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Making the Transition from the Military to a Tech Career at Salesforce

Salesforce Careers

May 16, 2024

Meet Army veteran Kim Sembrano, today a Senior Solutions Consultant at Salesforce, providing Tableau solutions to the Public Sector. In our latest Q&A, Kim details the reasons she joined Salesforce straight out of the military, the skills that transferred to the tech industry, and why Salesforce is a great choice for those transitioning from military service or a government role.

Are you a transitioning service member or military spouse looking for an opportunity to join the tech industry? Learn about the Salesforce (Skillbridge) Fellowship with Hiring Our Heroes.

 

To get started, could you tell us a little about yourself, and how long you’ve been at Salesforce?

 

Image of Kim and her husband Matt at their ring ceremony at West Point, NY
Kim and her husband Matt at their ring ceremony at West Point, NY.

After exiting the military, I joined Salesforce in 2022 as a Skillbridge intern with the Public Sector’s Customer Success Group.

[Editor’s Note: Skillbridge is a collaborative partnership between Salesforce and Hiring Our Heroes. The program allows transitioning service members and military spouses to participate in 12-week fellowships for certified Salesforce professionals.]

 

 

So, you joined Salesforce right out of your military career! What brought you here?

I spent a lot of time networking with veterans who found careers in the tech industry, as well as working with career coaches to understand my values and what I prioritize.

Once I decided I wanted a career in tech, I leveraged online learning platforms to upskill quickly and acquire certificates that are valuable in multiple industries. There are tons of free and affordable options specifically for the military and military spouses.

“At the end of the day, I wanted to be part of an innovative, forward thinking company with a great military community.”

What does Salesforce offer those with a government or military-based career path?

Picture of Kim, with her Army mentor LTC Nerea Cal, after getting promoted to First Lieutenant at Fort Carson, CO.
Kim, with her Army mentor LTC Nerea Cal, after getting promoted to First Lieutenant at Fort Carson, CO.

In addition to the Skillbridge internship, Salesforce Military offers free Salesforce training for military and spouses that is 100% remote. So Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, Veterans, and current military spouses can start building tech skills at any time before, during, and after their military transition.

Transitioning out of the military can be very stressful, but programs like Salesforce Military give service members more control of their transition and make it easier to bridge the gap into a civilian career.

➡️ Learn more about Vetforce, Salesforce’s Equality Group for veterans, families of service members, and allies passionate about supporting our military. 

What skills from your military experience helped you in your transition from Army to tech?

Definitely the soft skills. I was a junior officer, so I spent my entire time in the Army relying on my Non-Commissioned Officers and technical subject-matter experts. Through this experience, I developed soft skills like resource management and working with diverse groups of people.


In the Army, you’re not given all of the answers, and you have to find things out on your own. So asking questions, making phone calls, leaning on subject matter experts — those are huge. Taking initiative, knowing how to stay calm when something goes wrong, speaking with confidence, leveraging your team’s strengths — those are some of the soft skills I gained that helps me with my job today.

Let’s talk about what you do at Salesforce day-to-day. Can you explain your role?

Image of Public Sector Cleared Solution Consultant team making cards for hospitalized children after a team meeting in McLean, VA
Public Sector Cleared Solution Consultant team making cards for hospitalized children after a team meeting in McLean, VA.

I’m a Senior Solutions Consultant, providing Tableau solutions to the Public Sector. I’m part of Salesforce’s Professional Services organization where I help customers harness the full power of their data to make better business decisions with Tableau. I work with customers to consolidate and clean their data and present it in an interactive dashboard.

I’m based in the DC area, and some days I’ll travel to my customer’s office to talk about upcoming projects, and other days I’ll do work at the Salesforce office in downtown DC. On days where I have things going on during the day, such as a doctor’s appointment, there’s flexibility, so I’m able to work from home.

What qualities does a successful Solutions Consultant have?

First and foremost you have to be solutions-oriented — it’s right there in the job title! You always have to work towards an end-goal that you and the customer agreed on. In Salesforce Professional Services, we use an agile methodology that guides consultants on our projects.


Solutions Consultants also need to be collaborative. We work together often and share ideas to make dashboard development and troubleshooting much easier.

You work primarily in the cleared space. What’s unique about working in that space?

I was not expecting to experience the same sense of community and camaraderie that I did in the military. But many employees in the cleared space are former military or military spouses. Many of our customers in the Public Sector are current or former service members, too.


It’s nice working for and serving veterans, military spouses, and people who just know the quirks of the military. It’s a great environment, and it’s very familiar. At the end of the day, we’re all still fighting this one fight, working as one team.

“It’s a great environment, and it’s very familiar. At the end of the day, we’re all still fighting this one fight, working as one team.”

How have you been able to grow in your career over the past two years?

At Salesforce, there are so many opportunities to learn new skills. Taking advantage of our education reimbursement program, I studied for and acquired multiple certificates such as Tableau Certified Desktop Specialist, Tableau Certified Data Analyst, and CompTIA’s Security+ (ce). I also developed new skills using Snowflake, SQL, and CRM Analytics.

 

Image of Kim with fellow Washington DC-based Salesforce employees serving on a Q&A panel for George Washington University’s Women In Business program
Kim with fellow Washington D.C.-based Salesforce employees serving on a Q&A panel for George Washington University’s Women In Business program

Even though acquiring certificates and new technical skills are important, networking is what really helped my career grow so fast! Networking is incredibly important, and not only did it lead me to Salesforce, but it also gave me the opportunity to be part of really cool projects. And at Salesforce, I learned that networking doesn’t always have to be something formal — networking includes informal coffee chats with leadership or a team outing at a Caps game.

What’s your favorite part about your role here?

The people — including my in-house Tableau teammates and my Public Sector customers — and the purpose.

As I’m building these dashboards and working with my customer’s data, I’m able to connect the dots and say, I see this impact. And it’s not just impacting me or Salesforce or my customer and their bottom line. It’s impacting the Public Sector. It’s very fulfilling, and it’s easier to come into work every day when you know that what you’re doing has this purpose.


Interested in transitioning from the military to Salesforce? Get started today by reviewing our open role opportunities.

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