The Silverline Academy is a full-time, 3-month immersive learning program for recent graduates. They go through hands-on training to learn a variety of consulting and soft skills, including client and project management, solution architecture, system testing, training approaches, and design. Expert Silverline team members design the curriculum and ultimately prepare the class to become Salesforce-certified consultants. At the end, our Academy graduates are assigned a mentor and client projects to work on.
My favorite part about the Silverline Academy is how willing the senior team members and former Academy grads are to help. They do this through mentorship and serving as clients for mock projects. As a graduate of Academy 3, I enjoy seeing the current Academy grow their skills as I also reflect on my time in the Academy. On the days when it’s challenging to be a consultant, it’s nice to think back to where we started four years ago and see how much my cohort and Silverline have grown.
The first Silverline Academy was in 2013 in our NYC headquarters, and two members of the class are still here today! We’re on to Academy 8 now in Omaha, which consists of 10 people. I spoke with our current Academy to get a feel for their experience.
How did you first hear about the Silverline Academy?
Coltin Lappin-Lux: In Waikiki, HI, hanging out with a really good friend of mine that works for Silverline! He knew I was looking to learn more about development and building my career. He thought that Silverline would be perfect because of the fun and collaborative culture that the company strives to uphold.
Nathan Minchow: I heard about Silverline and the Academy from one of my recruitment coordinators at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She mentioned that Silverline would be stopping by campus in a couple of weeks, so I marked it down on my calendar and later met with some members of SA6. That was followed by various interviews and my super day (a day-long interview process in New York), and now I’m here!
Brittany Schaeper: After receiving a recommendation to branch out to the Salesforce ecosystem and hearing through the grapevine how awesome Silverline is, I was lucky enough to find that there was an Academy taking place in my city, starting on my birthday. It was meant to be!
Where are you from and where did you attend school?
Coltin Lappin-Lux: I grew up in Solon, IA, and attended college in Des Moines, IA, at Drake University and studied Computer Science and Mathematics.
Tristan Martin: I’m from Omaha, NE (I’ve lived here my whole life), and went to school at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Jake Burchett: I am originally from Washington (State) and went to Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, for college.
Nathan Minchow: I am from the very small town of Louisville, NE, and went to school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I got my bachelor’s in Computer Science. I was originally planning to move to a larger city post graduation, but I liked Silverline enough to stay in Omaha for a while.
RaeLynn DeFalco: I call Nebraska home. I went to the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Casey Kelly: I went to the University of South Dakota and I have my MBA/MS-BIA from Creighton University.
Brittany Schaeper: I’m from Omaha and attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where I studied Management Information Systems.
What do you do within the Silverline Academy?
Tristan Martin: Learn the soft skills related to consulting, working with clients, and being agile. The Academy also has to understand the hard skills regarding Salesforce; as a developer this primarily includes Apex, Triggers, Lightning Web Components, and Data Modeling. We have six associate developers within the Academy and four business analysts.
What is your day-to-day work like?
Jake Burchett: My day-to-day at work looks like participating in a variety of meetings that are designed to help get me up to speed with how things work at Silverline. I also work on internal projects tasked to us, myTrailhead (in order to prepare myself for my Admin certification), and starting here soon I will be putting in billable hours in a small role for some of Silverline’s Navigator projects.
RaeLynn DeFalco: We’re in the middle of our mock project now, so it’s a lot of meetings internally and with our “client.” We’re also starting some internal projects and billable work with our mentors. I try to squeeze in some myTrailhead whenever we have a little bit of unaccounted for time. And we have a couple of consulting-related trainings every day.
Casey Kelly: It depends! Always, always start with coffee. Right now I am job shadowing with Jessica Craven and beginning to work on some projects. The Client Services department also has their mock project where we started Phase 1, which is delivery focused, and Phase 2 has been about Navigator engagement. When I’m not working on the mock project or client projects I am usually in training, meeting with a coffee buddy, or doing myTrailhead.
