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Aug 13, 2019

Music by Robert Reid

Hosted by Barbara Alberts


Dario Molina: Do it. Go for it. Who cares about all these other students coming from more recognizable schools? You are you. They are them. From my own experience before I applied to Salesforce, I only had two years of experience in coding in general, and I was in the same position that some of these students might be like, "Hmm, can I do this?" But my answer to you is "Yes you can." Apply yourself, work hard, and from your work, your success will come. Your work is going to speak for you.

Barbara Alberts: Curious to know what it's like to be an intern at Salesforce? Welcome to the Salesforce spotlight, the podcast series that highlights the extraordinary stories of Salesforce employees and Futureforce interns. I'm Barbara Alberts, and on this episode of the Salesforce spotlight, I sit down with software engineer Dario Molina, as he shares how he got to Salesforce, and overcame challenges and obstacles to get to where he is today. Tune in for more, and happy listening.

Barbara Alberts: So with me on the podcast today is Dario Molina. He came to Salesforce after spending one of his summers as a Futureforce intern, and he's just here to talk to us about his experience as an intern, and also his transition into a full time employee, and just what he's been up to since then. So Dario thank you for joining.

Dario Molina: No Barbara, thank you for the invite. Pleasure to be here.

Barbara Alberts: Why don't you just tell me a little about your background and how you got to where you are today?

Dario Molina: I graduated last May, and I did my major in computer science, and I was part of this cohort down in Monterey Bay where you get your Bachelors in three years. Essentially I came from a math major. I really liked the critical thinking, logic, problem solving, and my last semester before transferring I had to take computer science. Within the first classes, I was like, "Oh my gosh, what is this?" Like all the awesomeness of logical thinking, of the rational was in there, and it was tangible because I could see whatever I put into the computer was coming out, and it was amazing. From that semester I decided to transfer over my major.

Barbara Alberts: So you came to Salesforce through Futureforce, how did you find out about that opportunity? Yeah, how did you find out about that opportunity?

Dario Molina: So in the cohort that I previously mentioned on... The cohort a year before me, some of the students were entering in here at Salesforce, and I really liked that aspect from Salesforce of the giving back their 1-1-1 model. And I was really touched by this company who's top in the Forbes, really caring about their community. So I asked one of my friends, "Hey, what's it like interning at Salesforce? Can I get more information?" And part of your Futureforce is, there's a day where you can invite friends over. Right? She invited me, I came over, I met her manager, and long story short, her manager became my manager. A blessing.

Barbara Alberts: Absolutely. So you talk about Salesforce's values and things like that. Is that something that you had thought of previously when you were looking at places to intern, in terms of like what does this company value and what is their purpose behind their business?

Dario Molina: Definitely, definitely. Most of the students, I can relate. When we're looking for internships, a lot of the times it's like, "Ah, let me just apply and whichever one calls me back, I'll go with that one." Right? But I really wanted a place where I can relate to, in terms of what they stood as a company, their philosophy, their mentality, and the impact that they're having, not only in tech but outside of it. And that's I think the number one thing that pushed me over, "Do you know what? Salesforce is way to go." And I'm thankful, thankful to God, thankful for the way things turned out, and where I'm at today.

Barbara Alberts: Absolutely. So you came to that Futureforce event, you started talking to your future hiring manager. So what was the process like for you from that initial contact and just the application process, recruiting process, things like that?

Dario Molina: Sure. So when I came over, I met up with my friend and then she's like, "Oh, you know what, come on, let me introduce to my manager. Her manager. And my manager's name is Jean Rivera and a great guy. He's like, "Oh my friend Hayley." She's like, this is Dario and Jean [inaudible 00:04:16] We had a five minute conversation. He had to leave from that point, we exchanged some emails and this was in the summer. Salesforce came to my school the following semester in November. And from those engineers and managers that came over, Jean was one of them and is like "Hey dude, you remember me?" It's like, "Oh yeah, you seem familiar. Was it Mario?" "No, dude, Dario. Dario." "Oh yeah. How's it going?" And pretty much, we did mock interviews from those mock interviews, the whole session and it went great.

Dario Molina: And at the end of the event, Jean was like, "Hey dude, well here's my card, my email's right there. Shoot me your resume and then let's see what we can do." And sure enough, I applied. And in that meantime, while I was waiting for his response, Salesforce contact me and like "Hey dude, there's this engineering position on infrastructure. Do you want to try it?" I was like, sure. I applied. I went to the whole round and when it came on the onsite, I didn't do so well and I was like, "Aw man." I was really disappointed. Like, Aw man, my company, the one that I wanted for, I couldn't get into, but I put it all in God's hands. A week later, the recruiter Julie, she sends me an email, "Hey Dario, how's it going?" Great. And for me it was a surprise like, "Whoa, Salesforce again?"

