At Salesforce we have tons of amazing engineers who work on everything from Linux kernel patches to accessibility in the Lightning Design System. Some of our engineers have excelled to the point of gaining the illustrious title of “Distinguished Engineer” — but what does that even mean?? Well, the best way to see what it’s like to be a Distinguished Engineer (DE) is to meet one! Donovan Schneider is our most recent engineer to become a DE so we asked him some questions about his work at Salesforce.
What is your history working at Salesforce?
I joined the Analytics team 8.5 years ago, when Analytics was a single product being developed by a single scrum team. The team has grown dramatically and the scope now spans the spectrum of analytics — basic analytics with reports and dashboards, insights with Einstein Analytics applications and the Einstein Analytics Platform, and advanced analytics with AI-powered insights and recommendations via Einstein Discovery.
Salesforce engineering has a hands-on culture. In addition to influencing product and strategy, I have designed and implemented features and frameworks across our analytics spectrum. Trust is our number one customer value. I work closely with our security teams, and also help monitor our thrice a year product releases.
What excites you about your new role as a DE?
I have had the pleasure of working very deeply in analytics. As a DE I look forward to shaping products and technology that span clouds and impact even more customers. For example, helping deliver technologies like IoT and AI to solve customer problems is particularly exciting.
What techniques do you use to decide which problems you should focus on?
Customer need/impact is always an important criteria, as I value solving real-world problems. I have also picked particular problems to work on because I find them technically interesting or hard. And finally, I have made a concerted effort in my career to work in the broad area of analytics. As such, I have chosen problems to increase my depth of knowledge in specialized areas of analytics.
What advice would you give to engineers aiming to become DEs?
My primary advice is to stay focused on the customer. As you build a track record of building and delivering products that customers use and love, your career will progress. Don’t be overly enamored by the latest technology trends — technology is a tool, not an end.
Describe some of your favorite things about working at Salesforce.
I absolutely love the customer focus at Salesforce. I have the pleasure of working with great people to build great products that millions of users depend on every day to run their businesses.
I also love the 1–1–1 corporate philanthropy model. I have participated in many team and individual events where we made a significant impact to our local communities.
Working for a great company, that also has a heart — what’s not to love?