I came home from work this week to find a package I wasn’t expecting. I opened it, and inside was a hat and a medal — proof that Salesforce knows its stuff when it wants to encourage users to learn a new(ish) feature to its product.

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Brenna_SF Lightning Challenge_1

The swag was the result of the Salesforce Lightning Challenge, a 10-day experience that the Salesforce Admin marketing team organized to incentivize users to learn and interact with Lightning Experience, a newer and fresher user interface for Salesforce data. Officially announced in August 2015, the new user experience revamped the traditional Salesforce view, aiming to make the data easier to view and allowing users to be more efficient.

Salesforce’s Lightning Challenge illustrated that it is willing to go beyond traditional training methods.

Salesforce offers training on Lightning Experience via Trailhead, which includes many modules — all free — to play around with the new experience. Salesforce knows how to interact with its users on the internet, and this challenge illustrated that it is willing to go beyond traditional training methods.

News of the Lightning Challenge made the rounds on social media, and Salesforce put up a webpage with the rules:

  1. Complete the daily challenge, and
  2. Share it on social media with a hashtag.

Voila! You earn swag and learn at the same time. Being someone who has a hard time passing up fun, free stuff, I went for it.

Challenges ranged from basic (enable Lightning on your own developer org) to the more advanced (assign a customized record page to a specific Lightning app). As a Salesforce admin, the challenge was incredibly valuable. It presented me with specific scenarios, some of which I had not come across before in training or an implementation. Most of them we were asked to complete with very little instruction, but that was positive, because I had to play around in Salesforce and find other examples online on my own.

Create a calendar from something with a date in Salesforce? Check! Convert a pre-existing app from Classic to Lightning and give it branding and a logo? I can do that. Create an awesome (and interactive) dashboard in Lightning? Yup! And each module took 20 minutes or less to complete (unless you get stuck, like I did once).

The challenge encourages admins to keep their skills fresh outside of everyday work.

Lightning is the direction Salesforce is headed — new features are primarily developed for it, so it’s a must-know for any Salesforce admins, including myself. This challenge encouraged me to keep my skills fresh and flex my Salesforce muscles outside of day-to-day work.

Brenna_SF Lightning Challenge_2

As someone who transitioned to working with Salesforce from a totally different platform (SharePoint), and before that, a totally different industry (journalism), the online resources Salesforce provides are invaluable to anyone wanting to learn a new system. The Salesforce Lightning Challenge is yet another in this list of resources.

The challenge is still online, so if you’re looking to take the plunge into Salesforce, check out the videos. If you’re a Salesforce pro but not so comfortable in Lightning Experience, take a stab at the challenges.

Because you didn’t take the challenge when first announced, you won’t walk away with a hat and a medal like I did. But you will walk away knowing that you’ve expanded your Salesforce Lightning skill set.

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