Brittany Schaeper: The program started off with onboarding and various classroom training and has quickly ramped up to include various activities. To simulate all the different touchpoints in the client journey, apply the adaptive methodology, and get some hands-on experience in different roles, we were assigned a mock project that includes the implementation of Sales and Service Cloud. We also continue to have presentations conducted by our colleagues that help us with things we’re facing along the way. Starting this past week, we were assigned mentors and have begun shadowing them and getting familiar with their projects so we can transition into client work.
What’s your favorite thing about the Silverline Academy?
Coltin Lappin-Lux: It is so exciting to be collaborating with such smart individuals and have access to so many different people within Silverline. There have been several guest lecturers. To be able to pick their brains and ask questions has been really great!
Nathan Minchow: So far my favorite thing about the Academy is the variety in my day-to-day work. It’s refreshing to work a software development job where I do more than sit at my desk and code for eight hours every day.
RaeLynn DeFalco: It’s an incredible career opportunity. Countless people have told me they wish there had been an Academy when they were entering the Salesforce ecosystem. It’s just a very unique chance to be immersed in a supportive learning environment and learn a whole lot in a little bit of time.
Brittany Schaeper: We get to embrace all of Silverline’s core values, but especially “Always Learning”! It’s a unique experience that we get to be a part of, and it really appealed to me that Silverline invests in their employees and talent development. We’re all young 20-somethings that are motivated and eager to dive into the Salesforce world. It’s really a fun dynamic because we are all very different and bring different strengths to the table. We get to be innovative, make mistakes sometimes, and just learn as much as we can from our mentors, Academy leaders, and one another.
How do you think this experience will help you as your career evolves?
Coltin Lappin-Lux: As a developer in the Academy, I get to write Apex code, learn about best practices, and get feedback on my dev skills. This is such a rich experience because I get to engage with the material and folks at Silverline to fully understand how and why we build solutions the way that we do. The Academy is already building my career by helping to establish a strong foundation of development skills, in addition to necessary soft skills.
Nathan Minchow: While the Academy is definitely improving my software development skills, I think that the consulting and “soft” skills are going to really help my career moving forward. As a software developer, those skills can really help set you apart. There are plenty of talented coders, but not very many of them are effective communicators or great presenters.
RaeLynn DeFalco: It’s laying the groundwork for everything I can do in the future. I came from a project management background, but the training and support I am receiving now is helping me build a platform that I can grow on for the rest of my career. I had no Salesforce configuration experience until we started the Academy a month ago. I’ve already learned so much and I know there’s so much more to learn.
Brittany Schaeper: The knowledge we are gathering is multi-faceted. We’re not only learning about the Salesforce ecosystem but also about the Silverline methodology and the soft skills we need to be successful consultants. All of these components are valuable in preparing us for billable client work and the transition from business analyst to client services manager and beyond as we and Silverline continue to grow.
What’s been the most surprising thing about the experience so far?
Nathan Minchow: The most surprising thing about the Academy is the books Greg Grinberg is having us read. I actually really enjoy reading them, but I thought my days of purchasing textbooks were over. At least these are reimbursed!
RaeLynn DeFalco: Honestly, I think how intense it’s been. Everyone was very upfront in the interview process about it being a difficult program, and they were definitely right. I love being challenged to think differently and approach issues with a solution-oriented mindset!
Brittany Schaeper: I’m sure it’s no surprise for the Silverline veterans, but the people we have the chance to work with are amazing! We’re constantly being challenged to improve ourselves and encouraged through the learning process. So many Silverliners have been willing to step up and help us along this journey by presenting a new topic, getting involved in our mock projects, or offering advice. It’s really refreshing to see all the unique individuals come together as part of a greater team to help one another and achieve common goals.
Anything else the world should know about you and/or the Silverline Academy?
RaeLynn DeFalco: Seriously, tell all your friends about the Academy. This is a unique opportunity to learn from really smart people and start a career that has unlimited potential. I’m super grateful that I get to be a part of it!
Casey Kelly: Our SA8 crewneck sweatshirts are going to be fudging awesome. Shoutout to Michael Lepore, Silverline’s Art Director, for working on the design.
Brittany Schaeper: Fun fact, I consider Austria my second home after living there for several years prior to Silverline.