In Third Republic’s Salesforce Q&A Series, we speak to industry leaders about what changes they have seen in the Salesforce universe, where they think it is heading, and what this means for those working in the ecosystem today.
We recently caught up with Chamil Madusanka, Director at Dazeworks in Sri Lanka. Chamil gives us his best advice for those navigating the world of Salesforce, reveals how he got to where he is today - Salesforce MVP, 2X Salesforce Author, 4X Certified Developer, and talks about the importance of networking and getting involved with the Salesforce community.
Third Republic (TR): How did you begin your career in Salesforce?
Chamil Madusanka (CM): I started out as a Java Developer. In 2011, I went for a Java interview, during the interview they told me there weren’t any Java vacancies, but that they wanted to initiate a Salesforce team. They asked me whether I’d like to apply for a role in that team - that was the life changing question. I joined as the very first Salesforce Developer in their team and started the position with very little knowledge of Salesforce. I’d like to thank Mr. Chandima Cooray and the team at Sabre Technologies, for the opportunity and kick-starting my Salesforce career.
TR: You are a Director at Dazeworks, as well as, Salesforce MVP, 2X Salesforce Author, 4X Certified Developer - could you explain to us how you got to where you are today?
CM: Once I started with Salesforce, I could see the value in networking, so I initiated a LinkedIn Group called ‘Sri Lankan Salesforce Professionals’ to start a community in Sri Lanka. In 2012, the group was then converted into the official Sri Lanka Salesforce Developer Group with the support of Kavindra Patel from Salesforce.
Initially, I taught myself how to use Salesforce and then got the support from the Developer Community forum. Since then, I wanted to use my knowledge of the platform to increase the Salesforce competency in Sri Lanka. I started to answer questions on the forum and found myself in the top 5 contributors in the Visualforce category at the Developer Forum.
Packt Publishing (a UK-based publisher), noticed this achievement and invited me to be the author of ‘Visualforce Developer’s Guide’, which was published in 2013. Then in 2015 they asked me to be the author of a second book titled ‘Learning Force.com Application Development’. In 2014, I organised the first ever Salesforce Hackathon in Sri Lanka. Then in 2019, I was given the title of Salesforce MVP for my contribution to the community - the first Sri Lankan to hold that title.
TR: Could you explain a bit more about your role at Dazeworks
CM: I handle the Sri Lankan Operations of Dazeworks Technologies and I’m also part of their Global Executive team. I wear multiple hats in my role - coming from a technical background, there is an element of technical consulting, while also handling sales in Sri Lanka, and overseeing the sales and pre-sales team in India.
TR: What do you enjoy most about working within the Salesforce ecosystem?
CM: The community, definitely! The concept of Ohana allows different kinds of people working in the ecosystem the opportunity to share knowledge, ask questions and network. The ecosystem definitely feels like one big family.
TR: What are the biggest challenges you have faced throughout your career and how did you overcome these?
CM: Learning new technologies is the biggest challenge. Technologies are changing at exponential rate, and keeping up to date with them can definitely be a challenge -moving from one technology to completely new one is tough.
I overcome this by learning how to learn anything. My mantra is that we shouldn’t try to learn everything, but we should learn how to learn anything. How can we learn anything? You need passion and belief in what you do, while thinking simple on things to be learnt.
TR: What is the best advice you have been given that has helped you on your Salesforce journey?
CM: I recommend to anyone at any stage of their Salesforce journey to implement these three things:
TR: As someone who organises regular Salesforce community meetups and as the Founder and Leader of the Sri Lanka Salesforce Developer User Group, how important do you think the Salesforce community is to achieving success in the ecosystem?
CM: The Salesforce community is so important. When we work as a team, we can achieve much more than working alone. The community helps us to understand our level and identify the potentials in the platform. The collaboration we have within our community, will help us grow within the ecosystem.
TR: Do you think Salesforce certifications are a good way to continue career development?
CM: Certifications help you to learn things and prove your capabilities, they are your measurement on your knowledge of the platform. At the same time, it is important to stay updated and learn things about Salesforce in other ways, such as networking. In the Salesforce ecosystem it is definitely crucial to continue your career development.
TR: Do you have any predictions for the future of Salesforce and where the ecosystem is headed?
CM: With the 4th Industrial Revolution, the world is asking for more emerging, innovative, and advanced technologies - go-to-market is a key factor. Based on this, I feel that the Salesforce ecosystem will be stronger with more innovative acquisition like MuleSoft. I think AI and IOT related technologies will become more advanced and much faster in the future.
TR: Finally, do you have any further comments or advice for those new to navigating the ever-changing world of Salesforce?
CM: Those starting out now have access the best platform in which to share Salesforce knowledge - Trailhead. You can access hundreds of various materials; in whatever path you like in Salesforce. Join a local Salesforce group, build your Salesforce network, and you will feel a great sense of community - be a Trailblazer!