Salman Malik never planned to work in advertising technology: In college, he studied aerospace engineering. “That was my dream,” he says. “To practice rocket science.” Though he’d considered Computer Science, he was fascinated with the concept of space.
Propulsion was Salman’s specialty. In addition to working on a NASA-funded project at the University of Illinois, he also launched a satellite into space. Where’s the satellite now? “It’s either in space, or it’s burned up,” he says, nonchalantly.
But on his way to becoming Signal’s Renaissance man—Salman holds two job titles at Signal, regularly holds court at the ping pong table, and is known for the best hair in the business—mastering one technical field wasn’t enough.
Thanks to bad timing (his first job at an aerospace company fell through due to a loss of funding) and a dormant interest in computers (at age 12, he built his first web app, a turn-based game inspired by the anime show Dragon Ball Z), Salman discovered the field of analytics.
While Salman was consulting at Illinois, a classmate exposed him to analytics, and Salman recognized a new passion. He experimented on his own freelance web design clients, offering them free analytics set-up and teaching them the basics of using data, so that he could gain experience implementing Google Analytics. “It was just an opportunity for me to learn,” he says.
“I wanted to focus on technical things. I needed an environment that could foster learning,” Salman says.
That’s what he found via a former high school classmate turned client turned Signalite, who suggested he interview for a role on Signal’s client solutions team. At Signal, where he had “the best interview I’ve had in my life,” Salman found a place where he could learn from a wide range of colleagues. “Everyone at Signal has something to teach,” he says.
He now splits his hours between solving some of Signal’s clients’ stickiest technical escalations as a Technical Solutions Manager, and lending his analytics expertise to Signal’s Vendor Integrations team, building out the analytics integrations for Signal’s solutions. Among all of Signal’s integrations, analytics integrations are some of the most complex, but that doesn’t faze Salman. “Even now, there’s this fear and mystery around analytics,” he says. “But I’m pretty comfortable with it.”
So does he miss his aerospace career?
“The way I gauge my happiness is who I’m close to and working with,” says Salman.
“I enjoy everybody here. Probably the happiest I’ve been, is here at Signal.”
And, of course, Salman recently finished a quantum mechanics class on the side, “just to stay fresh.”