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What does it mean to be a Salesforce Technical Architect? What do they even do all day?
Welcome to Part 1 in the 2-part “Use the force.com” Series. In this episode, we’re going to experience a day in the life, hour by hour, of Ruud Erie, a Salesforce Technical Architect at Oplyst International, so you can decide if this is a career you can see yourself doing! Ruud works with different companies to create & design software systems that can help enable them do business faster, engage with their customers, provide better customer service, and find new customers. And Salesforce customizations is a really hot skill right now!
Mat [00:01:15] Welcome to Part 1 In the two part Use the Force dot.com series. In this episode we’re going to experience a day in the life hour by hour of Ruud Erie, a Salesforce technical architect at Oply international so you can decide if this is a career you can see yourself doing. Ruud works with different companies to create and design software systems that can help enable them to do business faster engage with their clients provide better services and find new customers. Salesforce customization is a really hot skill right now. So let’s learn all about it and get right into the day.
Krista [00:01:57] at seven thirty in the morning on a Wednesday in Brooklyn and Ruud is starting his day with some sunlight meditation coffee and the piano. After that he’s checking his emails from his clients and tenants because well if he doesn’t now he won’t be able to until after work. He’s that busy Route city bikes to his office and is at his desk by 945 a.m. today. Routes participating in a standup sprint planning code review and collective and personal story tasks lets me route and learn more about what he does.
Ruud [00:02:26] Hi my name is Ruud Erie. I’m a Salesforce architect. So a Salesforce architect works with different companies to create and design software systems. That can help enable them to do business faster engage with their customers. Provide better customer service and find new customers. So Salesforce is a well Salesforce as a company. The company itself it has a platform and that platform is called Force.com. So within Force.com You have all these different clouds that are built on top of forced dot.com the actual platform. And so what that platform represents is they call it a multi-tenant architecture which is basically a whole bunch of data centers that are used by all of Salesforce his customers and they basically share that pool of resources of computing power and that kind of thing.
Ruud [00:03:17] and within Salesforce when you become a Salesforce customer you’re given an instance of salesforce which is basically like an office in an office building. So you’re given a suite and whatever you can do whatever you want in that suite Salesforce has. So when you’re building an app you’re building an app for your particular suite. So you’re adding an office that’s a studio you’re adding an office that’s a you know that’s for accounting or something like that. So you’re building all of these different applications for your specific business and for your specific processes. Now if you wanted to be a product vendor on salesforce you’d be creating something for other customers in other offices to be able to use it.
Mat [00:03:56] Yeah it’s. So it could kind of be comparable to like WordPress plugins in a sense.
Ruud [00:04:02] Yeah exactly. Yeah. Yeah.
Ruud [00:04:04] Or Apple with the you know app store in that kind of thing. Yes. So Apple iOS would be the would be force dot com. And then the apps on top of it would either be built by you or they’d be built by third party vendors. And so Salesforce has these different offerings they have sales cloud they have service cloud they have commerce cloud they have you know the philanthropy cloud financial cloud and all these different offerings that are built on Forbes.com. So where Apex comes into play is that if you want to create a custom application on the force dot com platform you would use apex to create that application. So visual force where visual force comes into play is visual force is almost is like an HD a specialized h t AML where like if you want to build custom pages you know custom functionality in that kind of thing within four star com you would use visual force to Display, like Control the view of your applications. It’s still a coding language. Its more view based. So it’s not Apex would be like the business processes when this information comes in. This is what I want you to do or I want you to run these functions and calculate prices for these things or that kind of stuff. Whereas visual forces. This is how I want you to display the data.
Mat [00:05:19] there’s two versions of Salesforce right now. Classic which is very popular in the market and Salesforce lightning. The newest version. In Ruud’s opinion, He believes Salesforce lightning is the way forward because it allows users to create component based applications.
Ruud [00:05:35] the reason why is because it allows you to create component based applications. And what that means is that instead of just building a general page that’s showing you know different pieces of information what you can do is you can actually create different components and then use them across your mobile apps your Web site internally within your salesforce org and so you can actually what that allows you to do is that allows you to plug and play like once you write these components out you can then drag and drop them you can have an admin drag and drop them to different pages and that kind of thing and so they’re self-contained pieces of functionality that you can then use anywhere.
Krista [00:06:15] Now that we’ve got the basics let’s get back to the day. It’s nine forty five and reads attending the morning stand up which is a part of the agile process. It’s a meeting where the team can check in and get aligned and updated on the progress and roadblocks of the current sprint that they’re in a sprint is a defined amount of time to achieve certain goals.
Mat [00:06:34] the roles that make up Ruud’s team are admins developers and people like Ruud, the architects. Along with his stakeholders Ruud and his team work together to create the final product or deliverables for his clients.
Ruud [00:06:47] every person in that Salesforce instance plays a key role in keeping the org going. So on the development side kind of works with different department’s different business departments to figure out what are the business processes needed in order to be able to help close more sales find more deals provide better customer service. So an admin would be is kind of like a principal in a school. So they basically they manage the actual Salesforce instance itself. They work with executives to manage permissions who’s allowed to see certain data across the or who’s allowed to access certain features and that kind of thing. They also help manage what pages users are allowed to see and I’ve seen admins also be used to help manage customers as well like different customer OGs. So to be a really good developer you kind of have to be a good admin.