Dario Molina: "Yeah, now we want to reach out to you for this other engineering position." I applied, I had the interviews and I remember the Wednesday of Thanksgiving, I had my second round of interview with meeting a manager at sales cloud and the Monday following, after Thanksgiving I get a call from Julie and "Hey Dario, how's it going? Great, great." It's a funny story because when I first got the call, I had the areas on of a local town nearby and on that day I had a doctor's appointment for my wife and I said "Whoa, what? Like the... What? The clinic?" They call me and she... I answered hello. "Hey there. How's it going? You know, I'm part of Salesforce" and in my head like, what? This clinic is just in six stores and then it took me a little... "Hey, it's me." Julie's like "Oh Julie, how's it going? Hey listen, I just want to, how's your day going? I just wanted to let you know that we're pleased to offer you a position as an intern for the following summer" and I was like... "What?"

Dario Molina: She was telling me all this information, right? But it was just coming in one ear and leaving on the other. I was just so excited and more than anything, thankful. Primarily thankful to God for, even though I got rejected shortly after, Here I am back at Salesforce and thankful for my manager Jean who... He gave me a shot. Let's see how it goes with this guy and-

Barbara Alberts: Looks like it turns out well. I want to take a little bit of a step back and just kind of talk about... You mentioned that you didn't feel like you had done so great on that first onsite.

Dario Molina: Right. Essentially there was a lot of... There were some questions that was in the text that they were asking me information about. I wasn't fully aware of, I wasn't exposed to and instead of pretty much guessing and lying to you, I told him "I'm not really familiar with this. Could you give me an example of a more thorough or elaborate example of how this is being used? How we can go from here?" And you know, the managers and engineers that interviewed me that day was really awesome, but it was just... I wasn't ready for that position at that time and I don't regret anything. It was a a good learning experience overall.

Barbara Alberts: Yeah, no, definitely. I think it's important to really talk about, obstacles for lack of a better term or something like that. Or maybe if there's a setback, there is still the opportunity to join in this program and get in there and things like that. Yeah, definitely.

Dario Molina: Like my case when one door closed, thankfully another one opened, right? And instead of seeing when I got rejected from my initial one, instead of being, yeah, I was bummed and I was like, "Oh man." But it wasn't the end of the day. It's not the end of the world, sorry. From this, what can I learn from this? When I went home, it was on a Friday and I drove down and I got here back at 10 in the night. When I got here 10 in the night I started looking at everything that they asked me, I started Googling, what is this? How is this being used? What companies are using this? When did this tech started? What is the long-term of how this is going to be used? And then just starting absorbing all this different... Pretty much the questions that they asked me, right. And knowledge is power.

Barbara Alberts: So you know, you get that acceptance Thanksgiving week and then you fast forward to May or June when you start. What was that experience like for you? Just kind of stepping into the office, stepping into the team and kind of getting yourself oriented with what's going on.

Dario Molina: It was very challenging. The first day that I came to Salesforce to start two weeks prior, my baby boy was born. So it was very like "Oh, like my baby's here, my wife's back in my hometown, three hours down South." So it was a little bit hard to leave them and come over here and putting that out there, I was very also very... You know, the imposter syndrome. Oh man. Like "Do I really belong here? Can I really do this?" I see all these students from top colleges, universities and I'm coming from a small university [inaudible 00:09:30] not many people know. And it was more like "Hmm, okay, all right Lord. Here I am. Put this in your hands. Here we go." And my manager at the time, he wasn't here, he was out on a flight out of town.

Dario Molina: And the first manager that I spoke to on my second round of interview, [inaudible 00:09:51] He was pretty much "Oh yeah man, come over." They gave me like a quick round of what Salesforce was about, what they were working on and it was a good experience because my experience was a little bit different than most interns. I was part of the team [inaudible 00:10:10] foreign sales, in sales cloud. But I wasn't in the team, I didn't attend stand ups. Retro, grooming. It was more like [inaudible 00:10:17] "Here's a problem and figure it out. Show us, come up with some solutions. What's the best way to implement it and then come and give us an approach." And although my approach, although my situation was different, nevertheless it was an awesome experience and I'm thankful that my internship experience went that way because I learnt so much from that.

Barbara Alberts: Can you tell me a little bit about that project you're working on?

