‘It’s vital to learn new skills, as many of our job roles transform’
More than 25,000 people work at Salesforce, making the cloud company one of the largest in the world with yearly revenues exceeding the $8.3bn mark. Part of the workforce is now made of Millennials, the younger generation driving much of the demand that gives the company a business. Millennial Pauline Dufour, Solution Engineer at Salesforce, speaks to João Marques Lima about the industry she works in and what others need to know about Millennials, including how to incentivise them when choosing between more than one company for a job.
What is your view of the industry you are in?
Primarily I see the tech industry as a great enabler.
I’m a selftaught solution engineer for Salesforce in EMEA but I started my career in marketing.
I think it’s thanks to this background that I really see the big difference that our industry is able to make to both business outcomes and individual lives.
For example, I’ve worked a lot with non-profits and so I’ve seen first-hand the way these organisations could leverage technology.
This innovation enables them to reach more people, scale more quickly and work more efficiently – all crucial when working with the limited budgets most of these organisations have.
In fact, it was an appreciation of the benefits technology can deliver that led me to become a developer.
What has been your major accomplishment to date?
I’ve come to realize that as a woman working in technology, I can have a real impact on girls and young women who are considering their career paths.
I taught myself how to code, using Trailhead and other interactive sites, and so am living proof that people from any background can embrace technology and further their careers through it.
I’ve now become a ‘People Like Me’ Ambassador and I visit schools and clubs to talk to girls about my experiences of working in the technology industry and answer their questions.
I also attend events like London G-Tech, where I’ve been a cloud-computing advocate for girls in tech and I support – and encourage my colleagues to support – initiatives like HERA, CoderDojo and Stemettes.
I think it’s this advocacy that I’m most proud of.
What does your day normally look like?
I start the day with a morning run and then check my social media feeds and news.
I usually split my time between meeting customers and building demos in the office.
I’m based at Salesforce Tower in central London but I do like to spend time at customer sites too, doing live demos on how Salesforce can bring value to their particular organisation.
I also run deep-dive technical discovery sessions with customers to understand what they want to achieve with Salesforce.
Later in the day I try to set aside some time in my diary for training to stay up to date with the latest in technology.
There is a trick I learned in my university days that I still live by: I stay away from emails and my phone for a couple of hours, allowing for concentration and productivity.
I’m also very excited to use my tech skills to help non-profits.
I work with HERA (Her Equality Rights and Autonomy), an organisation which provides training, mentoring and grants to women survivors of human trafficking, violence or exploitation.
I customise and implement Salesforce products that monitor their volunteers and organisation members.
They’re vital for quickly building workflows, data models and analytics.
I give my time as part of the 1-1-1 philanthropy model that Salesforce operates, making giving back a core part of our business.
What do companies need to know about millennials?
In my experience, millennials want to work via mobile apps that are intuitive to use and enable them to work anywhere, from any device.
They also want jobs that are purpose-driven and have some kind of meaning beyond climbing the career ladder.
Employers that offer programmes like 1-1-1 are really attractive because they allow employees to give back to their communities, making their jobs more meaningful.
A commitment of this type also clearly demonstrate a company’s values and ethos and that’s important too.
What do you expect from the industry and its future?
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution speeds ahead, the tech industry is going to continue to be more and more central to the competitiveness of the UK.
What I hope, and expect, is that everyone in the industry will step up to both encourage more people to consider tech careers and also get involved in initiatives to help all of the country keep their digital skills up to date.
Where do you want to be in 10 years’ time?
I love what I do now, but in the few years I have spent at Salesforce I’ve already moved from marketing to solution engineering.
With the pace of technological change, I think it’s vital to keep learning new skills, as many of our job roles transform.
I’m sure though that in ten years’ time I will still be doing something I’m passionate about, that it will be related to technology and that it will offer me the chance to continue to be an advocate for women in tech.