Pavlo is one of the key figures who played a crucial role in establishing our Cherkasy office and has dedicated more than ten years to his career at Avenga. Find out more in our article!
Salesforce ecosystem and a culture of self-education: an interview with Pavlo Shchur, Software Engineer
Salesforce opens doors for anyone who wants to create business applications using declarative programming tools or code for both front-end and back-end development. Pavlo’s career journey serves as an inspiring example of how people without IT-related background can enter the industry and unlock endless development prospects by leveraging Salesforce technology.
Pavlo, how did your journey in Salesforce development begin?
I have two degrees, one in economics and another in philosophy. I was one of those students who enjoyed taking extra courses and participating in sports clubs. Typically, these were language courses.
Back then, IT wasn’t my main interest, but I had some savings, so I bought a laptop and enrolled in two Java courses. As these courses were coming to an end, just like my fellow students, I began applying for different jobs. I applied to the Salesforce Academy at Corevalue (now Avenga), and after successfully completing it, I joined the team as a Trainee.
At the very beginning, it was tough. While other students became Salesforce Developer Trainees in just three months, it took me twice as long — six months. Nevertheless, my mentors put remarkable trust in me, and I’m incredibly thankful to them.
From the moment I first got to know Salesforce, I was drawn to its versatility. It opened up a world where I could write code, work with ready-made solutions, develop in different directions, and complete Trailhead (a free training platform by Salesforce). It was all incredibly engaging and provided ample learning opportunities. The versatility of Salesforce fascinated me back then and continues to pique my interest today.
Tell us more about Salesforce and what its main features are.
Salesforce encompasses a variety of products that solve different business tasks for companies and their clients.
A typical organization has processes for acquiring customers, selling products, and supporting products already sold. Salesforce offers solutions like Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud, and Service Cloud to handle these tasks. We can also utilize Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot) for a more detailed approach to marketing processes. If you need to build a proposal generation process, Salesforce CPQ is available within Sales Cloud. For enhancing customer interactions with existing clients, there’s Field Service (Field Service Lightning).
Speaking of a person’s economic interactions, Salesforce offers solutions that span nearly all business processes encountered throughout life. It includes Education Cloud for educational institutions, Health Cloud for medical facilities, and for financial matters like mortgages, there’s Financial Services Cloud, and the list continues.
What opportunities for engineers are available in the Salesforce ecosystem?
First of all, there is a vast labor market that is continually evolving. Secondly, there’s a relatively low entry threshold. Of course, the impact of the crisis and the war is currently evident, but before, even with basic knowledge of Java, you could step into the role of Salesforce Developer Trainee.
Another important aspect is the culture of self-education fostered by Salesforce. Through initiatives like Trailhead, they invest substantial resources to enhance content, build a community, and provide a lot of information on working with their products. As a result, it becomes much easier to develop.
Finally, for engineers looking to venture into new roles, Salesforce provides personal development plans covering all necessary certifications and knowledge.
You are among the top 50 in the Trailhead Leaderboard. Tell us, what benefits does completing Trailheads provide to a developer?
It’s worth noting that I’m among the top 50 by the number of points earned in the Salesforce Trailhead Trailblazers Leaderboard. It’s an unofficial rating, but still, I am grateful to be here.
This is where Trailhead comes in handy, as it allows you to learn how to tackle business problems using Salesforce tools. It’s incredibly valuable to see how these problems are resolved and relate these solutions to your own project, which helps not only gain knowledge of new technologies but also cultivate a business-oriented mindset.
For example, Salesforce has recently introduced interesting tasks focused on data quality and integrations — Data Quality Specialist Superbadge and Integration Security Specialist Superbadge. Additionally, I would recommend that Salesforce engineers take all the lessons about Flow because, in my opinion, it is fundamental for developing on Salesforce.
Salesforce specialists are required to obtain various certifications. How do they impact a developer’s career?
Salesforce certifications are an ideal way to improve a developer’s skill set. The Developer Credentials page provides a list of certifications necessary for Salesforce developers, as well as a list of topics and learning resources to help you acquire them.
However, I wouldn’t recommend limiting yourself exclusively to these certifications. For instance, when I passed the User Experience (UX) Designer certification, which, among other things, touches on the topic of prototypes in development, I mastered Figma at a basic level. Thus, creating our own prototypes streamlined the communication between the team and the client, ultimately enabling us to deliver superior solutions.