Dario Molina: Sure. So my project, what happened was that, you know Q3, Q4 they do a lot of testing performance, how the teams are doing. So my manager wanted to do, okay, from leading up to future freeze, what teams are... How many bugs are each teams logging? Which teams are on track, which teams are falling behind? What are the measure of these bugs that are coming [inaudible 00:11:04] their severity. Then coming along. So before what they would do is, my manager, he would sit down, open a spreadsheet, put this team, this date, this week of future freeze, this many bugs, right? And then he told me "You know what dude? Like I'm a manager, I should have been doing this." He gave this work to another engineer. And then pretty much we wanted to automate the whole process when clicking a few buttons or running just one simple terminal command, it will generate all these, all these records.

Dario Molina: And yes, sure enough I used, I learned enough Salesforce APIs and pretty much what I implemented was based on this user run a terminal and then it would generate all from up to that week it would generate from all the teams, like what teams, what bugs are coming along. The number of bugs. And this was great information that even other managers from other clouds wanted to use that tool. And yeah, my manager was very "Wow, dude, I can't believe the approach that you used" and what took a matter of, could be hours, it took seconds.

Barbara Alberts: Wow. So you really had the opportunity to work on a project that had impact. This wasn't busy work. This wasn't "Oh here, this is just what I don't want to do. This is something where you got to actually put your mark on it and have an impact. That's awesome.

Dario Molina: Even though this wasn't a feature showing out to customers, it was an internal tools that a lot of the managers and teams needed. And when I was showcasing my project towards the end of my internship, a lot of other engineers that came and said "Oh that's an interesting... Can I use it?" I was like "Yeah it's okay, go ahead man." And even in my [inaudible 00:12:47] when I went back to school, I was in touch with my mentor and he was like "Yeah man, we're still using your tool. It's been awesome." And I implemented a thing, here and there, but it's working better than we expected. And I was like, "Oh man.".

Barbara Alberts: That's great to hear. It's like you look back at that and you're like, that's awesome. But okay, so your internship ends as all of them do, which is sad, but just I guess after that internship, how did you or did you stay in touch with your team? Like what did that process look like for you once Futureforce was over?

Dario Molina: So after Futureforce, after my internship was over, I went back to school and that meantime that I was in school, I get in touch with the manager, with my mentor, with my recruiter, my new recruiter Eva and Julie, my past recruiter, my previous recruiter. And essentially what I had learned in my internship, I was doing side projects to implement on top of what I had built. Not necessarily here in Salesforce, but the same mechanism of the APIs that I was using, the service, the server that I created. I was using those side projects. And one of the things that I use is, I created this website for my local church and although I wasn't using Salesforce APIs and although I wasn't using the same internal tech, I was using tech that was open source. And pretty much I would say "What okay, based on this, how many people are coming to church? How many people, during a time period, are the length of the people staying in church before, during and after the service."

Dario Molina: And it was amazing. And then aside from that, I had time to improve on my new knowledge that I was getting in school. And honestly, I couldn't wait to come back to Salesforce. I had dreamed for it. It was my first day. And you know, the most exciting thing that I had is when I was an intern, I had my desk and I had a lever that had to rank it up to elevate, to make it go up and down. And in my dreams, I remember being so happy because I had my own desk and instead of pulling the lever, I could just press a button and go up and down and I would tell my wife "Wow." Of all the things you could be excited of going back to Salesforce, you're excited about the desk thing." Yeah, I know.

Barbara Alberts: How long after your internship had ended did you kind of come back on full time?

Dario Molina: So I graduated in May and I came back full time the last week of June. So about a month and a half after I graduated. Yeah.

Barbara Alberts: Congratulations.

Dario Molina: Thank you, thank you.

Barbara Alberts: And so when you look at how your internship process went and how you got your foot into the door at Salesforce and things like that, what would you kind of tell somebody who is looking to get into the program? Looking for advice, looking for just something to kind of inspire them, inform them about the Futureforce program and how they can kind of best set themselves up for success.

Dario Molina: Right. I think the number one thing would be to go out of your comfort zone. You know, for me the thing that got me started was that I was able to be social and talk to my friend Hayley and then introduced me to my [inaudible 00:16:02] who would become my manager, Jean. And for someone who's not very social, it's important to have connections. So my one thing would be step out of your comfort zone if you're not... If you're shy and speaking in public or reaching out to meeting new people, try it. Expand that comfort zone. If you feel like Salesforce is a big company, huge impact "Do I belong there?", you do. Kick that imposter syndrome out. Everyone has their own skills, their own qualities and all of those makes us unique. And bringing those different attributes into Salesforce is what makes it a great company. And one more thing, "I'm just an intern". You're not just an intern, you're an intern who's coming here to have an impact because you're part of Futureforce.