Ruud [00:07:35] You had to have to be a better admin than the admins because when things break you have to be able to know is this something that I need to go into the code to fix or is this something that I can you know find within the settings in the setup in order for me to be able to you know to manage. So you have to be you have to kind of be aware of both sides both sides of it whereas not on the admin side they’ll be able to know fairly quickly if it’s a code issue whereas and then they pass it off to a developer to be able to handle that for them. Where I’d say being an architect differs from you know being a developer is an architect has to have a solid understanding of the different businesses and the sales goals and the different goals of the company and the markets that the company is in. So understanding that allows them to be able to provide the right designs for you know for the applications and then the developers would then go in and implement that strategy. Another aspect of architecture that’s slightly different that that’s different from the developers I would say would be understanding all of the different systems that are that come into play when it comes to the application itself. So I think that would probably be yeah. The application design understanding the business and then also working with the executives to provide the right guidance in terms of based on based on their business based on their current application and how things are organized and then based on what their strategic goals are like what they’re trying to do what they need to do in order for them to reach their goals. That’s where the art that the architect comes into play.
Krista [00:09:05] It’s now 10 30.The standup has ended and root is reviewing code and open merge requests.
[00:09:10] so usually around that time let’s say a developer has submitted you know says submitted some code and that kind of thing. My job is then to review that code to make sure. So we one of the processes you know that every company that I work at I try to make sure that their processes and the processes and guidelines in place to keep everything uniform. So there’s always like a style guide that I you know that I provide or that I follow in order to make sure that you know code is written in such a way to make it easy to read and easy to manage so that over time it becomes more of an asset than you know something that oh I don’t want to go in there because everything’s a mess.
Krista [00:09:49] OK so have you ever gone to developers and been like I can’t look at this yet until you. Yes. So how did. Yes right. All right.
Ruud [00:09:55] so there’s that. That’s actually part of the process of reviewing the code because you want to look at you know what’s being written how it’s being written and you want to understand the thought process behind it. So that way you can make sure that when you approve for that code to be added to you know added to the product that you’re able to that it’s you know the code that’s not going to break anything else or something that is able to be extended later in the future which you probably will be you know. So a merge request in git. Which is which is like a version control software that you use when you’re writing code and what it provides is like an opportunity for you to manage your code and share your code with different developers and then not have it all get messed up. So basically when you’re writing you when you’re writing code you have like master branch that contains all of your you know all your code in its most recent and most stable state. And then from there you can kind of branch create your own instance of that code and branch off. And so what a merge request represents is when you’re bringing that code that the developer has written back into the master branch. OK so now you’re creating a new version
Mat [00:11:07] It’s now 11 15 and Rudy’s is focused on sprint planning making sure his team is on schedule and working out logistics for future Sprint. There are times when parties don’t agree on how to go about certain things but Ruth says that that’s inevitable. What’s important to remember when navigating disagreements is finding a middle ground.
Ruud [00:11:28] Kind of have to understand these different parties are your customers. So you have to understand what it is that these customers want and then kind of work with them to find a middle ground about you know what and what are the things that can be done and what can’t be done within that space. It’s always about at the end of the day everyone wants to be successful. You know you want to build a great company and stuff. So how do we get past the personal side of things to go in and build you know build the best product possible. Our team is absolutely fantastic because we do work like a well-oiled machine because everyone shares the same vision product gives us the direction and the visual representations of what they actually need built. And then it’s our job to work with them to let them know these are the technical limitations. These are the things that can be done. This is what can be done within this current sprint. You know maybe the task is too big for two or three weeks Sprint or something like that. So you want to be. So that’s where the compromise comes in because you have to maybe it’s something that needs to be broken down into over a course of several sprints and then an agile that’s called an epic an epic is a task that takes more than one sprint to complete and a story would be like a task that can be done within one sprint.
Ruud [00:12:40] so it’s like a unit of epic. I mean the best way to solve a problem is before there is one. And so in the sprint planning phase we can kind of say we have a good perspective on you know what can be done what’s possible within you know there are a lot of amount of time. And so we you know we’ll be a little bit more conservative about the tasks that we take on because it’s never it’s never bad if we complete the task early and then pick up some new work from that that was going to be done in the next sprint but it’s always you know. But it kind of sucks if you know planned on getting things done and you didn’t get it done so we tried to make sure that we manage the workload before in the planning phase. So that way we can deliver the things that we need to. But anytime I mean communication and being transparent is extremely important. And so communicating with the stakeholders and letting them know what the challenges are and telling them that these are you know what. You know what we can deliver. I think a lot of times the teams are OK as long as you’re open and transparent the last thing your stakeholders your customers or your clients want is last minute news. So the sooner you know the sooner you should be telling them.
Krista [00:13:51] Noon means lunch for some people but not for Ruud. He takes this time to write out the technical tasks that need to get done so progress can be tracked. Ruud is not allowed to get into specifics of the tasks he’s working on but generally.
Ruud [00:14:03] It’s always important to create all the new the new tasks so that we can get accountability and visibility on the work that’s being done. And so you know it can rate. It can range from it whether it’s my responsibility to provide new designs you know for API or something like that or to write tasks that require extending lighting components or writing you know writing certain Apex code or that kind of thing or And it’s either writing the stories for that or the technical stories for that. Or I’m actually just working on those particular tasks that I’ve assigned to myself.
