Trailhead is Salesforce’s online learning platform, with self-guided training, for free. The resource was born from Salesforce’s motivation to build a skilled workforce to meet looming technical skill gaps.
Trailhead is based on gamification; users achieve badges (etc.) in order to level up through the ranks, with ‘Ranger’ being the highest. Becoming a Trailhead Ranger requires 100 badges and 50,000 points, and so, is considered a great achievement for Trailblazers. While this does take significant effort, it’s not impossible to accelerate your rank to the ‘Ranger’ milestone.
There was one question I noticed on the Trailblazer Community:
“Is it really possible to reach “Ranger” rank in five weeks?”.
While the answer is “yes”, the proper answer is “yes, but”. Salesforce community members chimed in with their commentary, echoing my thoughts, too. After reflecting on the question, and observing people’s learning objectives, I thought it was time to answer the question in more detail.
How to Become a Trailhead Ranger in One Month
Simple – take enough modules, to gain enough badges, until you total 100 badges.
Yes, it is possible to accelerate yourself to the top rank within a month by:
- Dedicating a lot of time and energy to complete badges, or
- Cherry-picking the easiest, “common sense” modules.
Reaching Trailhead Ranger Fast – Yes, But…
You shouldn’t aim to become a Trailhead Ranger quickly. While it’s my opinion (see my story, later in the article), this opinion is also shared by many others in the Salesforce community.
Clearly, one of the two options above is better than the other. Now, ask yourself how ‘cramming’ badges into your profile is going to help you in the long run:
- Can you retain a large amount of information that you’ve learned in such a short period of time? (I can’t!)
- Would you pass an interview, when asked general Salesforce interview questions, or role-based questions? (Interviewers are looking for natural, non-scripted answers.)
- Do you need to supplement your Trailhead Playground tests with more hands-on time in Salesforce? Anyone can use their Playground, or request a Developer org, to further explore Salesforce functionality.
However, dedicating time to Trailhead, even with the best intentions isn’t going to help you in the long term, without knowing which direction you want to head in your career…
Your Salesforce Career Path
There are many career pathways you can take as a Salesforce professional. Luckily, more career paths are being outlined and promoted as time goes on – even if they’ve existed for a long time, anyone can access entry resources and advice. Example ’emerging’ career paths include: UX Designer, Salesforce DevOps Engineer, Salesforce Business Analyst.
Have you focused your learning? Choose the badges recommended on Trailhead, to pursue the career path you desire.
Trying to Break Salesforce = Quality Learning
In the days before Trailhead, learning Salesforce features was a combination of on-the-job experience, absorbing Help documentation, and hands-on time in Salesforce Dev orgs.
There was a cheeky motto I heard that pushed me to learn about the platform, in-depth: “Try to break Salesforce”. This means you should test the behavior of Salesforce features, such as building out different scenarios, and see how automation, objects, and data interact. Then, repeat with different variables!
When I first started learning the Salesforce platform from a technical perspective, I was hooked.
“Every Trailblazer should take time to read the module and make sure they understand the concept explained. If at the end of the module there is only a quiz, Trailblazers should try to practice the concepts explained in the Developer Sandbox or Trailhead playground.”Evaldas Zaranka, who has completed every Trailhead badge!
Don’t ‘Game’ the System
If what I’ve said so far hasn’t convinced you to treat Trailhead learning as a “long game”, then here’s another comparison. Accelerating your Trailhead learning, only to achieve a certain rank, could be compared to using certification dumps to pass Salesforce certifications. Think about it – although there aren’t the same repercussions, you will fall down when trying to progress your career, as an imposter.
Journey to Trailhead Ranger
I remember the first day I used Trailhead. It was at a Trailblazer Community group meeting in London, back in 2016. You could say that the people I sat with that day were early adopters; at the time, I had no idea how far Trailhead would go. It rapidly became the engine that distributes new Salesforce technology, hosts certification maintenance exams – and incredibly, continues to transform people’s lives by leveling the “playing field”.
After 6+ years since I first took a Trailhead challenge, I still have not reached “Ranger” status. Yes, some people may think that’s embarrassing – or lazy. It’s not that I don’t advocate Salesforce – I’m a Salesforce Marketing Champion, and have written 300+ blog posts for the community.
Why it’s taken me so long to get to Ranger is most likely down to:
- When I was learning topics to do with my specialization (marketing automation), they weren’t yet available on Trailhead. Plus, I worked as a consultant, learning ‘on the job’ gave me an understanding of concepts when applied to the real-world*.
- I use Trailhead to learn “on-demand”. If there’s something I’m interested in, or lacking knowledge, I’ll dip into Trailhead. I never underestimate the search engine results that also appear on the first page, as they will offer an alternative explanation that could be more beneficial. In those cases, I won’t complete the Trailhead badge.
To summarize – I am a champion of Salesforce technology (and I wouldn’t describe myself as lazy either). Getting to “Ranger” has never been my sole goal; I use Trailhead not as a status symbol, but as the incredible learning resource it is.
*I want to stress here, that Trailhead is an incredible tool for breaking into different specialisms you may not have had opportunities to explore. I was too early!