Barbara Alberts: Absolutely. Why did you decide to come back to Salesforce full time? I mean you are in computer science. We're in Silicon Valley, we're in the heart of tech. There's a lot of options for you out there, but why did you decide "No, I'm going to stay with Salesforce. I'm going to continue working here"?

Dario Molina: The main thing was that Salesforce gave me my first shot. I had applied to other companies and they're all telling me "You know what? Your assembling is good but we're not... We need someone with more experience." Many companies wouldn't even give me one interview opportunity and what it came down to was, Salesforce gave me that opportunity. They believed in me. My manager, my mentor, they believed in me and when I was an intern I didn't feel like "Oh, I'm just here as an intern." I was part of the team and I was speaking with engineers, lead engineers, POs who've been here for a long time. They have so much knowledge and we can talk about some tech and for me, like "Oh, I have this, this bug, right? Or I had this issue I'm not sure how to go around."

Dario Molina: We have a conversation and it didn't matter that it was an engineer. What I had to say, they would listen. What I had to say was important and I felt valued here. So when I got the full time offers... This was a year ago. From a year to today, I've learned so much, have grown so much, and now that I'm going to be a full time, I can have a huge impact because I'm respected. I'm sure there's other companies that respect and value their employees, but with Salesforce, this was my home, and I had to come back home.

Barbara Alberts: That's a great way to put it. So the upcoming Fall is a big recruiting push for Futureforce, for interns, for college students and stuff like that looking for their next summer internship. What skills do you recommend, given your experience, given what you know now that you think that people should really build on before applying to Futureforce?

Dario Molina: I think the basics, understand your foundations in computer science, understand what [inaudible 00:19:11] is the fundamentals, right? And then aside, know the company that you're applying for. In this case, Salesforce. Know who they are, what they're doing, how long they've been in the [inaudible 00:19:25] what has been their impact before today, today and in the following years and aside from, I also learned what tech stack is Salesforce using? Do I have the skillset for, or do I have experience, some knowledge of the tech stack they are using? Yes. Cool. I'm going to dig deep down and learn some more. No? Well, I'm going to start learning to understand better what they're doing and be very prepared because Salesforce is not all... We're just hiring geniuses. They want to hire people who are willing to learn, willing to grow. That would be my advice.

Barbara Alberts: Can you just tell us a little bit more about your background? You grew up in a part of California right next to Silicon Valley, but very much known for agriculture and that kind of community. Can you just tell us a little bit more about your experience there?

Dario Molina: So I came to King City when I was in the ninth grade in 2009. King City is about an hour and 45 minutes down South of Salinas and then Salinas is like 15 minutes away from Monterey. So when I came over to King City, all this is just agriculture at the time. I left my house before I graduated high school and then right away I tried going to a [inaudible 00:20:48] which is down by [inaudible 00:20:50] and I actually went to [inaudible 00:20:53] community college down there. While being down there, it was very tough. At this point, I didn't have the support of my parents. The summer of my... After I graduated high school I was working at McDonald's and in the fields. Unfortunately because I was still under the supervision of my parents for FAFSA, I was still considered a dependent on theirs.

Dario Molina: FAFSA said, my parents made "too much money". I didn't get any financial aid and at this point my parents are "You know what? We're not going to support you." We had some differences, my parents and I. And so that summer I work pretty much from seven until 11, 12 at night at McDonald's. And then I would go to work in the fields at four, five in the morning and then get out at three, four in the afternoon and then repeat that. And only having sometimes Sundays, Friday off. But I had to save so much, I had to save money so I can go to school out there, where I was going with some buddies. Unfortunately when I went out there to Atascadero, I was only there for about a month and a half. School was expensive, books was expensive, rent was expensive, food was expensive and I couldn't stay there.

Dario Molina: So I had to come back to King City, sleeping from friends' couches, staying here for a few weeks, days. And I was working in the fields and when I was working in the fields, I realized, "You know what, I have so much respect for people who would do this for a living." Who immigrated over here and this is their best outlet to provide for their families. And I realized "You know what, I don't have a talent that generates millions of dollars. What I do have is intelligence and willing to grow, willing to be better." So I put myself in God's hands and my best salary right now is just education. So I went back to school while I was working in school. I was going to school, I was working in the fields. Eventually I stopped working in the fields. I came, I started working in Burger King.

