We recently caught up with Christy Bottomer, Project Architect / Project Lead at Brightgen. Christy's infectious energy and enthusiasm to ensure women are presented within the industry and her team, make her a pioneer in this space.
Christy is currently leading a team where 53% of them are women. When asked about her team Christy said "This is a huge shift to what you usually find, and purely circumstantial - the selection was based on technical skills. The right people for the requirements just happen to be ladies :)".
How did you get into a career in technology?
Simply put, my parents. My dad is a massive nerd and is incredibly intelligent. He helped me write my first computer program at 7 years old and he's challenged me ever since. My mum has always thought more of me than I have ever thought of myself. At the end of high school, when I had no direction and no confidence, she encouraged me to apply for a spot at the University of Dundee to study Computing. I owe everything to them.
What brought you to the world of Salesforce?
A SOQL 101 error. If you know, you know.
I was working as a .NET developer at an end-user and our team inherited Salesforce after an acquisition. The system was not stable and you could not save an opportunity without this ugly error message filling your screen. I'd never seen Salesforce, let alone know where to start - so I did what any self-respecting developer would do and Googled it. I found Trailhead, I found the community. I kicked the error's butt and learned all about Salesforce limits and Bulkification in the process. The rest is history.
If you were entering into a career in technology now, what avenue/technology would you choose?
Whichever technology excites you and makes you want to push yourself to keep learning. The important part is to get the fundamentals right. As a developer, it's around how to structure code, how to build effectively and safely and how to think critically. The technology you choose is less important, because syntax can be picked up relatively quickly.
What do you think of the current state of the Salesforce market?
It's incredible. Salesforce is growing year on year and it doesn't seem to be tapering off. This drives a huge need for talent across many different avenues - from Admin to Architect, BAs, PMs, and everything in between. In the Salesforce ecosystem, a good candidate will not be out of a job for long.
What advice would you give to all job seekers at the moment?
Interviewing is a skill in itself. It takes practice to be good at it so don't feel disheartened if you don't get the first job you apply for. Also, don't sell yourself short. If you can do everything in a job spec then you are probably overqualified for the role and will not stay in that position for very long. Stretch yourself, but be clear with the hiring manager about where you are against their expectations.
Who inspires you in the Salesforce ecosystem?
This is going to sound cheesy, but working at Brightgen I really don't have to look far for inspiration. We have amazing technical and non-technical people who inspire me on a daily basis. We've also got our resident celeb in Keir Bowden as our CTO (BobBuzzard to many), who actually wrote a number of the blog posts that got me over that first SOQL 101 error - and now he's my boss!!
Outside of Brightgen, there is, of course, the amazing Gemma Blezard. A fantastic human, leader and mentor. I can only hope that I can have the same impact on 1 person as she has had on our community. (Gemma, if you're reading this - you are wonderful and I'm a huge fan! 🙂)