intern in the development department of an orchestra. “Little did I know at that time that that was going to be the first step on this path to where I am today,” she says. She started doing more work on the backend of nonprofits, and really enjoyed the work she did with databases to track fundraising.
“The data department would provide their frontline fundraisers with a big report that they called ‘The Beast,’” Susannah says, but she kept on obsessing over how it could be improved. “I realized I was much more interested in fixing this problem than going out and doing my fundraising work,” she says. She ended up as Director of Strategy and Operations at Citizen Schools, a nonprofit based in Boston, where they used Salesforce to track fundraising and volunteers. She got hooked on the platform and her next job was as a solo Admin and Developer.
Filling in a technical background.
As Susannah was diving into the developer side of Salesforce, she heard about a program called Rad Women Code. It’s a community-lead 10-week course for folks who are interested in learning more about coding in Salesforce. This was a gamechanger for Susannah to give her the bed of knowledge she was missing not coming from a computer science background. “It gave me the confidence and building blocks in order to better utilize tools like Trailhead and the Developer Forums,” Susannah says, letting her push her knowledge even further.
“I never would have imagined this six years before, but I ended up applying for a role in the tech department at a for-profit company,” Susannah says. “I reached out to the person on Success Community, and they immediately asked for my resume and brought me in to interview and the rest is history.”
The change in mindset you need to be a developer.
For Susannah, the biggest part of learning code and the other skills you need to be a developer comes down to mindset. “For me the hardest part, coming from being an admin,” she says, “is with coding you’re never going to do it once and have it work perfectly and not see any errors.” You need to embrace being happy when you get an error because it means you’re closer to figuring out how to get it working. “Embracing that mentality was probably the biggest shift for me,” she says, “just because I code something and it doesn’t work the first time doesn’t mean that I’m a failure, it means that I’m one step closer.”
Today at Boston Scientific, Susannah worked with their Latin American business to create a tool that allows them to route pricing approval through a special process that is different for each person. “One of my colleagues told me it used to take two weeks,” she says, “now it takes them a day.” On the other hand, there are some admin tools that Susannah is grateful to have under her belt.
“If you’re very comfortable with code and you’ve never been an admin, it’s easy to say, ‘We can do that with code, we can do anything with code,’” Susannah says, “but knowing when to use a declarative feature versus programmatic is such an important skill for developers to have. And sometimes, for admins, you can do something declaratively but you have to twist yourself in a pretzel to do it, but it takes three lines of code.”
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Full Show Transcript
Direct download: Discover_Your_Inner_Developer_with_Susannah_St-Germain.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:18am PST