Becoming an Atlassian Community Leader

Whether you are just starting in the Atlassian ecosystem, or you are a veteran looking to grow within the community, this article is for you. 

I’ll begin where I started, delve into what I did to get to my position today, and finally, I’ll leave some tips for those in a similar position as I was. 

Where I started 

In 2017, I landed my first official job as an IT Support Specialist at a small company. I joined a team that had little structure to their requests, accepting them by either email or paper. These requests included on-boarding and off-boarding employees, general IT support, and system bugs. This system was unmanageable as requests were getting lost, forgotten, and were unable to be tracked. 

Before joining the IT team, I was on the website testing team. They used an external company to help develop the website, which used Jira to track issues and bugs. With my limited experience with the system for testing, I decided this was a solution to their problems. 

What I did

I watched quite possibly every tutorial video out there. Using Jira Service Desk, I made a demo of what I thought their service desk should look like and presented it to my team and the executives. What I didn’t know was that presentation would change my life. I got approval and dove straight into building the final product.

What started with one portal for IT requests only, quickly expanded into five other departments over a year. With the growth of the service desk, my role went from being just an IT Support Specialist to being a full-time Jira Administrator. 

Naturally, through the progression of this, I started my path through the community. At first, I was just asking questions, but I noticed there were questions that I could help answer. I immediately found a passion for the community and helping people. I found myself spending more and more time there trying to provide any answer I could. I was also fortunate enough to be sent to the 2019 Atlassian Summit, a definite must-attend event for anyone looking to grow their career with Atlassian. I was able to dive even deeper into the world by meeting people from Atlassian’s team, other Admins from around the world and my current company, Ascend Integrated. Shortly after the Summit, I joined the Ascend team as a consultant. 

In my first month with Ascend, I’ve obtained two Atlassian certifications. With this company, I have been able to focus on exactly where I need to grow. After a lot of hard work and dedication, I was invited to the Community Leader program in August. A significant accomplishment and something I am incredibly proud to be apart of.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you along your way:

Don’t get discouraged

  • The very first time I took my certificate exam, I failed. It completely crushed my soul, and I started thinking I didn’t belong in this field. I was wrong. Don’t let failures get you down. Failure is a vital part of your success, and without it, you will never learn.     

Ask for help

  • There is a wonderful community of people out there that are willing to help you at a moment’s notice. All you have to do is ask!

Play around (test test test)

  • If you want to know how something works, do it! Play around in the instance. Touch every button. If you don’t have a test instance, get one! Server instances are free if you host them yourself and you can do all the testing and playing around you want. Testing is the best way to learn the many aspects that the Atlassian toolset offers.

Experience is key

  • If you want to get an Atlassian certification you’ll need experience, but you won’t necessarily need the recommended years of experience to pass. I don’t meet all of them myself, but you will need to know how each and every tiny function works. Otherwise, the already difficult exams will be a thousand times harder.

Learn the Marketplace

  • For those that don’t know, the Marketplace is where all add-ons for the Atlassian toolset call home. Learning what is available is important because it opens up options. Even with all the flexibility the tools give you, it’s not always enough, and add-ons are the only way to go. Knowing what options are available will not only let you know alternative paths you can take, but it will help you know where or who you’ll need to reach out to to get your problem solved.

Go to events

  • Most major cities have an Atlassian User Group (AUG), and these groups host free events. I recommend going to yours. You get great information from them, and you get to meet new people! 
  • Try to attend the Summits or other smaller events Atlassian puts on throughout the year. These will be extremely beneficial to your growth.

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