Student success story: Joshua Williams

Josh Williams

How one Pathstream student pivoted careers from program manager to Salesforce professional at Cloud for Good.

Joshua Williams, a recent graduate of Emory’s certificate program powered by Pathstream, was selected to be part of the first Talent for Good cohort. The cohort is an elite group of 15 Salesforce professionals, carefully selected by Cloud for Good recruiters from a pool of 1,200 applicants. The group will help nonprofit and higher education clients create more value by implementing technology, specifically Salesforce. But before Joshua landed this unique opportunity, he started his journey a year ago by enrolling in the Emory Salesforce Administrator Career Certificate

Last year, Joshua was a program manager for a nonprofit organization that provides music lessons to underserved youth. He is passionate about making a positive impact and liked his job, but was also interested in exploring a technical role that would incorporate his interest in business. He discovered Salesforce after speaking to a friend who worked within the Salesforce ecosystem and decided to learn more about the customer relationship management (CRM) platform. 

“I got started in Trailhead on my own and was learning a lot, but I knew that the job market was competitive. I wanted to set myself apart from other candidates, so I enrolled in the Emory certificate program because it offered a complete package that includes training, career guidance, and the credential I was looking for.”

While Joshua learned a majority of the concepts before enrolling, he still found the certificate program immensely helpful and useful.

“I understood the basics, but having an instructor was the key to filling in any gaps or answering questions I had. I also learned how to apply what I learned to real scenarios. I enjoyed working on the projects the most because they tested my skills.” 

Midway through the program, Joshua took advantage of connecting with Pathstream’s Career Services and working with a coach to improve his resume and set up his LinkedIn profile. Before Pathstream, he didn’t use LinkedIn and learned that there were tremendous benefits to promoting yourself on the social network. 

“My career coach taught me how to connect with other people through LinkedIn and overcome imposter syndrome to present my best self. This can be challenging for people who are transitioning careers, especially to a more technical role. I learned that it was important to value every experience you have and understand that they help make up your unique skill set.” 

He also opted into receiving the Career Services e-newsletter that shared the latest job openings on a weekly basis. He would comb through it looking for opportunities until he found a good fit and applied to the Talent for Good program. The program offered a two-year paid apprenticeship where you learn the basics of consulting clients on how to implement Salesforce to gain valuable insights for their organization. He would also have the opportunity to work with an array of clients giving him the chance to explore different career paths.  

The extensive hiring process included several rounds, but one that was more critical than resumes or past experiences, the Salesforce demo, which required applicants to show off their Salesforce skills and create a Playground in Trailhead. For Joshua, this round was a challenge, but the foundations he built and skills he learned from the Emory Salesforce Administrator Career Certificate gave him an upper hand. 

“My technical skills really made me stand out in the hiring process.  I was given a project to manage a package in Salesforce that I never used, but I had a strong foundation and the skills to overcome this challenge and succeed. Then to be selected, as one of 15 out of 1200 applicants really spoke to the level of preparedness I had. I am very thankful to the program for that.” 

When asked about his advice for prospective students, Joshua said,

“Take advantage of all the resources available and trust the journey. Take your time and dedicate yourself to developing your skills, engage in the projects, and don’t be intimidated to put yourself out there. Even if your experiences aren’t directly related to the jobs, remember you have the skills and you can articulate the value you will bring to an organization.” 


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