In Blog, Salesforce Community

Welcome to Wizard News!

I’m Brian Kwong your Editor-in-chief of this newspaper. I’ve been working on the platform since 2007 and in Winter ’13 became a Salesforce MVP. I’m both an Administrator and a Developer on and have been almost entirely self-taught on both.

Salesforce Wizard Dreamforce 2013I’m also known as the “Salesforce Wizard” and I have the hat to prove it. I also have the Wizard’s robe and staff too.

I’ve been wearing the robe and hat since 2008 and have been wearing the hat at Dreamforce for a few years now. I decided for the first column of the newspaper I’ll answer a question I’m frequently asked when people first walk up to me while I wear the hat.

Brian, how did you learn so much about Salesforce?

It’s a great question. There are so many people starting out with Salesforce for the first time and want to know where they can learn more – often with no budget.

My answer: A supportive manager, free resources from Salesforce and the Salesforce Community. I owe a lot to the community. I created this blog as part of a way to give back. So here’s a brief post with examples of how I learned Salesforce. I’ll be thanking people along the way.

Supportive Manager

I have to thank my manager at the time. He not only gave me the opportunity to be the administrator and developer of Salesforce – he gave me the time during the day to learn. He was also very supported when I screwed up. So – Thank you Abraham Palmbach for getting me started!

Salesforce Resources

I had the benefit of a Sandbox at my company. I also signed up for a free developer’s org. This is a great option for learning. It may not have your company’s setup, but that can be a GOOD thing! You will often have access to more features than in your company’s Salesforce org. It’ll help broaden your knowledge and give you the option to build demos of those features to help get them at your company. Don’t have a dev org? Go grab one. Right now. I’m serious… I’ll wait. Then go install Mo Tester from Reid Carlberg. It has examples of many of the types of fields and relationships – perfect for learning and testing.

I also spent a large amount of time on the official Salesforce community boards and answers. No question was too naive or silly.

There are also TONS of material Documentation I highly recommend the Fundamentals It’ll teach you a lot about the basic of the platform, but it does exclude standard objects.

I can’t finish a segment about Salesforce Resources without referencing Dreamforce . I’ve gone six times and every year I’ve learned more. The Hands-On training provided there is worth attending alone. Can’t go? Haven’t been? Don’t worry, you can see videos of many of the recorded sessions on Dreamforce’s Youtube Channel

Community Blogs & More

I also owe my thanks to many many people in the community. That’s a key word – community. The majority of my self-education came from the community. There are far too many blogs to list. Here’s some of my repeated “Go tos” when I started learning how to be a Salesforce Admin: Button Click Admin, Michael “Force” Farrington, and Jeff Grosse

As I delved deeper and deeper into Salesforce, our use cases quickly became more complex and I needed to learn code. The beauty of Salesforce is you don’t HAVE to be a programmer to learn. You get get a lot of bang for your buck with the many resources and sample code that’s available.

There are so many blogs out there. These include not only sample code but a nice explanation of what it does. Here’s a few great examples: Jason “TehNrd” Venerable, Jeff Douglas, and Andy Boettcher.

Beyond blogs there’s the Stack Exchange, Developer boards and an IRC Channel #salesforce on Freenode (Join and say “Hi”).

User Group

This got me started on learning how to be an administrator. These resources and people help teach me not just HOW to do something in Salesforce, but also why and when to do something.

One of the biggest changes for me was discovering my local User Group. This gave me great access to different industries, administrators and developers. It helped me realize I’m not alone in my journey to learn Salesforce.

Going to user group meetings also introduced me to some fantastic people who have gone out of the way to help me. Thank you Kevin Swiggum, Andy Ognenoff, and Julia Napolitano.

You can do it too

Yes, it took a lot of time. I made many, many mistakes. It’s how we learn. The community is a great place to learn and grow. One of the first things I do when helping someone enter the Salesforce word is direct them to the Salesforce Success Community and give them the tour. Haven’t joined yet? Stop right now, click that link and go! You can use your Salesforce login for your company or your developer’s org (you have one right?) login. Ask questions. Read Answers. Share your own tidbits and knowledge. Come, join our community.

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  • […] This community cares and genuinely looks after each other. Don’t believe me? Read Cheryl Feldman’s first user group experience. Listen to  Sarah Deutsch on the power of Community podcast on the ButtonClick Admin™. Or check out the magical journey of our resident Wizard, Brian Kwong who will point you to yet more inspiration. […]

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