In Fall 2018, I taught a Salesforce / Oracle internship class at Texas A&M-Commerce. For three years, we worked with the Computer Science and Business Analytics departments on this partnership but this was the first to use Salesforce. After a selective admission process, we accepted 9 students into the internship – 6 from the Business Analytics department and 3 from the Computer Science department.

The Business Analytics group focused on Salesforce development.  We used the Trailhead program and followed a recommended curriculum that put the class on track to get certified.

Their work was designed to work in tandem with a second team, who were focused on an Oracle back-end structure. Their work would use Web Services to take in data from 12 schools from around the Texas A&M system into a common portal. And the Salesforce’s team was to work toward a user interface for that new student presentation system. 

As an experiment, we employed the hackathon concept to bring everyone together as a team. Our work involved three hackathons:

Friday, September 21 – Sunday, September 23
Friday, October 12 – Sunday, October 14
Friday, November 2 – Sunday, November 4

The idea was to dive into a particular aspect of the project work on Friday night and continue the next day until Saturday at 6pm. You can read more about hackathons at

Hackathon #1: Data Design

On September 21st and 22nd, the class traveled to Dallas for the inaugural hackathon. The goal was to hash out the data design behind the system’s clearinghouse. Over the weekend, our group had a chance to work with an Oracle database hosted in the cloud and create both ERDs and data dictionaries.

Hackathon #2: Putting HEDM to Work

HEDA is Salesforce’s Higher Educational Data Architecture and the second hackathon saw the class set up shop at the Sam Rayburn Integrity conference room. Although it was a very wet weekend, we had Sameer Vitvekar come out from Dallas to talk with the class about Salesforce Certification and what is like to work as a Salesforce Administrator.

Hackathon #3: Salesforce Communities

Our third hackathon in early November had the class dive into the Self Service functionality of Salesforce, Communities.  Students were paired with partners as each built out a Communities component on top of their development environments.  And these were presented on the last day of class – Friday, December 7th. 

Below is distribution-ready copy of the final report for the class.

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