Ruud [00:14:36] On the business side usually if I’m writing you know a set of stories for like my off shore team or something like that a lot of times I’ve already met with you know we’ve met with my clients and I understand you know what their different needs are. So then from there I can kind of break down what you know what are the things that I need to get built. Like I remember I had you know a client a manufacturing company. They wanted me to build a new page that allowed them to be able to have their form that they use to be mobile friendly for them and then they wanted so that way the sales people can be on their cell phones and be able to put in data regarding a deal or place a sample order. That kind of thing. And so when I was writing stories for that particular task what I did was you know I broke down. First I need a component. We need components that can do this this and this and then from there I would kind of get specific with the actual technical requirements that I needed to have. I needed to have validation so the user can’t type in you know a whole bunch of nonsense in it. And the record actually gets saved. I want to make sure that if the user goes back to that particular record and they saved you know they saved the record but they wanted to edit it that all of the information is still displayed within the field so they don’t have to retype it. I want to make sure that the page itself is able to fit on a smaller screen and then and actually look in a way that actually makes sense for the user so it’s responsive. So those so things like that like actually breaking down the granular tasks that actually need to be done.
Ruud [00:16:05] So that way when I you know I can’t look over their shoulder but what I can do is I can you know hold them accountable to these deliverables and as long as that gets delivered then you know everything’s OK.
Mat [00:16:15] 2:00 p.m. rolls around and it’s time for lunch. Ruud fasts in the morning. So it’s his first meal of the day. So you know it’s going to be a good one. At 245 Ruud is on to more development slash engineering.
Mat [00:16:29] Can you kind of paint a picture of what you look like when you’re in the zone when you’re doing engineering work writing code. You head down in the computer all the time headphones in music maybe pretty much paint that picture.
Ruud [00:16:41] Sure. So I’m on my machine. I have you know two I have two main monitors and then my laptop monitors so I use all three. I usually I’m usually writing code on one while I have my Salesforce instance and the other maybe to see you know what it is that I’m building and that kind of stuff. Other times I might be you know I always got some headphones in and you know either listening to music maybe listening to a podcast or something helping me to stay focused.
Ruud [00:17:07] another part of my role is you know mentoring and helping you know helping my other by the engineers on my team. And so sometimes if they’re blocked I will you know sit down with them and review the code do some peer programming help them solution out the things that I’ve assigned to them and then I would say the other aspect would be the you know either other different planning meetings or different technical meetings because you know in any enterprise company that you work for is going to have different engineering different departments within engineering or different teams within engineering and sometimes you know we have to collaborate with those teams. And so you know I’ll meet with those stakeholders to be able to let them know what we’re planning or what our needs are in order for us to be able to you know get things done within our current sprint.
Mat [00:17:51] and you’re no distractions during this time. Yeah usually phones off
Ruud [00:17:55] So I’ll still take you know I’ll still take text messages or something like that but I try to keep my phones on silent and so unless you know something like I actually seed the phone unless I actually see the phone like light up or something like that I might not know that a you know a call came in or something like that. But yeah. So its most of the time it’s you know because what we’re doing. Well what we’re measured on is what we deliver at the end of our sprint. You know our development hours are it’s the nine to five. But it’s also you know if you’ve got to do something outside of work like if you have something that you know you needed to go to a doctor’s appointment or something like that you know you take your laptop home with you and you know you finish up when you can in that kind of thing. So it’s an it’s a high trust environment because we at the end of the day you want to be able to work with people you that you trust and people that you know that are going to do what they say that they’re going to do and can deliver on time.
Mat [00:18:44] So. I want to just ask a little bit how you work with these sprints right. So you have you have a set task that you want to get done right. Is it in your head like? And I get I get that there’s stories and then there’s like longer term projects but like either type of person like you start something you can’t go home until you finish it. Or do you ever like stop a project stop working and say All right I’m going to come back tomorrow and finish. Yes.
Ruud [00:19:11] It’s actually in programming is actually really healthy to take a break sometimes come back to your tasks because what happens is that sometimes you get so wrapped up in what you’re doing that you know taking a break you know taking a walk and you know grabbing a coffee or something like that or you know playing foosball or getting a massage or something. You can you know you come back and you’re refreshed so you have a you’re able to look at whatever you’ve been working on with a different perspective. I would say that that’s definitely an important that’s something that I’ve learned to do a lot more. Other times you know what needs to be done. Like I can you know I can pretty much I pretty much know what I need to do when I’m working on something. So it’s just a matter of going through the steps of actually writing that code and building those processes and that kind of thing. So when I get in that kind of zone I usually just keep going and keep going and keep going until I feel like OK I know I’m good now but rain’s buzzing. Yeah. But a lot of times too I mean it’s a lot of fun coding when building these things and seeing the things that you’re building you know come to life and so you know the I don’t really spend much time keeping track of you know how long you know how long I’m at my desk it’s really more about making sure that you know whatever other things I have in my schedule if I have you know. So if I could keep going you know for as long as I need to as long as it as long as it continues to be fun and engaging and it usually is.
Krista [00:20:39] you got to do what you got to do to finish the story’s assigned to you for your team’s sprint. It’s now 5:00 p.m. and part of the agile process is to have an end of the day check in.
