In the first of our blog series showcasing our #AwesomeAllies, we get chatting to Kid Jansen. Kid has a whopping sixteen certifications, including some Designer ones. In addition he is a public supporter of LadiesBeArchitects and is working with the Netherlands user group leaders to raise the profile of CTA in the Benelux region of Europe. We are very proud to feature his story!
From Kid, in his own words…
“I’m Kid Jansen, 30 years old. Currently I’m living in Haarlem and work in Amsterdam, at Intigris / FieldBuddy. I started out with Salesforce 2.5 years ago. Before then I had never seen Salesforce (or at least not knowingly), but I did have experience with CRM, because I was a functional administrator for the CRM system at the university for most of my time there.
“In my spare time I play rugby and do some weightlifting, go for some drinks with friends, but I’m also great at being a couch potato and watch movies or series all day (I found this approach also works great for certifications when using video courses).”
Tell us how you heard about Ladies Be Architects
“Ladies be Architects is mentioned quite often in the Dutch user group meet-ups, but I really got to know what it entails when Gemma gave her presentation for the Benelux Developer User Group meet-up ‘Demystifying CTA’.”
What feelings did Ladies Be Architects inspire within you?
“I found it quite surprising that there are only 250 CTAs in the world, but even more so that only 10 or so are women. For a small IT company, we have quite a few women and it’s definitely more fun and a better work environment if it’s not just guys.
“I love it when someone works hard to stand out from the crowd and it’s hard to think of a better example than a woman becoming a CTA in such a male dominated ecosystem, I can only encourage that.”
Tell us why the CTA journey is important to you
“Being a university dropout, I was already happy to have landed a job back in 2016 at what’s now my previous employer. Just one week after seeing Salesforce for the first time I started out with ADM-201 course and shortly after I passed my Administrator exam on first attempt. A few months later I repeated that process with App Builder. Back then things like CTA or having 16 certifications felt like looking up a cliff, wondering how anyone ever got up there.
“About a year ago the ball really started rolling though. I felt I could do more and moreover that I wanted to do more. I got the opportunity to attend a Field Service Lightning introduction course. During the course one of the instructors said something that spiked my interest; at the time there were fewer than 20 certified Field Service Lightning consultants in the whole of Europe. So that weekend I passed Service Cloud, Field Service Lightning, Sales Cloud and Advanced Administrator in under 48 hours – coincidentally a few days back I heard I was the 26th person to have passed Field Service Lightning Consultant in Europe – and Platform Developer I the weekend after. That short sprint resulted in five job offers and in November I started out at Intigris / FieldBuddy.
“After seeing what could come from a bit of hard work and how doable it is – I wouldn’t say it was easy, but it wasn’t nearly as hard to do this as I expected – I was a lot more confident. The interviews showed me that the certifications almost completely compensated for my lack of a university diploma, so I grew more and more ambitious and decided that I wanted to become a CTA.
“Initially I planned to do all the certifications for Application Architect and System Architect before the end of 2017, but with a 125 km commute in each direction that didn’t really work out; just couldn’t find the time.
“A few months back though I had the opportunity to stay at family in Haarlem – just a 25 minute drive from work – and suddenly I had plenty of time for studying. In January I had also started using Pardot a bit, so instead of diving straight into the deep end of the pool with the designer certifications I started again by dipping my toes in the water with Pardot Specialist and Consultant.
“This completely got me back in the flow and in just over two months I did both Pardot certifications as well as all five required designer certifications, resulting in 9 certifications with Application Architect and System Architect included.
“When I started out with the architect exams I thought I would have to do a lot of studying in order to pass these exams, but surprisingly enough I was already familiar with a lot of the content from my day to day experience with Salesforce. Studying turned out to be mostly honing the knowledge I already had and unlearning some anti-patterns that sneaked their way in when I first started out with the functionality. These exams might seem daunting, but you’ll be surprised at what you already know and the knowledge you gain is not just useful for people aspiring to become a CTA, but also for every consultant and developer.”
What’s the next step for you on your Journey to CTA?
“Not really planning on doing just one step at a time. I want to complete the lower levels of the pyramid, except for the new Commerce Cloud Technical Solution Designer certification, with Community Cloud and Mobile Architecture, but I also want to start preparing for the review board soon.
“The review board still seems very daunting and my biggest concern is not knowing how to prepare for it. To remedy this, I’m actually working on an initiative together with Sergey Erlikh to start our own CTA study program, with help from Salesforce.
“Right now it feels like ‘I’m Application and System Architect, now what?’ I don’t really know where to start. With the study program we hope to fix that by having sessions on how you’re rated, mock review boards and practice your presentation skills and quick solution design.”
How can men help women to achieve success in the architect programme?
“In her presentation for the Demystifying CTA meet-up Gemma said that women are quite often their own worst enemy; lacking the confidence to be very ambitious and think they can reach a goal such as CTA. I think the first step would be fixing that. In my experience most men actually like seeing women in high technical positions, especially if it’s well deserved and the result of hard work. Maybe we could encourage women more to pursue larger goals, or otherwise motivate them.
“From there on I don’t think it would differ that much from helping other men achieve success in the architect program.”