Why Qualtrics – Saloni Shah – Software Engineer – Seattle
Describe Qualtrics to a candidate in 3 words!
Innovative, approachable, opportunities
What is your ‘why’?
I want to impact individuals by solving their problems in a creative way. I also want to make the world a happier place. These might sound generic, but they’re true. Technology provides unlimited tools to solve the world’s problems, and as a software engineer, it’s so cool that I get to implement those solutions and send them out to be used. If solving problems isn’t enough to make the world happier, my humor comes out sometimes in the form of memes, videos, and nail art, so there’s that, too.
How does Qualtrics connect with your ‘why’?
Qualtrics is the forefront of this emerging field of Experience Management. I like how, using the newest tools in technology, Qualtrics helps researchers and companies act on their data. I feel like nowadays people are faced with so many choices between practically equivalent products and services. Being able to quantify a good experience and incorporate that as a factor in the analysis is what seals the deal. I’ve realized that I subconsciously care a lot about creating good experiences whether it be through thinking through a design of something I will implement and documenting code, tools, and processes, or even in other ways like throwing unique events for my college extracurricular organizations and memorable birthday parties for my sisters. Being part of this movement as it’s picking up, (especially with the acquisition by SAP!) is awesome and connects me directly to my “why” because I’m solving problems (sometimes identifying problems that aren’t even known to be problems yet) and making the world happier through the result: stellar experiences.
What was the turning point where you ‘had to have the job’?
Not surprising that an Experience Management company provided me with a great experience during my interview and offer stages. I was truly blown away by the effort my recruiter, Rebecca Wiseman, and the Qualtrics team put in to give me the information I needed to make the decision right for me. They didn’t pressure me to take the Qualtrics offer, rather understood my hesitation for moving to a new state and provided all the answers and introductions to future colleagues I could need to make that decision myself. And I certainly wasn’t the only interviewee they were working with, so the fact that they invested time in me made me realize that Qualtrics practices what they preach; I wanted to be part of this team that develops products to make experiences like mine great on a large scale.
What is your favorite part of your role?
I’ve been learning so many new technologies, I feel my brain getting bigger. Especially being on the Statwing team, the data analysis team that was created out of an acquisition, I get to work on all parts of the stack since in a sense, it’s like a company within a company. So being able to try my hand at different types of programming across the stack has been pretty rewarding. And the satisfaction of getting something working and knowing that people will use it is pretty fulfilling. Also, I like that I can also pursue my other passions at Qualtrics — I’m co-leading the Women’s Leadership and Development Partnerships committee which I am excited about because a huge part of my extracurriculars in college was leading women in tech programs. I’m happy to work at a place where I can develop different skills that all ultimately further my passion for technology.
You are not originally from Seattle. Can you tell us your story of moving here, etc?
Moving was a big deal for me. I was born and raised in the Bay Area in California, home of Silicon Valley. I went to college at UC Berkeley which was also in the Bay Area and having studied computer science, naturally, I imagined myself working in the Bay Area, too. When I visited Seattle for a spring break trip my junior year, I remember really liking the vibes and environment and thought to myself, “it would be pretty cool to live here, but lol let’s be real that’ll never happen”. Fast forward 2 years, here I am! I’m loving my experience so far. I’ve made a bunch of friends at work and became closer with college friends. I would describe Seattle as a San Francisco lite because it’s got that tech vibe and city feel but not as intense and congested (…yet?). I also just experienced my first snow! It was pretty fun (as long as it stays occasional :P) No regrets here!
What surprised you most about working at Qualtrics?
Okay, so there’s a few. What struck me during my first couple of weeks here was the customer obsession. Customer obsession is a Qualtrics cultural value, but every company says that, right? But then I saw that we responded to customer issues and tickets right away. There’s a culture of doing things well and not trying to haphazardly hack together a fix just to slap a bandage on the problem, rather to actually dive deep into every problem that occurred and solve the problem at the root. Lastly, my teammates are all so smart but still make time to answer questions and help the newcomers instead of being super heads down and unapproachable. In general people throughout the company are accessible and willing to share some time, even those at much higher levels. During my interview process, I got to talk to John Thimsen and Dave Gilbert, among others. And Ryan Smith retweets my nail art sometimes 🙂 — I’m quite certain this is not the norm at other companies. All of these things really stuck out to me when I started working at Qualtrics and are part of what makes the culture unique!
What is your top #LifeHack?
Life hack on starting every day on a high note: Every night write down at least 3 things you did well that day. Some days it’s super hard to think of 3 things I did well, but I force myself to celebrate even the littlest things like eating dinner (could have skipped it but I didn’t did I). Other days, I’ve accomplished so much I can’t stop writing. The main takeaway from doing this is that I subconsciously take on more challenges each day to be able to write about it that night. Especially as someone who tends to be self-critical and ruminates more on the things I should have/could have/would have done, it helps me stay positive and happy with myself!
|Saloni is a Software Engineer at Qualtrics in Seattle. She has held similar previous positions at Google and Mobileum. She holds a Bachelors of Computer Science from UC Berkeley.|