Ruud [00:20:50] so with that we just check in. I give updates to my team regarding what’s been done. What may be coming up tomorrow what I’ve run into? Maybe results of certain meetings that have happened throughout the day and so that allows them to anticipate what the new tasks might be tomorrow or where you know where things might pivot because you know the other thing about Agile is being able to be flexible and nimble as things come in. And so you want to be able to let the team anticipate all of the different changes that might come in. Maybe we get a new design maybe we maybe we talked to you know maybe we have like a new opportunity that we need to focus on or something like that. So that’s usually what the 5:00 p.m. checking is for.
Mat [00:21:30] so people may be leaving but you’re still wrapping things up. I see 30. Is that usually when you’re out of the office.
Ruud [00:21:37] Yeah usually are usually six thirty, seven, even later sometimes too but I usually try to a lot of times the office gets quieter after you know after 5:00 ish or something like that. You know there’s still there’s still always you know a few teams in the stuff that are there working on their other tasks but so a lot of times you know the either the developers have left already and that kind of thing. So it allows me to you know focus on something that I’m working on without having to you know have any meetings that I have to bounce and bounce back and forth with and that kind of stuff.
Mat [00:22:08] so the day is over at 7 p.m. on this particular day for. But as he mentioned earlier the time he leaves depends on what needs to be done for the day to stay on track with the current Sprint or get started on tasks for the next sprint.
Ruud [00:22:23] my job doesn’t finish when I leave the office. I mean my sister yells at me all the time for how much you know how much I’m working in that kind of thing and so it’s one of those things where like I’m very passionate about technology. If I wasn’t you know working full time I would still be doing what I’m doing now. You know I mean so for me it’s something. It’s about working with companies that are also passionate about you know they’re passionate about your passion. You know I mean that want to encourage you and nurture you and help you build you know and go out and you know do great things. There’s a lot of times where you know sometimes you know just coming in and just doing your job is enough. And to me that’s not that’s not what gets you ahead. Yeah. You know that’s not you know just do it. Doing just enough is and isn’t enough.
Ruud [00:23:09] I mean you really have to go out there and you know find ways yourself you know I mean cause not every opportunity is going to be like you know not every opportunity is just going to be handed to you. So you really have to go out there and see what are the different things that you can do to be able to continuously add value and then the other thing too is that that experience you know over time just becomes a you know an incredible asset for you. You can then you know anytime you’re speaking to a new customer or a new client or a new employer you know you can speak confidently to let them know that these are the things that you’ve seen. These are the things that you know and these are the things that you’ve done to be able to help them reach their goals.
Mat [00:23:51] so you just experienced a day in the life of a sales force technical architect but how does one actually become a sales force technical architect. In part two of the use the four star series. Join us as we go through roots career journey and experiences leading up to where he is today. Roots always found a way to find opportunity at any job in any industry from video editing in Hollywood to the poker table at Mohegan Sun casino to where he is today. Let’s see how he did it so you can to stay tuned. At experience a day in the life where building an online library of content all focused on ADITL or a day in the life of different jobs and professions across the world in all different industries. So if you want to share your ADITL, you can do so at XADITL.com/share-my-ADITL.
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In Part 1 we went through hour by hour a day in Ruud’s life as a Salesforce Technical Architect. In this episode, we’ll take you through Ruud’s career journey so you know what skills and experience are necessary to land a job as a Salesforce technical architect. He didn’t study computer science in college, by the way. He taught himself how to code online, kept at it and here he is today!
Krista [00:00:59] Welcome to part two in the two part you use the force dot.com series in part one we went through hour by hour in a day in Ruud Erie’s life as a sales force technical architect. In this episode we’ll take you through Ruud’s career journey so you know the skills and experiences are necessary to land a job as a sales force technical architect. He didn’t study computer science in college by the way he taught himself how to code online kept at it. And here he is today. Let’s learn how he did it so you can too.
Mat [00:01:31] Ruud’s interest in high school and college were in film and TV.
Ruud [00:01:36] And what I did was I started passing the script around to my friends and I would write you know maybe like one section of a script and then I pass it around printed a whole bunch of copies and pass it around to my different friends and then they would read it and they’d be like Dude what’s going to happen next. This is crazy. And so I was like yes I got really excited and I was like you know what I really should pursue you know a film career and see where I could take this. So I looked up film schools in L.A. because I wanted to go out to L.A. and you know take my shot at Hollywood.
Ruud [00:02:04] I find this cool called Video Symphony and they have this video editing program and the video editing program was essentially it was two years long and base and it was located right in Burbank California. And so I looked at all of the different schools. This particular one was right near the studios professional editors that work in the studios would go there to get training so I figured it would be a good networking opportunity. So I flew out there. I applied to the school got my student loans and got my apartment without even setting foot in California. So the first time. That’s a huge jump. Yeah. So it was intense and then. And like for the first two or three months I was kind of depressed because I was like oh man this is overwhelming and I didn’t know you know so I but it ended up being such an incredible experience because of the you know the opportunities that were presented to me. And after graduating.
Krista [00:02:55] What if you don’t mind me asking what like kind of pushed you through after that first two to three months because of course it’s a new state it’s on the other side of the country like what did you do to like I guess get through that.
