How Trailhead helped this small-town engineer blaze her own trail
There was a time when tech companies were dominated by men, and breaking into this boys’ club was an achievement of sorts for women. While things are improving for the better and the industry continues to iron out issues like gender pay gap and parity, women like Neetu Bansal are taking steady steps to make their mark in the field.
Neetu, who hails from Sri Ganganagar, a small town in Rajasthan, credits Salesforce’s Trailhead – a free, gamified, online platform that empowers everyone to learn in-demand skills and earn résumé -worthy credentials – for helping her realise her dreams. Today, Neetu works as a Salesforce Developer for a big consultancy firm in Gurugram.
But, this journey was not without hurdles. Neetu grew up in a traditional joint family where educating girls was never a priority.
“There was a general notion that girls were only meant to get married and bear children. However, I could never succumb to the thought. I wanted to achieve something big. Thankfully, my parents came in support and agreed to send me to an engineering college in Jaipur.”
However, there was a condition – she had to pay for her education herself. So, Neetu took an education loan and enrolled herself in college.
Embarking on a trailblazing journey
Neetu secured a job with Jaipur-based software company, Metacube, through campus placement. While Neetu was looking forward to working with Java, she was put into the Salesforce Development team.
“At first, I was hesitant because I had no idea how to work on it. Meanwhile, all my friends were working in areas they studied.”
She began learning about Salesforce communities and attending Salesforce conferences in various cities. However, she truly mastered Salesforce only when she began spending a few hours on Trailhead every day, completing new modules.
Neetu says the best part about learning Salesforce on Trailhead is that it’s always available, there’s 24x7 guidance and ample resources, not to mention that Salesforce is a hot skill and opportunities are plenty.
The Lightning module on Trailhead was one of the most memorable and useful one she learned.
“I was given an assignment to build a basic Lightning Component. Thanks to Trailhead, I was able to learn how to build Lightning Components and get practice doing so in several Trailhead hands-on projects.”
Trailhead doesn't just offer technical expertise, but soft skills as well.
“There is a major lack of confidence among women in tech and I feel the soft skills module on Trailhead really helped me come out of my shell and take on new challenges,” she said.
Armed with her Salesforce knowledge and soft skills thanks to Trailhead, Neetu was invited as a speaker at the Salesforce Jaipur Development Group. Impressed by her knowledge and expertise, Salesforce representatives reached out to her, and asked her to head the Jaipur Women in Tech (WIT) group, the biggest WIT group in India.
Being the only woman speaker at the event, made her realise the need for her to help other women break the glass ceiling.
The group organises local in-person meet-ups to teach people Salesforce skills and help them learn about the power of the Trailblazer Community. They also work with students and visit colleges to arrange Trailhead hands-on learning workshops. Bansal says she is grateful for the opportunities.
“Because of Salesforce and Trailhead, I've been able to build a strong career for myself and also give back to other women in tech.”
Working on Salesforce with her first employer in the initial years of her career, saw Neetu making good progress within the organisation. Six years later, she moved to Gurgram to work for one of the biggest consultancy firms in the country.
“Looking back, I’m glad I got the opportunity to work on Salesforce at the beginning of my career. Today, I see the same friends who were once happy working on other projects making the switch to Salesforce,” says Neetu.
Neetu has now successfully paid-off her education loan and growing from strength to strength in her new organisation. What puts an even bigger smile on her face is that her conservative family is now encouraging their young girls to follow their dreams, just like Neetu did.
Connect, click and code
The Trailhead Community is like a family and they are coming together for the Trailheadx Salesforce Developer Conference on December 19 and 20 in Bengaluru. The conference is a one-of-a-kind developer event where technology meets creativity, builders meet roadmaps, and attendees meet experts — all designed for like-minded people looking to build their Salesforce skill set.
Register now for two incredible days of learning, connecting, giving back, and having the time of your lives with fellow Trailblazers.