David Tawanda joined the Revolent family as a Salesforce Developer and is now working with one of our top clients, a well-known professional services company based in Perth, Australia. We sat down with David to catch up on his career journey from SAP developer into the world of Salesforce – here’s what he had to say about it all!
“After studying engineering at university, I started my career as a SAP software developer. Within SAP there are many different areas you can specialise in, and my specialism was integration between different systems as well as developing software. I always want to learn new things and software development really allows this; it’s also great for your career as new technologies come with skills shortages so it makes you very employable.
I became a specialist within SAP, and over a six-year period I joined several big consultancy companies working on projects which gave me fantastic exposure. A lot of this involved working in the public sector, working on large projects. When COVID hit, however, a lot of SAP projects were put on hold so I needed to think, ‘what can I do next?’ That’s what led me to Salesforce and to Revolent.”
The next steps
“Just looking at the market, you can see there’s still a high demand for Salesforce and MuleSoft skills so this seemed like a really good long term career move. I know my skills were very transferable too. To me, software is just an enabler, a tool to be learnt. The skills you need to develop are around mapping business processes, how to bring these out within the software you’re using, how to extract the business requirements, document them and present a solution in a clear, concise way to the organisation. This is what a developer needs to do.
A career in Salesforce is like going on a lifelong learning journey. There’s constantly new certifications or new career paths to look into. When I talk with my peers, we’re always discussing what we want to do next from a learning point of view. You can really take your career in a lot of different directions; within SAP, it’s the opposite, you become siloed in one position. If someone is doing access control, for example, that might be all they do. Whereas in Salesforce, as an admin or developer, you get to do a bit of everything. There’s not the same boundaries. The sprints are shorter too. We tend to work in two-week sprints so it’s really fast-paced which I enjoy a lot.
As someone relatively new to Salesforce, I’ve been blown away by the community. It’s not something I’ve experienced working in other technologies. Very senior people willingly give their time to help others, outside of their own company and there’s a ton of information, free training, and meetings you can get access to. Through Revolent, I’ve met two or three directors and architects who are like my mentors. They’ve been so valuable to me and given me really honest advice. It’s an amazing culture.
Revolent’s program has been a great way for me to make this leap into a new career and build some very powerful connections. The training is broken down so you really get to develop a deep understanding of the platform. This is crucial as you need to fully understand the capabilities of Salesforce so you can advise clients in the best way. From a development perspective, there’s a lot more rules in Salesforce, but once you’ve learnt those, I think it’s actually easier to develop than other technologies I’ve used. You can configure a lot on Salesforce too as opposed to developing.
Currently, I’m placed at a leading professional services firm as a Revolent Salesforce Developer, doing both client-facing and development work. Day to day my role includes meeting with professionals from across the business, gathering requirements, mapping out processes, recommending solutions, writing up documentation, building prototypes, and presenting proof of concepts to the business. I also manage a development team in India, liaising between the client and the project team.
Advice for starting your Salesforce career
My best advice for people looking to join Revolent or start a career in Salesforce is twofold:
- You have to put in the hours to learn. There’s no way around this, but there are so many useful resources out there. I found Trailhead a great place to start, but there’s also a lot of great content on YouTube, and Salesforce Ben is also a great resource. The most valuable activity I’ve found is attending the Salesforce meet ups. Just listening to other people’s experiences or things they are working on is really interesting and will give you so much information that would otherwise be hard to get. At Revolent, they run Spotlight sessions with industry-leading speakers who talk about their experience, and you get to ask them questions about what they did and how they did it. You can learn a lot from the successes and failures of others.
- The other thing I would say is that clients aren’t necessarily going to be testing your knowledge of Salesforce. Obviously, that’s important, but I’d say your ability to be able to break down problems into smaller chunks and solve them is equally so. Also, how well you can translate the client’s needs into documentation and software is super valuable, as is being able to manage their expectations. It’s not enough to be a strong developer, you need to be able to understand and talk to a client appropriately.