Thanks to her passion for learning, Sharayu has just passed the Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA) exam, the pinnacle credential for a Salesforce architect. She becomes the first female CTA in Australia and the fourth CTA at Accenture Australia!
It’s amazing. Globally, there are only 18 Accenture CTAs, and I’m one of them! I’m still trying to absorb the gravity of this achievement.
Before I joined Accenture in 2015, I’d already been working on Salesforce projects for more than 10 years, first in my home country, India, before moving to the US and eventually, Australia.
I did my engineering in Electronics and Telecommunication and then began dreaming about working with technology. During my last year of engineering I got placed with a company as a Java developer and that is how my journey in technology started and I got passionate about this world.
Becoming an architect is harder when you’re female. I would sit in architect forums or boardroom meetings and be the only woman there – and often the youngest architect. It was a bit scary at first but, as my knowledge grew, so did my confidence.
Hosting the Women in Technology Event
I was lucky to have a lot of inspirational role models. I learnt from all my managers and coaches. They gave me the confidence and instilled the belief in me that anything is achievable if you put in the effort.
I didn’t start my CTA journey until January 2018 when my mentors at Accenture encouraged me to have a go. Having had first-hand experience as a lead architect, I really wanted to learn about and understand the platform more. I also knew there were very few CTAs in Australia and that gaining certification was tough. Many people are unsuccessful during their first attempt, so I was determined to pass on my first try.
The CTA exam is extremely challenging. You need to go through lots of preparation, practice, commitment and real-life project experience.
For me, it took more than a year-long journey, requiring a lot of time commitment. I studied long hours on weekends, a couple of hours in the morning before work and several more most nights.
That sounds really tough, but when you are passionate about something, you naturally start enjoying it. So, although the time commitment was high, I kept my focus on the learning and upskilling side of things.
I decided not to stress about the time spent but to enjoy the experience and apply the learnings to projects I was working on.
There were some technical aspects where I didn’t have hands-on experience, so I used these as learning opportunities. I sat with other people, got feedback and learnt from their experiences.
I was fortunate that my husband took care of everything while I was studying. He was my greatest supporter – he would run to the stationery store when I ran out of flip charts and be a silent judge whenever I practiced doing mock-ups at home.
With my husband
Now that I’ve finished and we have more time, my husband and I are spending our weekends driving around the countryside and going on fishing trips. We also have a list of cool places we want to travel to soon.
As a CTA, I want to be able to coach other people to achieve this tough qualification. If you’re thinking about working towards a CTA, my advice is to upskill, build on your experience, be willing to learn and have an inquisitive mind. The Salesforce ohana is always willing to support and help, so ask for help if you need it!
The most important thing is not to worry so much about the result – just enjoy the learning process.
I’m conscious that my journey doesn’t end here. Salesforce is a product that is constantly changing. I’m still learning loads and will continue to grow my knowledge and experience so I can get on bigger and complex projects and get as much experience as I can and be able to apply all my learnings.
I also want to invest my time in mentorship and help the community in whatever way I can.
Finally, I need to say a big thank you to all my colleagues, project teams and external people who helped me get to where I am now. I’m incredibly grateful that the Accenture Salesforce team, and even people in Salesforce itself, were so generous with their time.
With my team members