Salesforce Israel employees Timna Carmel and Eyal Skop both started their tech careers with Unit 8200 of the Isareli Intelligence Corps. While military service is compulsory for Israelis at the age of 18, not everyone finds their way to this selective group that is responsible for signal intelligence. There are many tests required to make it into the unit, most of which measure your ability to quickly learn new tools. For example, Timna found herself in a role within the unit where she was learning Persian on the job!
While the details of their work with 8200 are classified, both Timna and Eyal credit this experience with providing the foundation needed for their rewarding careers in high tech.
Timna got hands-on experience with various technologies right away in the Army, including web development and analytics tools. At the age of 20, she became an officer, gaining valuable management and leadership experience that she still uses today.
When her time in the army came to a close, a friend recommended that Timna look into careers in technology. She was hired into a junior Quality Assurance Engineer role at the then-startup Datorama, where she was one of the first 20 employees. It was her experience in 8200 that convinced the team to take a chance on interviewing her. As the company grew, Timna became a QA team lead and started hiring a team and building process to scale support for customers, eventually becoming a Tier 2 support manager. She made the move into Product Management two years ago, bringing with her four years of experience with the Datorama product. She landed at Salesforce by way of Datorama’s acquisition, a best-case scenario for the team that proved what a solid product they had built. She’s found that being of a larger company only offers her more smart people to work with, lots of resources, and greater opportunities for growth.
In fact, inspired by Engineering VP Efi Cohen, Timna has been taking advantage of Salesforce’s education reimbursement to work on earning her degree. That’s right, this Senior Product Manager has built a successful career based on her Army training without needing a formal education! Funny story: on the day that Datorama was acquired and an announcement was made to employees, Timna was out of the office to take an exam at the Open University of Israel. Her VP called her to make sure she didn’t find out the news from any other source. She aced the exam but had a flood of calls and texts on her phone when she came out.
Eyal got into tech via a different path. He joined 8200 as part of the academic reserve program and did a degree in computer science and mathematics before enlisting. He started out going to officer’s training and then spent a year as part of a team of developers. He became a project lead and eventually a course commander with a staff of instructors and students who he taught to develop code within unit standards. He finished his service as a team lead and, during this time, also earned a second degree in computer science.
Eyal said he landed at Salesforce a bit by accident. He wanted to do something a little different from the programming he’d been doing in the Army, and one of the classmates who he got to know during his degree program happened to work at Salesforce. There were any number of startup opportunities he could have pursued, but he wanted to be in a company that offered stability and interesting work. He knew algorithms and machine learning but not specifics, so he studied up and decided it would be an interesting path to take.
A year and a half later, he’s a Data Engineer at Salesforce, which falls somewhere along the spectrum of software engineer and data scientist. He’s moved more toward the Data Scientist end as he gains experience. His work at Salesforce has centered on Campaign Insights for Pardot Einstein and Opportunity Scoring for Sales Cloud Einstein. He focuses on solving fun problems, like how to operate at scale and make sure our AI products give high value to all of our customers.
He appreciates that the Salesforce approach is to constantly question what customers need to do their jobs more easily. The Salesforce method for company-wide prioritization (the V2MOM) helps keep this all in order, and Eyal is a big fan of the way it creates a clear vision of where we want to go and a path for how to get there.
The essence of innovation, he says, is building a pyramid based on what we want to achieve, mapping out how to achieve it, and then putting the relevant people on the task to make the leap in productivity. Working in teams gives individuals the chance to get different perspectives on the problems they’re solving and make the next best strategic choice.
It might not be too surprising to imagine this savvy engineer loving board games and organizing office game nights, but outside of work Eyal also likes to dance Brazilian Zouk, having come to it from learning Salsa first. He notes that no one in the office has seen him dance.