Dario Molina: Burger King, I was there for a few months. Then I started in Safeway and then from Safeway started working at school as a tutor. And in 2015 about that time, that's when I joined the program. I was in the program. Thankfully I was able to get a full ride, a full scholarship, and pretty much what they told me was, here's this money. All we want from you is to learn and put in the effort from your expenses, your books and everything. We'll pay for it. And thanks to God, it was amazing. I mean, it was hard. School was hard as well. We had to go. We were taking 20... Around 20 units per semester, side projects. We would only have... We go to school summer, fall, winter, spring, just have a few weeks here and there during the year for for break.

Dario Molina: But you know [inaudible 00:23:58] Here we are. Here I am.

Barbara Alberts: Absolutely. So why math? What was it about math that kind of got you excited?

Dario Molina: The first thing was that I didn't know what to do or what to study. Like "Man, what do I do?" And you know, because I didn't have much money and I didn't have that much help for a FAFSA, I had to either have to get this right, because I don't want to be spending too much money and just pretty much waste time. So because I was looking somewhere that had critical thinking, logic, rationale. I thought, "You know what, what better way than math?" We use it everyday, whether we know it or not. We're using math and I mean that was a great, great experience. I don't use those skills as much anymore but I was still able to exercise that critical thinking of using real world applications. Once you got to the higher level of calculus, you know how to apply that, which is something that I use today. You know, I have this problem. How can I approach it? How can I tackle it? What do I know? What don't I know? And let's go from there.

Barbara Alberts: So I just haven't asked yet. What do you do now, today?

Dario Molina: Today I'm using the skills that I learned and applying them more in..? We have this problem, how can we address it? What can we use? It's in code, right? Java. Okay, so let's go back. I know Java behaves like this. It's [inaudible 00:25:31] to go into programming. It behaves like that. I know this works like this and then pretty much use those tools to create, write some code. I'm working on creating new BPOs, understanding Salesforce tech. I was, while being here, I had the opportunity to work in different layers on that layer, the API layer, and then the front layer, the oral layer, and this release had the opportunity to work more on the back end, more on the layer. And it's a great opportunity to know that I'm working, touching some of the same files that our founders touch at some point when it started. I open the file like "What the? Oh my g... All right, here we go. Let's do this." But it's amazing. It's amazing.

Barbara Alberts: And so finally, just to kind of wrap everything up, how much did your experience with Futureforce kind of prepare you for this next step?

Dario Molina: I think aside from the technological thing of understanding Salesforce APIs and the text that they were using, it gave me a lot of understanding of, and pretty much courage as well to speak, share what I'm thinking. Share what, "You know what? Maybe we shouldn't do this. Maybe we should do that" because right now on my team, I'm working with other engineers who have much more knowledge than I do where I have much more experience, had the opportunity to work with architects and it can be a little bit, what's the word?

Barbara Alberts: Intimidating.

Dario Molina: Intimidating. That's the word. It can be a little intimidating. The architect, the lead engineers and the other engineers talking about these in-depth technological discussions. And then internally to myself like "Oh wait, if we go that route, wouldn't this happen?"

Dario Molina: And at times when I first started out, I was like "Should I say that? Should I? Should I not?" But my manager, my teams are like "You know what, when you have something to say, say it. There's no dumb question." And little by little when I started asking "Hey, but what about this? Wouldn't this cost that?" It's like "Oh, that's a good point. Yeah, maybe let's do this." And it just pretty much reinforced that there is no dumb question. And we're all here for our cause, we're here and we're a team and we want to work together. To sum it up would be it gave me courage, validating in speaking what I had to say in terms of you know, technological stuff and also in building, applying my skills.

Barbara Alberts: Absolutely. Just want to have a little followup to that too. So what advice would you give to someone who wants to apply to an internship here at Salesforce but maybe doesn't feel like they're good enough or they don't have the experience. They don't come from these kind of more recognizable, more well known programs and things like that.

Dario Molina: I think too that I would say do it. Go for it. Who cares what you know? Who cares about all these other students coming from more recognizable schools? You are you, they are them and in this field, you can learn so much from the internet if you have a question about something, Google it. Google's your best friend. From my own experience before I applied to Salesforce, I only had two years of experience in coding in general and I was in the same position that some of these students might be like "Hmm, can I do this?" But my answer to you is "Yes you can. Apply yourself, work hard and from your work, your success will come. Your work is going to speak for you."

Barbara Alberts: Well, Dario, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. This has been a fantastic conversation and I learned a lot. I hope everyone who listens to this learns a lot, but thank you so much for joining.

Dario Molina: It's a pleasure. Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Barbara Alberts: Still want to know more about interning at Salesforce? Check out the rest of the Futureforce website or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Thanks for listening.