I can confidently claim that a major chunk of what I have learnt within the past one year of working with the Salesforce platform is primarily attributed to my involvement in the Answers Community. Even though my participation leans mostly towards answering questions rather than asking them, I sure learn something new at least every other day. If you believe that you know the platform well enough to furnish relevant and correct answers to people’s questions or have the desire to rip apart a problem and be made aware of multiple ways to solve it, then you certainly need to be active in the community. I can think of five extremely good reasons for why you should be answering questions and helping out the folks in this incredibly collaborative community:
- Providing the Salesforce users with the correct answers and right information
If you can provide a better, more optimized and helpful answer compared to others, then why not contribute? There are chances that someone might reply with an even better answer and you now have a new trick/tip up your sleeve! I also occasionally noticed that there was a scope for correcting other answers which further urged me to post my own. I won’t lie but I used to get corrected too by more knowledgeable folks out there and that’s exactly how you get better at this. If you see a question being led into the wrong direction, speak up and post your thoughts to steer the discussion onto the right path. A majority of community leaders started the same way and so should you!
- A great learning experience, undeniably
It happens quite frequently that I am slightly unsure of a solution so I first try it out out in a Dev org, confirm that it’s working and then post the solution. This way, I at least know that I was contemplating a solution on the right lines which is a great confidence booster. Isn’t this a fantastic mutually beneficial association?Moreover, answering questions along with salesforce experts like SteveMo, Deepak Anand, Geoffrey Flynn, Jeff May, Sharif Shaalan and Chris Duncombe makes it even more fun and enlightening. You might for a moment think that your posted answer is the best that a question deserved but one of these guys just comes in and posts a better answer. And please don’t get me wrong; as much as I dislike being contradicted, it’s so conducive to be aware of a plethora of other ways to solve a problem. I have probably utilized others’ methods a ton of times to help resolve or accomplish a requirement.
- A way to get a view into diverse org structures
Ever wanted to be in a consulting oriented profile but haven’t gotten the chance yet? Then I’m sure you will love responding to folks from a wide variety of Salesforce instance structures. Most of the times, answering a question means googling and rummaging the hell out of the Salesforce help docs if you don’t know the answer yourself. That’s exactly how I got to know the Service Cloud better.If you have been a part of a clean and well-organized Salesforce org, you probably haven’t ever come across a mature org with a haphazard and unwieldy metadata/data structure. I see questions from troubled users taking over a mature org all the time and this is another instance where you have the opportunity to suggest and learn from others’ responses.
- You can put it on your resume
Yes, you heard it right. Provided you believe that you have helped enough community members and made a difference, you can certainly write a line or two about it on your resume. And if you are trying to migrate from an Administrator/Developer profile into a consulting profile, it makes all the more sense to do it. I never perceived it as being something marketable until I added it to my resume.
- Nothing feels better than being able to give back to the community
I answer questions on the community without any expectations. Sometimes people come back and express gratitude for our help and sometimes they don’t. Just the feeling of knowing that I was able to guide them in the right direction is enough gratification. However, there are times when people send you a personal message and say Thank You for going out of your way to help them out and trust me, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. It motivates you to keep going and continue contributing to a community that helps you, teaches you and even thanks you back.