Ruud [00:03:06] so I would say meditation definitely helped a lot. And then you know making friends and going out with them because everybody was a lot of the students that I was in school with were also from out of town as well.
Krista [00:03:17] What made you want to go there instead of going to a film program at a four year like state school or like a regular college quote unquote.
Ruud [00:03:25] So to go way back like I was born in Port au Prince Haiti so my parents immigrated to the country and you know they’ve been working you know they worked a lot in that kind of thing. So for me while education was always very important and very important to my family making money kind of superseded that. And so for me.
Ruud [00:03:44] And so for me it was about going to a school where I could follow my passion but also be able to make money as soon as possible when I graduate. When I left there I ended up getting an avid certification and a final cut pro certification and avid certifications. I think there’s only 23000 people in the world that have it. So that was something that you know really appealed to me and it did open doors because the software is very specialized and so they needed people who actually knew how to use it and even video editors and film editors who already have you know 20 and 30 IDB credits and stuff they actually would go to that school to learn the software too so I kind of had an edge on them I just didn’t have the film editing experience that they had the aesthetic putting stories together and that kind of thing.
Krista [00:04:29] For a year Ruud was working on video editing contract a contract with all different types of companies to beef up his portfolio and get as much experience as possible which is pretty typical in this industry.
Ruud [00:04:41] So you work on a project you work on a film for six months three months or an infomercial commercial for a month or two or something like that and then afterwards you move on to the next job. And so it was always good to be able to keep that deal flow going where you’re finding new projects and that kind of thing and that I think that kind of sowed the seeds of you know kind of what I do now.
Ruud [00:05:00] You know I continuously engaging with clients whether I’m on or off the market in order for me to know what’s going on in the industry and if there’s an opportunity for me to add value than I you know that I do that.
Mat [00:05:11] Awesome that that actually brings us perfectly until like the next question I had from you or for you is from all this experience obviously you made a 180 in your career but what from the video editing and all of this time in Hollywood what skills did you learn that you still use today on top of what you just mentioned.
Ruud [00:05:30] Sure. So I would say being able to deal with high pressure situations.
Ruud [00:05:36] so one of the things that they tell you as a video editor is that you need to be able to cut faster than the producer can think. In other words when a producer says this is what I want you have to be able to cut the scene and re edit it and do things way faster than the producer is able to come up with a new idea because they move they move fast you know what I mean. And so that was one of the challenges that you get as a beginner especially on projects as like I would I’d be working on something and then I’d have a producer yelling in my face like why is this taking so long. What the f is going on and all this other stuff and it’s a very intense situation. So one. So one of the things that I learned was I’m able to keep my cool. You know I think literally you know in those situations and not lose it and that kind of stuff and then the other thing too was that being able to think and not panic in those kinds of situations when you know when the stakes are high just doing what needs to be done. So that was something that I. He picked up and then appreciation for the ability to network with people and getting to know that was something that I picked up from living in L.A. and in that kind of stuff because there wasn’t a place where I could go or someone I could go to that would say hey here’s the opportunity that you’ve been looking for.
Ruud [00:06:49] It was basically me just going out and finding those opportunities or being able to know someone who had an opportunity and be able being able to add value. You know hey can I help you out with this project and that kind of thing and then that kind of opened up a lot of doors for me. I would say 95 percent of the opportunities that I’ve ever now that I’ve ever been presented to me have always been as a result of experience that I had gained. And then somehow found a way to leverage into new opportunities.
Mat [00:07:16] so while Ruud was freelancing he got a job as an account executive at a firm to help grow his sales skills and pay the bills during the editing off season.
Ruud [00:07:25] so one of the things you know in general when you’re freelancing you’re basically you’re it’s a sales cycle all the time. You’re not I mean you have to sell people on yourself. You have to sell people on your skills and you have to sell people on your projects so that company allowed me to be able to kind of grow my sales skills and they were mostly focused on you know retail sales and all these different all these different products but you were an independent contractor still. And so having that helped me you know generate some income and then also being able to you know still do my projects and that kind of thing as they come along.
Krista [00:07:57] I kind of want to go back a little bit. You had mentioned the sales cycle and how you had to basically sell yourself sell your skill sell your product. Can you talk a little bit more on how you did that? Sure I did. Did you have a part felt like tell me that whole process I guess?
Ruud [00:08:11] so your portfolio is I would say 40 to 50 percent of your sale. The other 25 percent would be you selling the person on yourself and then the other 25 percent would be you know you selling them on your skills within the project. So a lot of times when I would meet with new people I would always start off with what I’ve done.
Ruud [00:08:29] I always I never tell them you know I only have this many years’ experience so I’ve only worked on this project. I just tell them what I’ve done. And then if that is enough to hook them in and ask that you know them asking me more questions and that kind of thing then I know that you know there’s probably an opportunity for me to add value. So that was basic that was there was a film produced by this director Aki Ali on his here. It was this film about the Chinese rail railroad workers in the eighteen hundreds in California. And he had I think he probably had a it was a multi-million dollar budget film and all I did I was talking to him one day and I told him about projects that I had worked on in that kind of thing and he basically offered me assistant to director position. But what I was actually doing is actually re editing the film for different film festivals and submitting it for him. And that was essentially what I did. I told him about the projects that I had worked on. Then when he it seemed like he was actually interested in possibly working with me. Then I showed him my portfolio you know. And then from there I kind of told him about the skills and what I can do in that kind of thing and that was what you know allowed me to work on that project.
