A Look Back At My Unexpected Salesforce Developer Journey

keep-calm-and-carry-on-17042Some things in life are destined to happen. In 2008, when I signed up for a Salesforce developer org out of curiosity – I had no clue of what’s coming next. To say that what’s transpired in the last 7 years has been a very satisfying and rewarding journey. From learning to write my first customary ‘Hello World’ program in Apex to developing some of the most complex enterprise mobile apps on the Salesforce1 platform over the years, it feels like I’ve a come a long way.

It’s definitely time to look back at this unexpected yet wonderful journey. And the best part – I think my best is yet to come! Time to roll back the clock and re-live it once again!

2000-2007

  • Spent days and nights developing, deploying and debugging telecom server-grade applications and had fun with mobile development on the then popular platforms – Symbian, J2ME (those were the days!) with no intentions of doing anything else.

2008

  • Signed up for a sandbox, scratched around for a while with the “Point and click” capabilities and coming from a telecom/ mobile background, my honest first impression was – “This application level-stuff is boring, I’m not coming back :)”
  • Learnt about a small technology conference called ‘Dreamforce’ 🙂 but clearly did not realise that it would be a part of my identity in the years to come.

2009

  • First serious brush with the Salesforce platform. Coming from a mobile background and an opportunity to develop a Salesforce mobile app for a project sounded like a match made in heaven, except for the fact that there were no real mobile tools back then.
  • There was no Mobile SDK which was a blessing in disguise. I strongly believe it helps to re-invent the wheel in your own way so you can actually appreciate how the wheel is supposed to work. Lots of hair pulling, searching around, hit and trials – I still believe it all helped develop a more holistic understanding of the platform.
  • Posted my first ever query on the Force.com Developer Discussion Boards and was over-joyed when I actually received an answer which resolved my issue.

2010

  • Started learning iOS development simply because I was fed up and bored with Symbian
  • Delivered the first Salesforce mobile app built by my team and spearheaded by me.
  • Got hands-on with Zksforce and started believing that Simon Fell is a God-send for all Salesforce mobile developers
  • Explored the then called ‘Force.com Toolkit for iOS’
  • First grey hair 😦

2011

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 7.37.41 pm

  • Won the Salesforce ‘Hammer of Thor’ contest and started contributing articles to the Developer Force Wiki
  • Started answering queries on the Force.com Developer Discussion Boards and soon started receiving queries over email and even phone calls at 2 AM from unsuspecting callers who weren’t aware of the timezone differences in the world.
  • Gained proficiency in building iOS Salesforce applications. Got my first impressions that iPhone development would define the future of mobile development in the years to come
  • First encounter with Android from a developer perspective. I was a iOS guy back then and I’m still a iOS guy after all these years.
  • Some more grey hair 😦

2012

 

  • If I had a choice to re-live just one year in my professional life again, it will have to be ‘2012’
  • My team won the coveted Mobile Developer Challenge securing 2nd place for building ‘Noteprise‘ – the first ever mobile integration between Salesforce and Evernote
  • Published Noteprise to the Apple App Store
  • Noteprise got inducted into the Salesforce Mobile Dev Gallery – a collection of some of the best mobile apps built on the Salesforce platform till date.
  • Started publishing tutorials on the Developer Force Wiki
  • Started contributing to Salesforce Stack Exchange
  • Invited to present at the Touch Stadium at Dreamforce 2012 to talk about the experience of building Noteprise – I still remember my legs shaking and losing my breath seeing a gigantic audience and looking at myself on the giant screens all across in the Developer Zone. Thankfully, it took a few deep breaths, a silent prayer and I delivered perhaps my best Dreamforce session till date.
  • Invited Marc Benioff to my Dreamforce session and he promised to attend. As expected, he didn’t show up 😦
  • Cleared Salesforce Dev401 certification

image

2013

  • Delivered a session on Force.com Mobile SDK during the ‘Mobile Developer Week’ at Jaipur DUG
  • Guided my colleagues for building SocialForce – a mobile mashup between Salesforce and leading social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The app won the 2nd runner up prize in the Salesforce Mobile Developer Challenge 2013.
  • Led the Salesforce development un-conference at SenchaCon 2013 – Sencha’s premier developer conference
  • Involved closely with the revamp of Developer Discussion Boards from a legacy platform to using Salesforce Communities
  • Nominated as a moderator on the Developer Discussion Boards
  • Missed out on presenting at Dreamforce 2013 😦
  • Built Chatter Complete with my team as part of the $1 Million Hackathon at Dreamforce – an app that allowed Chatter users to do video calling, texting and lots of handy features such as presence, optical character recognition for signature approvals. Didn’t win anything but the app created a lot of buzz and it feels immensely satisfying when I come across new people who say they’ve heard my name because of ‘Chatter Complete’.
  • Stopped counting/ worrying about grey hair 🙂

 

4highres_2303795822014 

  • A defining year of sorts for me with lots of hits and misses
  • Closely involved in organising the ‘Salesforce1 Developer Week’ event for Jaipur Developer User Group. Delivered a session on various mobile development approaches for the Salesforce1 platform. Took over the co-organiser for Jaipur Developer user Group.
  • Presented 2 sessions at Dreamforce 2014 – ‘Find Your Feet on Force.com’ at the Community Theatre and ‘Automated Testing for Salesforce1 Mobile Apps Using the Appium Framework’ at the Touch Stadium (feels like a 2nd home to me).
  • Built Fitoku for the Salesforce Hackathon – an integration between Force.com, Heroku and Fitbit. Did not win again this year but learnt a few important lessons about the art of pitching and a few other things which are not really worth mentioning.
  • Crossed 6K reputation points on Salesforce Stack Exchange and made it to the Top 40 contributors
  • Featured on Code Coverage as a Salesforce mobile expert – a leading podcast for developers using the Salesforce1 platform
  • Runner-up in the Appcelerator Mobile Dev Challenge Enterprise Edition building TiForce
  • Honoured to be chosen among the ‘22 People You Need to follow before Dreamforce‘ by PostcodeAnywhere
  • Pleasantly surprised to be a part of the panel of ‘Six Tips From Experts on Maximising Your Dreamforce Trip
  • Took over as a joint moderator for the largest Salesforce developers/ admin group on LinkedIn – ‘Salesforce developers/ contractors’ to help ensure that members adhere to the rules and group quality is not diluted.
  • Actively participated in some interesting preview programs launched by Salesforce.

10003900_737576422962034_2989023874338823325_n

 

xlarge2015

  • I am definitely looking forward to the next ‘Developer Week’ event for the Jaipur Developer User Group, conduct and speak at meetups more regularly and finally to Dreamforce 2015 later this year.
  • I plan to continue what I’ve done well over these years and learn from my earlier mistakes. There’s no denying that it’s been a lot of hard work but as they say “If what you are passionate about what you do, it’s not really work” 🙂
  • I strongly believe whatever I’ve achieved is all due to this fantastic ecosystem of Salesforce developers so I plan to do my bit for the community in whatever ways I can. Definitely planning to focus on the ‘evangelism’ aspects a lot more than earlier!

What’s your Salesforce developer story? Sometimes we get so busy with what’s going on in the present, that we actually forget how it all started. I, for one, encourage you to pen down your story of how you started your Salesforce developer journey and I hope to read it soon!

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