Meet Sujata Salem, Director of Engineering

Continuing our series of sneak peeks into what it’s like to work at Khan Academy, here’s a brand-new interview with Sujata Salem, one of our amazing Engineering Directors!

Hi Sujata! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do at Khan Academy.

I am a Director of Engineering and I have been at Khan Academy for close to 5 years. I lead the teams responsible for building tools for teachers to use Khan Academy in their classrooms to supplement their instruction. 

I also lead the team that works on helping students practice towards preparing for summative assessments like the SAT, LSAT and Praxis exams.

What brought you to Khan Academy?

Education has always been a priority for me. Growing up in a middle-class household in India, my parents were very explicit in providing my brother and I the best education possible. They stressed the need for me, as a female, to have the right tools to be able to support myself independently.

That foundation has opened numerous doors for me. 

Khan Academy’s mission is to provide those same opportunities to anyone, anywhere! So, when I reached a point in my life where it felt right to pivot and think about what I could do to give back, Khan Academy seemed like the perfect place for me.

What’s kept you at Khan Academy ever since?

It’s the people, simply put. The people who came here because of the mission and created such an inclusive, caring and passionate culture. Each and every one of them made the explicit decision to come to Khan Academy, when they could have chosen to make a name for themselves, or achieve financial success elsewhere, chose instead to bring their talents to Khan Academy and make a positive impact on the world. 

They push me to do my best, to stretch and grow and to keep learning.

What’s unique about the engineering culture at Khan Academy?

The engineering team is the largest functional team at Khan Academy. We have doubled in size and matured as a team. One key aspect of that maturity is our focus on a growth mindset. 

We put in the time and effort in order to achieve better outcomes. This is manifested by doing regular retrospectives, both at a team and functional level and identifying action items as a follow up. This means committing to doing challenging and complex projects like our Goliath effort.

This is the same mindset we want to foster in all our learners using Khan Academy!

If someone is considering applying for an engineering role at Khan Academy, what advice would you give them?

Speaking from personal experience, I almost didn’t apply to Khan Academy. I didn’t think I had the qualifications required for the position. When I was called to be interviewed, I kept telling myself that I’d never make it to the next round. 

Trust yourself and trust in your abilities! 

Want to work at Khan Academy?

Join Sujata and over 200 passionate and creative Khan Academy staffers working to make a massive impact around the world.

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