Back in 2008 I was unemployed and searching the job list at Monster.ca when “I saw a job posting that caught my attention” as I wrote in the cover letter, but this time I really, really, really meant it! The job posting was looking for a Developer Support Engineer whose responsibilities included:
Assist third-party developers to troubleshoot their integration with salesforce.com APIs and implementation of other salesforce.com developer products. This will involve debugging, troubleshooting, and taking responsibility to see that the issue is fully resolved.
Write sample code, client libraries, and contribute to Open Source projects.
As I continued reading the job posting, I could not believe it. They were looking for a person who likes the technical aspect of writing code, but also likes to help people! This was incredible, there was a job where I would get paid for doing the two things I love: Being a geek, and helping people.
But wait... Who is this “Sales-something.com” company? I’ve had never heard of them. What do they do? I went to their website and started reading about something called “cloud computing” and how it was going to revolutionize the IT world. I immediately realized this new technology is definitely the future, and I kept reading and reading, taking notes and trying to understand all this.
By this time, I knew this was not just a cool job, but this was the only job I wanted. So the next logical question was “How do I get it?” This is when I found the “Force.com Sites Developer Challenge”; they wanted to see “how far [developers] can take the platform and the new Force.com Sites in particular. For each submission, we'll be giving away a t-shirt (while supplies last). We'll also be handing out iPod nanos and iPod touches for interesting applications that show innovation or creativity.”
What? Did they just say that each submission will get a free t-shirt? Wouldn’t it be cool, if I could go to the job interview wearing a Salesforce t-shirt and say “Look, I do not what you guys do and how you do it.. I still have a lot to learn, but I can do it! This t-shirt proves that I can learn.” It would definitely help me get the job... but first I had to build something in this “Force.com Sites” thing.
The website explained the rules of the challenge and few other details, along with some ideas on the sites that could be built. They suggested building a product catalog (I don’t have any products to sell), a blog engine (it sounded too complicated) or a survey application (I didn’t know what to ask) so I was out of ideas...
One day I got inspired and I found out the topic of the site I was going to build: A tool for job seekers to track the different jobs they are applying to, which resumes/cover letters they have sent and help them customize the cover letters they are sending, something HR loves to receive. Sure it would be cool, but there was a more important motivation for me, judges (Salesforce.com employees) would be looking at my resume and cover letter when they saw my entry for the challenge!
So I started building it, but remember that I did not know anything about Salesforce.com few days before, when I found the job posting. So I started trying to find documentation, working on the workbooks, reading blogs, trying to make sense of many things... Few days later I had something I could submit and get my t-shirt!