Story 1: I was a preschool teacher and took up a job later as a support representative at a company which used Salesforce. They let me fiddle around and during my tenure there, I learn how to code and develop. Eventually I contributed part-time and then full-time to the work that they did. Salesforce requires experience only, not an IT background. Though, getting certified might knock off the number of years that the companies are looking for, in terms of experience.
Story 2: Self –study helped me a lot. I got a bunch of books and started attending online trainings. During one of the training sessions, certifications were introduced to us. I gradually went on to attain both the DEV and ADM certification; which meant that me being a nurse did not hurt.
Story 3: I was a service provider at an IT company, when we suddenly got a requirement for a Salesforce expert. Salesforce Experts are few and far in between; and to top it off, they are expensive. The organization was not ready to shell out that amount of money. As an experiment, I got trained in Salesforce and joined as a Salesforce Service Provider with the client. Though I gathered most of my knowledge on the job, I am glad I took that step. I am now a certified Salesforce Expert.