Ruud [00:09:38] what I always like to do is I always like to look back at you know what worked and what didn’t and then kind of optimizing from there. I realized that when I’m able to just talk about my experience and what I’ve actually done it becomes less relevant you know where I came from and what in all of these other things.
Mat [00:09:56] after a year working as an account executive he moved from California back to Connecticut. There he was working as an energy broker and a poker dealer at Mohegan Sun casino. He worked at Mohegan Sun in high school as well as a server which gave him the financial security to be able to move to California at such a young age.
Ruud [00:10:15] What I liked about that particular opportunity was that I was able to also you know generate sales on my own and that kind of thing and then you know networking Mohegan Sun has like ten or twelve thousand employees or something. So you know there’s a lot of people in there and that kind of thing. So having that sales opportunity you know I could sit down with someone and say hey you know how’s your light bill and that kind of thing. And being able to say well I could find out if I could get you a discount on you know on your bills and that and so that that allowed me to you know get different deals and it was nice too because my parents were pretty supportive. You know. They let me look at their light bill and I was like I think I could save you some money. So it gave me some confidence to be able to continue that for a little while more.
Krista [00:10:56] what’s the training like to be a poker dealer.
Ruud [00:10:58] so it’s like three. I would say three or four months long and you don’t get that. Yeah. So it’s intense but basically in the film industry you know I was talking early about the producers and that kind of thing and how intense it can get when you’re under pressure. So. In poker it’s kind of the same thing. But this time you’re directly the decisions that you make have a direct consequence on the player’s financial outcome. If you make a mistake like for example. So if you if you show a card too early or if you throw away someone’s Cards or if you do all these different things you are if take them to cards on accident right. Yeah exactly so. All of those things play into you know that that player could panic have a panic attack and lose his mind on the table and you have to keep your cool and all of these things. So they one they kind of prepare you for that. So that’s part of the training is the psychological getting you mentally prepared for what you could see on the on the actual poker table and then the other side is just knowing how to deal the right game.
Krista [00:12:00] He left his energy broker job after a year and while he was working as a poker dealer Reed started getting into technology and programming. He started taking classes on his own to learn. He didn’t want to be in the casino forever. His student loans are creeping up to him and so he needed a new game plan. The motivation came from rereading a book called the sovereign individual.
Ruud [00:12:20] the sub header of the book was mastering the transition to the Information Age. And it was basically about all of these different global trends and how technology is going to affect the way that the world is shaped in the way that you know. And so he kind of broke down all of these different aspects of technology and where the opportunity opened and they had actually there was a section in the book where they were talking about programming and how basically the programmers would have would be able to write their own ticket if they understood these trends and if they were able to you know find a way to create business opportunities or create opportunities and add value to different industries. And so I knew it was something that I wanted to get into. And so that was basically what kind of got me started in researching things.
Ruud [00:13:01] And this is like old book is written in like 97 but they you know there were certain things in there like they had predicted. They called it cyber cash at the time but they actually predicted what Bitcoin is today. Yes. So that actually helped me. I had gotten into bitcoin in a theorem early as a result of reading that book and anticipating like this is actually going to be big. And so that you know so little things like that that I’ve gotten from you know other things that I’ve gotten from the book. And so after I think after the second or third time that I read the book when I was in Connecticut I started looking up programming classes and there was this a school it’s called Udacity.
Mat [00:13:35] He signed up for computer science one on one courses online that cost him a little under three hundred dollars each. The course was divided into two projects. The first was building a search engine. The second was building the different models for the social network in the class. He learned python and this gave him the confidence to take on more classes.
Ruud [00:13:54] So I continued to do courses and that was when I stumbled upon the salesforce programming course and one of the in the headliner for the course or in the description or something he said something about warning if you take this course you may end up finding a job or something like that. So I was like I’ll take you up on. Yeah.
Ruud [00:14:13] So I decided I was like Alright I’ll take them up on that challenge. So I went through the course and started building different applications within Salesforce for the course. And then I started you know just for the fun of it building apps outside of the course. So working in the casino I was working as a poker dealer and I was looking at the different ways that the room operated. And one of the things that I noticed was that the poker managers whenever the room got busy they would just get on the phone and start calling different poker dealers to see if anyone wanted to come in for overtime. And I actually wanted to come in for overtime so I could make more money. So I built this application and showed it to the managers and executives and essentially what the application did was it would notify all of the poker dealers on a shift send him a text message and then they’d be able to respond if they wanted to pick up that shift and do overtime. And then from there it would the manager once the manager approves it he would send it to payroll and then you know payroll would have that extra information that this person is signed up to work extra hours so that they that way they could keep track of it. When I built that and I showed it to them I wasn’t expecting this but they actually tried to buy the application from me. And so that kind of started my career in sales force while I didn’t actually sell the application to them. What that led to was them giving me a stack of papers about all the different enterprise requirements and all of the different things that it would take in order to sell a piece of software to a large business.
Mat [00:15:43] Ruud’s applying the skills he’s learned from the classes he’s created his own company oply International. He’s got his poker dealer management app and he’s also got Mohegan Sun’s interest in buying it from him. There’s a lot going on for him at this point.
