Prajakta Samant is a self-taught Salesforce Architect with a passion for technology, mentoring, and painting — a childhood hobby that continues to fill her limited free time to this day. With a determined focus on providing the most valuable solution to her customers and overcoming geography-based challenges, Prajakta takes her energy and knowledge to build a better path for those blazing their own trail. Learn more about Prajakta in this interview.
How has Salesforce shaped your journey? Where did it start and how did you walk along that path?
Prajakta Samant: I started my career on Java and Oracle, as a developer. Thanks to my work on those platforms, I had good, strong technical knowledge and in 2008, I decided I was ready to take on something new. That’s when I got introduced to Salesforce at a consulting company I was working with. At that time, there wasn’t a lot of training and support available, but I was confident — given my background in Java and Oracle and my passion for technology — I would be able to learn with the amount of documentation we had on Salesforce. I have never looked back.
What do you love about being a Salesforce architect these days, and how does it fulfill that passion that you have for technology?
Prajakta: Mostly, the projects I work on are large, enterprise-scale applications; these projects give me the ability to not just offer a Salesforce solution, but also ensure that [the solution] brings value to the customer. And since I interact with global clients, it also helps me understand how issues can be different from one geography to another such as recent update to data privacy regulations.
How have you been a pioneer and a leader?
Prajakta: I would say I’m getting started as a leader. Over these years I feel I’ve absorbed a lot of knowledge, and now is not the time to just sit back and relax, but lead from the front. As a leader, I make sure that I’m constantly sharing my knowledge and empowering others to find a right career path to follow inside Salesforce ecosystem. This includes proactive participation within the Salesforce community here in India. I try to make the path for others a little bit better than it was for me when I started.
What keeps you motivated and engage in the ecosystem?
Prajakta: There’s this wonderfully structured program that Salesforce has started that helps people from non-Salesforce technology backgrounds learn about and switch to careers in Salesforce. There was a recent event in Hydrabad to help connect these new learners with Salesforce partners looking for the right talent. I remember one of the questions I got was from a woman who was trying to decide whether she should switch to the admin side of Salesforce or whether she should be on the development side. Her current background was in testing, and she very hesitant to move to the coding side. I remember that I pushed her a little bit in that conversation; I said, “Why do you really think you cannot do coding? Is it just that you’re afraid? The entire community is with you.” A few weeks back she completed her developer certification. Things like this are what keep me going back more and more — I feel I’m making a small difference in someone’s life.
What does being a trailblazer mean to you?
Prajakta: Being in the service industry, I would say being a trailblazer is to bring value to the customer in each and everything you do while making sure you are doing the right thing, That’s one pillar — the second is give back to the community and the society without expecting anything in return, otherwise like a wise man once said "you are not giving back — you are doing business".
How do you give back?
Prajakta: I focus on Salesforce community to fulfill my desire of giving back. Apart from that, my ongoing passion project is the Women Who Code (WWCode) organization. I’m the only Director of the WWCode Pune chapter, and that is a huge focus of where I want to volunteer and contribute.
Follow up to that question: what are your thoughts on the state of women in tech?
Prajakta: I think women in tech in this era are more fortunate than the women who started 10 to 15 years back because the awareness and resources available is tremendous. There are a lot of programs which offer an amazing amount of opportunities for women in tech, plus awesome support systems from different organizations. All we need is a resolution to be successful and there are lots of ways to make that happen in this age.
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