Certifications are often perceived as a form of self-education or personal accomplishment. But passing certifications serves a vital purpose — it helps you understand whether you are making progress or not. It becomes a measurable and official validation of your knowledge level.
Please tell us about a Salesforce project you’ve worked on, and that stands out the most for you.
I believe this is my current project. Firstly, it is fairly complex and, as a result, offers ongoing opportunities for personal growth. Secondly, the product we’re developing is used by clients worldwide, and that’s a great source of motivation for me.
Right now, the project involves around 200 professionals working on an application for the medical sector. The project is divided into several modules, each with dedicated teams of Salesforce, iOS, QA Engineers, and Scrum Masters. I am the Salesforce Lead in one of these teams.
Our team is mainly engaged in developing a video conferencing player akin to Microsoft Teams or Google Meet. The player can be launched from the organization’s Salesforce platform and an iOS application on an iPad. Ensuring data synchronization across these platforms is an ongoing necessity. While this does bring its set of challenges, it’s also remarkably engaging. Additionally, our functionality closely intertwines with the modules managed by other teams. So, we always consider the overall project architecture and maintain open communication with many colleagues to achieve the desired result.
Our product is utilized by the top pharmaceutical companies globally. We regularly receive requests for enhancing existing functionalities and developing new features. This serves as strong motivation for our team, as we understand that our work directly benefits our clients. Consequently, we are constantly driven to deliver efficiently and promptly.
Could you share with us more about your professional development?
To me, it’s crucial that our clients and end users positively perceive everything we do. You should always strive to continually enhance the product, making it more user-friendly and beneficial for businesses. While this is no easy feat, developing the following skills can help you create a great product with a competitive edge:
- Ability to delve into the client’s business processes to clearly understand which solution is the best.
- The ability to say “no.” What the client wants is not always the best solution, so it’s important to possess both the courage and skills to offer proper recommendations in a timely and reasoned manner.
- Communication skills. You need to communicate your ideas to both the client and the team. Involving the team in the decision-making process is important, and at times, you may need to persuade them that it’s the best choice.
- Solutions must be timely. Businesses are rarely monopolies in the market; therefore, a successful decision is one that resolves a business problem promptly before competitors do.
- Achieving all of the above is only possible with the essential knowledge. This knowledge isn’t solely gained through solving current issues; it also requires ongoing self-education. You must constantly learn and be ahead of the curve, exploring various alternative approaches before they become common practice.
What resources do you use for self-development, and would you recommend them to our readers?
In addition to Trailhead and certifications, I regularly tune into the Developers Podcast. There are nearly 200 episodes now. These days, I’m listening to the 75th episode, which covers Lightning’s performance.
The podcasts frequently discuss topics that can be useful for development or share valuable insights about the Salesforce ecosystem so everyone can find something interesting. For example, episode 20 features a guest sharing a unique approach to monitoring specific Salesforce org limits, while episode 33 delves into Salesforce API Collection, a valuable resource for working on integrations.
Pavlo, what fuels your commitment to continuous learning, and what are your career aspirations?
I always have a plan for the future. And I always know what I will do for the next six months or a year. I keep a notepad on my desk, where I jot down my tasks for the following day each evening. One page is usually a daily plan. At the end of the notepad, I list more significant goals I aim to accomplish within a certain timeframe. So, every day, small steps bring me closer to achieving something more meaningful.
I also have a personal development plan within Avenga. We generally plan activities for a 6-month period: obtaining certifications, taking courses, developing new skills, taking on new responsibilities, etc.
Right now, my goal is to enter the top 30 by the number of points on the Salesforce Trailhead Trailblazers Leaderboard and pass some more certifications in the coming year. I don’t have any special secrets for achieving these objectives; I simply love what I do, and it motivates me.
Pavlo, thank you for sharing your career story. We believe your passion for self-education and continuous development will inspire others to acquire new skills, stay committed to their aspirations, and join the Salesforce community. We wish you success in all your endeavors.
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It’s always interesting to manage an interview with a journalist, even if it’s a former one. At Avenga we have specialists with unique career stories and outstanding life experiences.
Whether you’re interested in Java engineering or simply looking for motivation to make a career change, this interview is a must-read for everyone.