Ruud [00:15:58] I started off oply international and what that was is just a consulting business for me to be able to handle my freelance contracts in that kind of thing. And so I always I always wanted to even though I’ve you know I’ve always been working within the sales force space I’ve always and I continue to have you know clients that I you know that I manage and I handle things for. And so where you know when I initially when I started I didn’t really know you know what I was doing or that kind of thing. I just knew that I needed to be able to you know if I get a contract and that kind of thing I should probably have an entity to manage that. Process.
Ruud [00:16:30] and so it started off. It started off there and then it’s kind of evolved into you know now I have a team of maybe seven seven to ten offshore developers that I can you know that I can use as resources for projects that come in. So I still provide the architecture sometimes some programming but I work with my customers to be able to make sure that you know whatever requirements whatever new features they need that they’re able to get that done you know at a at a good rate. Everything that I learn you know within my own freelance projects and that kind of thing comes back as more value added to my customer because I have all these different all these other different businesses all these other different situations that I’ve seen that then you know allow me to say you know what this approach is probably better because this is what I’ve run into in the field and you know these are the issues that I’ve seen my other clients you know run into so it’s still it’s I always treat I always treat my jobs as if it was a business and you know the my employers my client I always I always approach it from that way because at the end of the day the most important thing for them is to get a return on investment from me.
Ruud [00:17:37] So how do I maximize that I maximize that from having as much experience as I possibly can and making sure that they’re getting the best advice from things that I’ve seen in the field you know. So that comes from you know researching that comes from talking to other you know talking to other customers in other industries from looking at how different customers have approached different things how you know how different situations were addressed and anticipating problems before they occur.
Mat [00:18:04] Back on track with kind of your career journey the first kind of jump into tack for like a professional sense was you were a web applications developer at Case partners. Yes. Was that a sales force or you know. OK. So you were going in there. Can you tell us about how you got the job? Without having any prior professional experience in that world.
Ruud [00:18:25] so I had been I had been freelancing you know working on different Web development projects not necessarily Salesforce focused. And so when I had built the poker management application at Mohegan Sun I actually gone to a networking event or like a developer meetup in Hartford Connecticut where the CTO of case partners happened to be there. And so I you know we got into a conversation. I told him about the different applications that I was building and you know the issues that I had with this particular poker management app because I didn’t know how to sell this application to a large company like Mohegan Sun. And so that’s when he asked. He offered me a job. And you know I initially I turned him down because I already had like maybe two or three other web projects that I was working on. But then after you know three months later he reached out again and offered me a job. And so I started to work for case partners really cool company because they actually do not only Salesforce but they also were a Microsoft shop and so they had they had a lot of different people with different experiences and stuff and so let’s say a lot of different companies they might have they might be using Microsoft servers.
Ruud [00:19:33] they may have their Web built in in the Microsoft stack and that kind of thing. And then Salesforce is just used to kind of manage their customer data. So a lot of the things that they would do is you know help customers bridge that gap where you know how do I get my Salesforce instance communicating with you know my Microsoft data and vice versa and that kind of thing and so it opened up you know a world of opportunity for me one because they were you know they were already an established company and they were working with all different types of customers and all in all kinds of different industries. And then so anytime you know anytime they had a different project that was Salesforce related they would throw me on and then I would you know do as much as I can to be able to you know to be able to learn from the people that I was working with. And then it just so happened that Salesforce MVP her name is Maria belly she happened to be working at Case partners with me and so she kind of took me under her wing and mentored me along the way. So between the CTO Howard and Maria of a you know really helped build me up and you know taught me so much about the salesforce ecosystem and so much more.
Mat [00:20:38] so you took you took that that experience for about a year right and then you moved over to be a strict Salesforce developer at CRM science. Yes. For another year after that. What made you do that? And then how did you get that opportunity.
Ruud [00:20:53] I was introduced to the architect over at CRM science one of the architects of CRM science Alex and he was he’s also a Salesforce MVP so I was introduced to him through Maria.
Ruud [00:21:04] initially I was just talking to Alex about the different projects that I had going on other applications that I was building on the side and that kind of thing. And so he told me a little bit about CRM science and what they do. So what’s when I was working at Case partners I would say 40 percent of the work would have been you know admin focused so very you know point and click running reports and that kind of thing which is another important aspect of Salesforce. And then the rest would be you know development focused. So what Alex talked to me about was how CRM science literally everything they do is just Apex focused its programming its product development and that’s what their niche was. And so that was really interesting to me because I wanted to really focus my career on the programmatic side of Salesforce because to me that was the more powerful aspects. I mean you can do a lot as an admin you can do a lot as you know with the point and click tools but the programming to me is where the opportunities really become limitless because there isn’t anything that you can’t do at that point. And so that was what you know. So he had offered me well I met the CEO over at CRM science and then they made me an offer and you know I felt it was the right move to make and you know everyone a case partners they were sad to see me go but they were also really supportive.
Ruud [00:22:20] and so you know I appreciate you know Howard and Maria. You know having the opportunity to be a part of a community where people are encouraged to continue learning people and are encouraged to advance their skills and you know and keep pushing their career forward. It was just something that you know I felt it felt really at home and.
