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From Retail to Enterprise Software: Behind the Scenes of a Technical Support Engineer

Amanda Wolkin

December 14, 2023

Stephanie Iraheta, Technical Support Engineer, has one tried-and-true mantra: Get comfortable being uncomfortable. And, if you ask Stephanie, she’s been uncomfortable a lot.


After all, in the last few years, Stephanie has pivoted from retail to enterprise technology, transitioned from intern to full-time, and gone from “breaking computers” – her words, not mine! – to solving highly technical customer issues.


In this interview with Women in Technology International, discover how Stephanie has paved her own career journey, moving from having imposter syndrome herself … to coaching others out of it.


Interested in learning more about our Technical Support Engineer roles within our Customer Success Group? Check out our open roles.


So, Stephanie: how did you get your start at Salesforce?

Group of eight Salesforce employees eating lunch in the office at a communal table in front of bookcases and a TV
Stephanie (top left) at lunch with her CSG team at the San Francisco Tower

I was actually in retail before coming to Salesforce. I then started as an intern at Salesforce through the Year Up program, which is a workforce development program to help close the opportunity divide. With that program, it doesn’t matter your background experience – it helps provide both technical and soft skills for working in a corporate workspace.


As an intern, I took a lot of initiative, always asking, ‘Do you have something else for me to work on?’ or ‘Is there something else that I can do to contribute to the team?’ Eventually, from my internship, I was able to get a contract position on the same team and then make that transition from a contractor to a full-time employee.


Did you always see yourself working in a technical space?

It’s a funny story – I was never the tech person in my family. I'd break the computers. My brother would be the one to fix them. So I never thought of myself in a technical role, until I got this opportunity with Salesforce.


Can you describe a day in the life as a Technical Support Engineer? What does that mean?

We work with customers – trying to investigate their issues, and then work together as a team to come to a solution. Right now my team is all focused on our public sector customers, with cases related to our Omnistudio product. The customer wants to implement it in their current environment, and then, if there’s a product issue, they reach out to us.


When we get a case from a customer, we look at any past investigations so we can see if it’s a known issue there’s already a solution for, or whether we need to swarm as a team to work on an issue together. I reference past investigations, Salesforce help documentation, and then any past Slack conversations where the issue might have come up before. Depending on the issue, we may have to go very deep on specific areas of our product – diagnosing a bug, starting a quality assurance sprint, and working with the product team to review further.


Nine people stand together at a volunteering event in front of an elephant
Stephanie's and her team at a VTO (Volunteer Time Off) event cleaning the elephant exhibit at the Oakland Zoo

How is Salesforce innovating in this space? Is AI impacting your role?

Like I mentioned, when we work on a case, we have to search many different areas: our past cases and investigations, Slack, help documentation, and all that. With AI, we now have a bot that brings together those resources – it is one place where we can ask what we’re trying to figure out. It’s already making our jobs a lot easier, and we’re able to help the customers faster.


How is success measured on your team?

We do have metrics that we have to fulfill – making sure we’re closing the cases in a specific amount of time and meeting those SLA (Service Level Agreement) times for our customers. We definitely focus on our case handling time for the customer, and then also being empathetic with the customer throughout the process.


What’s the most important trait you have to have to succeed in your role?

I think being able to have a growth mindset and always wanting to learn more really helps

because, with our role, the cases we get are never the same. We’re always learning something new – so I feel like just being open to trying new things and wanting to stretch your experience.


A Google hangout sscreenshot featuring five employees as they meet for a meeting
Stephanie's weekly meeting with her small but mighty team- that is now actively growing!

I try to leverage Salesforce's learning resources as much as I can. Trailhead is definitely one of the top tools that we use [Editor’s Note: Stephanie is casually a Triple Star Ranger – one of our highest learning ranks!], and then I’ve been pushing for more Salesforce Certifications. I already have three – I started with the Omnistudio Developer, then Salesforce Admin, and I’m working right now toward my Platform App Building. I’m always just studying on the side, and trying to further my own learning development.


What’s been the best piece of advice you received?

One of my Year Up instructors shared ‘to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.’ That was something I really needed to hear to get outside of my bubble. In the past, I knew what I excelled in, and I was just going to stay there. But, once you start venturing out to those new things, that’s where you can see where your real potential is and what you can really do. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out … but if it does, then you really can keep pushing yourself forward.


What has been an obstacle you’ve had to overcome here at Salesforce?

I definitely felt like I had some imposter syndrome. Other people I was working with at the start had their Bachelor’s or associate’s degrees, and I had none of that. But, when I came in, I just kind of acknowledged that I may not have the same experience – but I have that willingness to learn.


Over time, Salesforce helped take that imposter syndrome away. I felt included from the start, and I worked on a lot of things to help me know Salesforce as a company. Now, I’m helping to onboard some of my new team members.


Last question: How do you see your career growing at Salesforce?

Now that I’m in Salesforce, there are so many different pathways. Like, there’s Technical Support Engineer, my current role. There’s a Demo Engineer. There’s an Architect. I’m in a good position right now – I’m happy where I am. But it’s exciting to think about what could be ahead.


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