I’ve spent the majority of my Salesforce career firmly in Admin territory. I’ve always liked it that way, it’s a world I understand. The ability to transform business processes and challenges into solutions coupled with reporting are some things that I enjoy. I also like solving problems, so it works for me. Sounds nerdy, but there you have it.
However, in 2012 my world changed a bit. I left my job on the client side, where I had worked up to leading a Center of Excellence to dip a toe into Salesforce consulting. It wasn’t as tough of a transition because I went from working at an insurance company straight into an insurance project. Easy Peasy. Fast forward two years and I had left Connecticut (if you’re not from the US, it’s between Boston & NYC) was living in London and being coerced into attending my very first Dev Meetup. That was February 2014 and I’ve never looked back.
As you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking.. why would someone who said they are firmly planted in the admin territory get so much value out of a developer group? Well, great question! Going to a developer user group felt like I just added the other half of the puzzle pieces onto what I already knew. Learning about the dev world was the jelly to my existing peanut butter sandwich. (If you know me, you’ll know that I have an intense love of peanut butter, jam optional!)
What this all means is that I learned to expand my thinking and learn a myriad of new ways to solve problems. I may not be able to write code well, but I have come away with a whole new appreciation for the technical challenges that devs face with writing code, integrations and being able to debug why something doesn’t work. On top of this, I’ve extended out my network to meet so many more interesting people. Those dev people are pretty brilliant, I’ve even become friends with a few!
All of this doesn’t mean that I’ve left the admin side and hung up my solution architect hat, but it does mean that I’ve learned about topics and concepts that I would never have been exposed to if I hadn’t stepped outside of my comfort zone. When I get a great idea, oftentimes I will grab one of my favorite devs or architects who will brainstorm with me to make my great idea, amazing.
My favorite part of being in the London Dev User Group is that it’s welcoming to all. Yes, many times it’s a bunch of guys talking about code and dining on Domino’s and Perroni but nobody has ever made me feel like I didn’t belong for not truly being dev. They are inclusive of everyone which one of the reasons that our Women in Tech user group partners with them often. Thanks especially to Keir Bowden, Anup Jadhav, Richard Clark and Francis Pindar for being some of our biggest allies. You guys helped me get this group off of the ground in the early days and we have nothing but love for the devs! Also important to mention our rockstar support from Salesforce, couldn’t do it without all of you! You guys make this community open, inclusive and most of all, a lot of fun.
If you, dear reader, are scared to join a dev group cause you’re an admin.. don’t be. They’re not as scary as they look! Join and attend a meeting as soon as possible. If you don’t like it, you can yell at me in the comments or on twitter. 🙂