Get to know the people behind Sonar with our employee spotlight series. Next up is David Nayyar, Engineering Manager.
As we continue evolving our product to integrate with other essential technologies, we’ve invited David Nayyar to join our team and lead the engineering efforts behind this big project.
Read on to learn more about all the hats this multi-talented engineer/musician/comedian wears.
David, tell us a little more about your background.
Well I’m from Augusta originally. I’ve been a software developer for about 18 years. As ridiculous as it sounds, the first thing that got me interested in computers was seeing the movie Sneakers as a kid. Robert Redford leads a team of cyber security experts against the mafia, foreign governments, and James Earl Jones. My best friend at the time wanted to be an archeologist because of Indiana Jones, and he’s now a professor of anthropology, so it was obviously a good summer for movies and career decisions. When I learned what programming is like outside of movies, I liked it even more. It’s a fantastic combination of theory and practical applications. You can learn a concept, immediately apply it, and see a tangible result.
When I started writing software professionally, I knew right away that this is the right career for me. Everyday, I get to think creatively about problems, learn new technology, collaborate with great people, and know that I’m creating something that will improve someone else’s life. The work is always challenging, never boring, and will be the next-to-last profession entirely replaced by robots (the last profession replaced by robots will obviously be “robot designer”).
I first came to Sonar back in February of 2021, as a fullstack developer. After working here for about 8 months I was given the opportunity to lead a team, which has been an exciting new skillset to take on as we continue to expand our integrations into new technologies like Pardot.
What are some of the things you focus on in your day-to-day role?
The engineering department is broken into teams. My team is called ‘Makara,’ as all the teams are named after mythological animals.
I focus on development, right now specifically the development of our Pardot integration. As we look to service more customers who are using Pardot, we’re developing this integration so our customers can see how Pardot fields impact automation in Salesforce when making a change in Pardot. On the horizon, we’re looking at expanding our integrations to also include Salesloft and Outreach.
Now that I am managing other software engineers, there’s an entirely new set of exciting challenges. My focus now is giving my team members the opportunity to learn, grow, and shape their careers as we build software we can all be proud of.
When you’re not jamming out with your fellow engineers, how do you spend your time outside of work?
I’m a musician and a comedian and often combine both of those skills at an improv theater here in Atlanta called Dad’s Garage. Now that things are starting to open back up, I’m excited to be back with my improv team and we’re actually currently working on a musical. On the musical side, I play several instruments: keyboard, bass guitar, and drums – in order of how good I am at each.
Along with music and comedy, I’ve been doing martial arts since I was 18. So it’s been a lifelong hobby for me. I’m also a typical ‘nerd,’ so I enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons.
So David, what is something else people might not know about you?
One of my first jobs was writing scoring software for a horse-cutting competition. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a type of rodeo where you have a herd of cattle and a cowboy on a horse. The cowboy picks a cow from the herd and the horse separates that cow, and the judges score based on how dramatically that is done. I had no knowledge of that world, and then was suddenly writing software for it and getting to sit through the live event. It’s a crazy thing to watch.
What is the most rewarding part of your job here at Sonar?
I think the most rewarding part for me is getting the chance to build something from the ground up. One thing that’s most exciting about working at Sonar is that it’s new to the market and it has big potential. Just looking at my development team Makara, when I was hired we had zero integration with Pardot. It was a backlog development idea that quickly became a reality.So just seeing that grow into something has been a great experience.
The market is aggressive right now. Although I was offered other manager roles elsewhere, I knew that this is the place where I really wanted to dig my roots in and grow as a leader. Jack and Brad are very supportive and trusting, and are open to new creative ideas which is great.
What phrase would you use to describe Sonar?.
I would have to say “Usefulness, powered by trust.”
You’re a comedian, so what’s made you laugh the hardest here?
There is something that’s a running gag on the engineering team, before any of us were hired there was a proof of concept written for Sonar to integrate with Salesforce. It was just something to show it could be done. And they wrote something incredibly fast, and we all inherited that code to make it something that will stand the test of time. But there was a line of code which said “Success derives from failure” and that just became our philosophy.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to work here?
Honestly, do it. It’s been a great place to work. Just about everyone I’ve talked to would agree with that I think.
David, what’s your biggest passion in life?
I think just in general leaving the world better than I found it.
Want to join our team? Check out our open positions and become a part of Sonar today!