• Emily Malone

Learn while you earn with the oe:gen academy

Hi, my name’s Coby. I’m 18 and currently training to become an administrator in Salesforce at oe:gen, but also now starting to look at some development work. Here’s how I got to where I am now through the oe:gen academy.

Life before oe:gen

Before working here I was a lifeguard while completing my A-levels. Juggling these two was a big challenge; I was working 25 hours per week life-guarding, going straight from school, and trying to fit in revision for my exams at the same time.

For my A-levels I studied maths, mechanics, information technology (IT) and business studies, which landed me three grades of E, B, and D — not what I expected. After my A-levels I decided I was going to take a year out because the idea of going to university was a little daunting for me, for the sole reason that I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

From a week of work experience to full-time paid trainee

I thought it would be a good idea to take a year out working as a lifeguard to try and find what sparked my interests. Turned out the Summer after my A-levels, I quit life-guarding and was looking for something to do. I was already interested in computers but had no experience with them, and knew it would be hard to get a job.

I did some research and managed to get myself a week of work experience at oe:gen. And at the end of this week, they asked me to stay another week. Then after that second week, they offered me a paid job as a trainee!

Learning with Trailhead

After being at oe:gen just over a month, I’m loving it. Everybody here is really supportive of my progression, and so far, I’ve been working hard to learn as much as possible on Salesforce by using a platform called Trailhead.

Trailhead is Salesforce’s educational platform, providing developers and administrators with an extensive learning path through the key features of Salesforce. It’s completely free and an extremely good educator.

On the platform they have trail modules, which are essentially courses for a specific feature of Salesforce. I’ve completed over 100 since being at oe:gen; helping widen my knowledge of the administrator side of Salesforce.

One of the ways that helps me learn is learning from failure, and Trailhead also has a feature called ‘Super Badges’ which really helps with this. These are a summary of what you’ve learned that you can apply to a real-world business requirement. They’re a lot harder than modules and take a lot more time, with very specific requirements and tedious error messages. They can be a real challenge, but they help you get a better grasp on Salesforce by forcing you to learn from failure. Unless, of course, you can get it right first time!

The future

oe:gen is also starting to drip feed me client work, which at times can seem quite intimidating due to gaps in my knowledge of Salesforce. But I find it a really good way of learning as it helps contextualise my learnings and fill in those gaps. I’m always greeted with encouragement and my training has an agile approach with frequent reviews, encouraging marginal gains and constant progression.

As I’m still new to Salesforce, oe:gen are supportive of whichever path I wish to take. The approach I’m taking is to learn as much of the admin side as possible, as this covers the basics of Salesforce. Now as I’m starting to get the hang of admin, I’m dabbling in a bit of development to try and find what most sparks my interest.

Coding has always been something that has intrigued me, but something I’ve never had the resources and time to learn. Salesforce uses it’s own coding language called APEX, and I hope to try and learn this in upcoming months — especially being surrounded by supportive Devs. Even if I don’t go down the development route, the capabilities of coding will do more to support any admin work I do.

The oe:gen academy

In closing, if you’re just finishing school and don’t know what to do, don’t worry — you have plenty of time to decide. Let me set a precedent that even if you don’t get the grades you hoped for, there are other ways to get yourself in desired career paths and companies. Learning on the job and getting hands-on experience is one of the best ways to advance in an industry, and the oe:gen academy is a perfect example of that.

Get in touch with oe:gen today to find out more about how you can learn while you earn like me! Or come along to our Salesforce Admin Group on 11th September or our Women in Tech event on 9th October.