How to get started learning Salesforce from the very beginning

I am going to guide you by introducing you to Trailhead - the fun and easy way to learn Salesforce. All you need is an internet connection and either a computer, tablet or mobile phone.

It does not matter what kind of computer or what browser you use. In this example I am using a 2013 iMac desktop with an updated chrome browser.

Check the top right hand side of your chrome browser. Oops time to update mine!

Time to update your browser

Now that that is done, it's time to look for Trailhead on Google. Or you can use this link to Trailhead.Salesforce.com.

There are two ways you can get started - I have highlighted them in the red ovals.

Sign up for trailhead

Note that I am now using a Safari Browser window - so it really does not matter which browser you use.

To sign up for Trailhead you have the following options:

  1. If you already use Salesforce at your workplace you can use your Salesforce credentials from work 
  2. Sign up with your email address - I recommend this and that you use your personal email not your work email
  3. Use any of your existing accounts - either Google, LinkedIn, Apple or Facebook

Sign up for Trailhead with your personal email

Even though you need to choose one way to sign up for Trailhead, you can associate all your emails, orgs and social accounts afterwards.

That way Trail Tracker works at your work but should you change jobs, you still have other ways to login if you lose access. 

Once you sign up with your email address Salesforce will email you a single use code.

Now it's time to check your personal email account. You should have an email with the subject line "Verify your Trailblazer.me account". The email will look like this

Verify your account

Copy that 6 digit code and enter it in the next step

Enter the single use code

Now it is time to update your profile. I strongly recommend you complete this fully - as your Trailhead profile is how future employers will check your credentials.

Complete your profile

It might take a while to secure your Profile URL if someone has already taken it. In this example I have used my first initial and last name. 

My real Profile URL is https://trailblazer.me/id/jessicamacpherson. Check it out - you will see all my trailhead points and badges, my credentials, superbadges, skills and my Trailblazer Connections.

Ensure you add a profile picture and that you turn your Public Profile on.

Next step is to complete your profile. This step often confuses people. Salesforce insists on asking for a Company Name - and if you are not working for anyone you will just have to make something up or you are welcome to use my company name Blaze Your Trail.

Complete your Profile

The second field that confuses people is the Relationship to Salesforce field. If there is no value in this list that applies - so just enter Customer/Prospect for now.

You must accept the terms and check the first box and I recommend you sign up for the marketing emails - they are often very useful.

And that is it! You are in!

Trailhead is continually improving and the content is being updated all the time, but as of now May 2021 this is the welcome page

Welcome to Trailhead

So click on Why Trailhead? and start learning!

Download the app to your mobile or tablet and continue learning on the fly. 

Modules are assessed with multi choice questions. These are easy to do on a mobile or tablet.

Projects and Superbadges are assessed with a hands on Playground (which is like a Developer Org or Sandbox). These are best completed on a desktop computer.

There are three Road to Ranger Trailmixes you can follow (thanks to resident mixologist Ranger Megan).

  1. Road to Ranger 1
  2. Road to Ranger 2
  3. Road to Ranger 3

Trailhead Help also has articles about logging in and setting up your accounts and you can always log a case if you need further assistance.

Let's Get Focused!

You will have the best chance of getting hands on with Salesforce whilst volunteering for a local Non Profit. Maybe the sports club your kids go to, or your local church or school. 

I want to show you how to narrow down on the content (modules and projects) for Non Profits.

Go to Learn --> Trails

Trails are guided learning paths

Choose your trail

then choose your Level (Beginner) and Product (Nonprofit Cloud).

You will see that there are 10 Trails you can do at the time of writing this blog post.

I recommend you start with this one - Manage Your Mission with Nonprofit Cloud.

Once you have completed all 10 Trails you will be ready to volunteer with any Non Profit that offers this opportunity.

But what if you can't find a placement? No problem!

Go to Learn --> Projects and choose Beginner and Nonprofit Cloud

Now choose Install Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) into a Trailhead Playground.

This will allow you to have a Playground (or Developer Org) of your own to play in. Once you have successfully installed the NPSP in your Trailhead Playground you will have access to a Salesforce Instance that you will be able to practice in and customise. You can use this to demonstrate to a Nonprofit near you how you can be of service to them.

Do No Harm 

This is probably that most important thing, and most of this copy has been recycled from this essential Trailhead Trail designed for Salesforce Employees but equally relevant for you.

Volunteering is one of the best ways to learn. However, it’s critical for you to commit to doing no harm before you start with a nonprofit (or educational institution). 

What does this mean exactly? Well, it means that you commit to using your current skills and expertise to help an organization make the most of Salesforce technology. You shouldn’t view this as your chance to gain experience, test new skills or experiment on an organization’s instance. That is what your Trailhead Playground is for.

Nonprofits and schools play a vital role in our communities. They’re often underfunded and understaffed, which means they probably won’t be able to fix mistakes that you make. If something goes wrong and you don’t have the expertise to fix it, you might hurt the organization’s ability to serve their community and achieve their mission.

The stakes are just too high to try untested skills on a nonprofit’s or a school’s org. Please, only volunteer your current Salesforce expertise.

Doing no harm also means following through on the commitments that you make. Nonprofits and educational institutions probably won’t have the expertise or bandwidth to complete your project if you depart before it’s finished.

Now before you start using your Salesforce superpowers you need to learn more about Salesforce.org solutions for the nonprofit sectors.

Salesforce.org’s “Power of Us” program makes technology more accessible to nonprofits. The program provides 10 free subscriptions and discounts on additional subscriptions, products, and services. 

In my next blog I will explain how to guide a Nonprofit through the application process. 

And if you have any questions - please let me know in the comments below. Thank you!

 

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