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Tuesday 20th June 2017
Tags: guest blog
Have you ever wondered what it's like to work for a globally recognised "Tech Unicorn"? Fortunately, we've had the chance to talk to another Software Developer Tom, at one of Silicon Valley's greatest exports with a IT team based in our very own Yorkshire. Read about Michael's journey below...

Could you give us a break down of your tech background prior to

- Education: Computing science degree from Newcastle University.

-I mainly used Java throughout my degree. Modules I took included Computer Games, Graphics and Operating Systems. For my dissertation project I created an iPhone application using Objective-C.

-Java course: after university whilst in a role with little development work, I did this to maintain knowledge that I learnt at university.

Previous Roles I have worked in include:

-Working at an IT company full time during my summer holidays from the age of 13 until university. Here I built systems from scratch, setup networks/servers etc.

-After university I worked at a textiles mill in Yorkshire. One of two people supporting all IT and phone systems in a large business. Mainly a systems and network support role with little development work. Worked at a healthcare company migrating and deploying software. Here involved in development projects on a small scale. Mainly using C# and SQL and creating bespoke apps for internal use.

What interested you about exploring a role with
Large scale development. Junior roles available so didn’t require 2 year of experience before applying. Good starting salary and competitive benefits. Great location as I live in Harrogate.

What has the main challenge of this been?
Getting to grips with Salesforce at first can be overwhelming as there is a lot to learn for people new to the platform. Whilst it is challenging the platform can be beneficial if, like me, you enjoy having more varied problems to deal with and new things to learn on a rapidly evolving platform.

What have been the benefits?
Have problems to solve every day and not getting bored as I have found with previous roles. Plenty of opportunity to try new technologies and work on new product areas within the company. Feels like working in an exciting, forward thinking environment where everyone has a voice. The people here have been great to work with, there is a friendly atmosphere. There is plenty of opportunity to learn new things and develop your skills.

What concerns did you have changing tech stacks?
I was not too worried having little experience doing full scale development using other tech stacks. Deploying code to the Salesforce servers and developing in the cloud can take a little longer than in a local environment. I think having patience and a drive to learn new things are essential for working here. Saying that, people with an object oriented language background such as C#/Java shouldn’t have any real trouble transferring those skills to Apex.

What do you enjoy about working with Apex/ Visualforce?
There is lots to learn and the platform is continuously changing and improving. Regular Salesforce updates present new features to learn and use in order to develop solutions in better ways. Whilst Visualforce allows you to create a lot out the box the fact you can include JavaScript in the pages means you are not limited to what you can do in the UI. This is a great opportunity to learn powerful frameworks such as Sencha’s ExtJS and create more complex UIs when required.

How have your technical skills improved by changing tech stack?
Since we develop on a multitenant cloud, resources are shared and this means that there are limits enforced by the platform on things such as CPU, Heap and Database interactions. These per execution limits have meant I now constantly think about efficiency of my code and queries. These things have only been an issue in the extreme in previous roles so working on salesforce has definitely made me more careful to ensure I am always coding in the most efficient way possible.

How have you personally progressed since joining
I have had the opportunity to gain Salesforce certifications and used ‘training days’ that we get to develop my skills. I adapted quite quickly and was promoted up from junior soon after joining. I feel like my confidence and ability to work well with others has progressed a lot since joining. I am able to complete stories independently and would be confident now taking the lead on any project I was placed on.

What do you enjoy most about working at
The fact I get to constantly solve problems in a relaxed, but hard working, environment.

What would you say to any developer considering and who is concerned about changing tech stacks?
If you are patient and don’t mind learning new things then don’t be too concerned. Adapting to developing on the cloud will definitely have its challenges but I think the benefits will be worth it. It feels like an exciting time for a rapidly growing area so getting involved and learning these skills now can only be good for the future.
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