From graduation to certified Salesforce developer: My three months at Clarity Campus
The team at Clarity Campus in September 2022!
Clarity Campus, Giveclarity’s training programme for those looking to break into the tech industry, had its inaugural year in 2022. As a new employee at the company, I approached my first day of work with a healthy mix of excitement and nerves. In 2021, I made the decision to pursue an M.Sc. in Software Development, a conversion course for graduates with non-technical backgrounds at Queen’s University in Belfast, which involved moving to a new country and exploring a field that was far from my comfort zone of writing and editing. During my studies, I connected with Giveclarity at a virtual careers fair run by the university. Almost immediately, I was drawn to the company’s mission as well as the comprehensive training offered in Clarity Campus.
My walk to work on the first day saw my eagerness to start a new role doing fierce battle with my impostor syndrome. A year ago, I could hardly write a single line of code. Now, I was walking into an office where, after three months, I’d be helping to craft solutions for some of the world’s biggest charities. Was I up to the challenge? I had some doubts, but I was not willing to let them impede my progress after I’d come so far.
Left: The coffee shop where you can sip away all your fears and anxieties amongst our lovely colleagues 😉 Right: Baths from the Victorian bath house upon which the award-winning Ormeau Baths has been built
When I arrived at Ormeau Baths, a co-working space where Giveclarity Northern Ireland operates, I felt my anxiety slowly melt away. I met the other three graduates and our manager at the coffee shop attached to the building, and we all ordered hot drinks, sat down, and got to know each other a little better. This, it turned out, was the perfect introduction to Clarity Campus. It set the tempo for what was to follow. In that first week, we participated in a variety of induction activities, getting-to-know-you exercises, and were gradually exposed to the Salesforce platform.
Left: Here I am taking part in our engaging training activities – which will take you far beyond your office desk! Right: And outside of the Campus, we bonded over our Escape Room shenanigans…
More broadly, Clarity Campus is structured as a two-part training programme. In the first, we focused on learning and preparing for the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam. For this objective, we had the help of two of Giveclarity’s expert trainers, who had years of Salesforce admin and training experience. Each week, we focused on a set of topics that familiarized us with both how the Salesforce platform is configured and what might appear on the exam. In the mornings, we’d start with a learning session, exploring the day’s topic and engaging in hands-on activities to gain more practical experience. Most afternoons we were able to self-study through a variety of resources that Giveclarity provided us.
After taking and passing the admin exams, we shifted our focus to the second part of the programme, where we would engage in more technical work. For this, we benefitted from the combined knowledge of Giveclarity’s Salesforce developers and technical architects. The format of these weeks was similar to the admin weeks, but the topics delved into more programming-related approaches to Salesforce, such as Apex, limits, and triggers. After six weeks of studying, we took and passed the Platform Developer I exam.
The sparkling Platform Developer I certificate!
While the focus of the programme was very much on studying and learning new material, we were, at the same time, never completely siloed from the company at large. During the training programme, we had calls with leads from various departments, who explained to us their role within the company, how their team functioned, and how we might interact with them as new developers. What struck me most about these calls was the openness and curiosity that everyone brought to their work, passionate about helping non-profits through the power of Salesforce.
In those first three months, I – and all the other trainees – have come a long way. In fact, we’re already getting stuck in, working with some of the world’s leading charities, putting our training into practice and using #techforgood.
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Eamon Ronan is a Trainee Technical Consultant at Giveclarity Northern Ireland.