Krista [00:22:38] After that Salesforce developer opportunity with CRM science came to an amicable and rude worked for a variant a healthcare tech company as a Salesforce development engineer all while fielding projects and contracts with his own clients through his company Oply.
Ruud [00:22:52] Full disclosure. So within the Salesforce space once they once recruiters find out that you have skills in Salesforce and that kind of thing you get endless calls from recruiter’s non-stop. Oh absolutely insane. I get at least 30 calls a week. About different opportunities and that kind of thing gets to the point where I literally leave my phones on silent because I don’t you know most of the time its calls regarding different opportunities and stuff. And then I actually so I have you know my own Salesforce instance so a lot of times when people call me the phone number that they call it actually sends them a text message and says hey add your information to my CRM so that way I can keep track of you know who they are so then they can actually the recruiter if they’re serious they can actually add their information and then that gets added to my CRM so that way I’m able to have a database of all these different recruiters and that kind of thing. So if I am I am looking for a contract or something like that I know who to reach out to.
Ruud [00:23:51] But yeah it was essentially just kind of keeping track of those relationships you know letting people know keeping people up to date with what I’m working on what you know what my experiences and that kind of thing and kind of understanding where the market is you know and recruiters are really good for that because they’ll tell you know what’s out there in the marketplace what people are looking for what skills are hot and that kind of thing and that kind of helps guide where I decide to you know focus my attention and what new skills that I want to learn can be one step ahead.
Mat [00:24:15] Yeah the interview process, very good advice. All right.
Ruud [00:24:18] So in so when I was making the transition from CRM science to variant when I was working CRM science was a fully remote you know role and that kind of thing. So while I was looking for my next contract I had decided to move to Columbia, Meddelin Columbia and I was living out there for like three or four months. And so while I was out there you know I was talking to different recruiters and stuff. And so I had spoken to a recruiter their representative variant and they you know you variant had just announced that they had closed around the funding with Goldman Sachs and that kind of thing and so they were looking to bring on more experienced developers to help them build you know these new products that they had coming in. So I you know so seemed like a great opportunity for me because you know on the consulting side you’re you know you’re a partner with the company but you know after once the contract is over you know you kind of you’re you know unless they need you again you know you kind of just thrown on the whistle. Yeah. Yeah. Cut loose so that from there I figured you know if working at an actual and you know I talked to Alex about this he had suggested you know if I worked at an actual if I worked at a product company like a Salesforce product company that kind of experience that I would gain if I’m able to help that company grow from what it wherever point it’s at to you know to a greater point it would be you know a great mark on you know I went on your resume very impressive. Yeah. Yeah it’s a great track record they have so he doesn’t work. Yeah exactly. Exactly. And so that for me what I saw it variant was that you know I could add immediate value as soon as I started.
Ruud [00:25:48] And that being able to you know be a part of a new product that was coming into you know coming into the market was just something that you know I couldn’t say no to and so I transitioned from CRM science to EVarian and started working there.
Krista [00:26:01] So Ruud was working on a variant as a sales force development engineer and after a year got promoted to senior Salesforce developer slash architect.
Ruud [00:26:10] My responsibilities shifted in the sense that I was given a lot more to do. There was a lot more processes and things that I was you know being held accountable for in terms of deliverables and making sure that our customers were happy. The thing was when I was working as a just a Salesforce development engineer there they I pretty much took on whatever responsibility was thrown at me. I always think of different departments and different you know players within the company as my customers. And so my primary customers there was you know my direct boss Dave. I also had you know the campaigns department which was another you know which was another quote unquote customer that I had the data department which was another customer.
Ruud [00:26:52] And then I had the product team which was another customer as well so things could be coming in from different directions and stuff. And so we had processes in place to be able to handle you know requests as they were coming in basically would be would essentially just be working with these different customers to figure out what was going on what the different solutions are and then which ones made the most sense depending on the urgency.
Mat [00:27:12] Ruud turned the page and his career working full time with Salesforce product companies And oply as the salesforce technical architect. If you want to learn more about what he does day to day be sure to listen to part 1 which is out now what would you tell yourself your 18 year old self today.
Ruud [00:27:30] I would. Well I would say for sure. Focus on experience because doing things will get you a lot farther more quickly and then the other thing too is that doing things helps build your confidence and it allows you to it actually helps your learning as well. Again just doing just enough isn’t good enough and you know yeah you have to you have to go above and beyond to really be able to you have to go above and beyond to live above and beyond. I love. It. I love it.
Krista [00:28:01] That wraps up part two and they use the force dot.com series Huge thanks to route Arie for sharing his wisdom throughout this experience. A Day in the Life series if you haven’t already. Be sure to listen to part 1 in this series to experience a day in the life of a Salesforce technical architect. So they say you can’t get a job without experience but need experience to get the job. But luckily we have quite the experience. You can join our team and experience a day in the life of the jobs you want by applying to be a student editor regardless of your major. Or amount of experience. This is the perfect stepping stone into any internship or career. Find more info and sign up at XADITL.com/students.
[00:28:38] Thanks for listening. Head over to accidental dot com that’s XADITL.com. There you can find the show notes for this series and more A Day in the Life articles and you can get to know us and our guests more by joining our communities on social media follow at XADITL on Instagram and on LinkedIn by searching for Krista Bo and Mat Bo.
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