Amanda Beard-Neilson is a well known name within the Salesforce eco-system, Portfolio Manager at Capgemini, Salesforce MVP, London Admins Community Group Leader and London's Calling co-organiser, Amanda has played a huge part in connecting the Salesforce community and encouraging conversation within the Women in Tech space. 

We caught up with Amanda to learn more about where this incredible journey began and how the landscape has changed since entering the industry. Amanda also shared insight on the Salesforce market today and what those new to the industry can do to get ahead.

How did you get into a career in technology?

I am a classic case of Accidental Admin. I was in the Business Development Department when I selected Salesforce for my company to use to identify our customers and track our pipeline. That decision changed my life and kicked started my career in technology - almost by stealth. A year or so after first implementing Salesforce, and becoming the Admin I then moved into the IT department where I then built an asset management system and ran all the IT procurement. I then went into Project Management and focussed on Salesforce as my specialism.

What brought you to the world of Salesforce?

A Google search and the ease of navigating the Salesforce website that helped me, a business user, to begin to understand the world of CRM and for me to select that particular tool, compared to a competitor like Dynamics etc. Best decision ever. 

If you were entering into a career in technology now, what avenue/technology would you choose?

I clumsily fell into technology and have somehow stayed in it, finding a path that I seem to be rather good at which is more organisation, people, strategy and change orientated. If I was entering into this world again then it would be these type of skillsets that I would be looking for. Technology is all about code and businesses need to promote the wider roles of working in technology. IT has long suffered from being a male dominated industry and maybe this is because historically it has been so widely promoted as a code heavy practise, suited to those who are gifted in Maths and Science. Technology, like all business segments, needs a wide range of skillsets and knowledge bases for teams to be high performing and productive. I'm still one of those outlier types, making the best I can in a tech world without a traditional techy background.

What do you think of the current state of the Salesforce market?

Chaotic and very demanding. If you have the skills and can prove them, then the world is your oyster. There is a mass shortage of truly skilled people who have relevant experience of Salesforce implementations. There are also so many trying to break into the market with the hope that one certification and a few Trailhead modules are all they need to succeed and for some this will be the case, but in general experience still wins the day. Recruiters are all hunting unicorns.

What advice would you give to all job seekers at the moment?

If you have Salesforce experience in the industry then give yourself time to choose your next adventure carefully. You have the skills people want so you can prescribe what you want in return. If you are new to the industry and really want that first step on the ladder then prove to the recruiter that you have continuous learning mindset, can solve problems, and be collaborative. Show the certifications and Trailheads that you have completed, but more importantly, show any experience you may have from working with Salesforce. This could be in the form of any volunteering work on an Org, or building a scenario on a Developer Org to solve a problem. Polish your soft skills too. Your ability to speak clearly to convey your message, present in front of others, capture and translate requirements, stay calm under pressure, escalate when needed and deliver are worth their weight in gold. Don't forget, there are more ways into the world of Salesforce than just trying to be an Admin or Developer and not everyone can become a CTA.

Who inspires you in the Salesforce ecosystem?

I won't name individuals as there are too many, however I am inspired by all the Community leaders who have managed to keep their groups united throughout the pandemic and be a source of connection and support. I am also inspired by those who livelihoods were affected and chose to take a leap and give Salesforce a go, and who have subsequently found a new career path.