The String and Key Crew: Christian Saltarelli

Madelyn Cuello
Jul 20 · 6 min read

As part of our ongoing employee spotlight series, we’ll be profiling colleagues who inspire us. Today, meet Christian Saltarelli.

Company Role: Information Technology Specialist

Most likely to: Become fascinated with any animal or pet

Secret talent: Cat whisperer

Our IT whiz hails from Brookfield, CT, where, as a senior in high school, he first discovered a true passion for software development. He then landed a software engineer internship for two summers at our former AD:60 offices. During this time, he developed an app that was available in the Apple store for over three years, and became exposed to front-end web development, QA, and cloud development. His internship proved to be successful, as he was then hired to work at String and Key full-time, where he’s now been with us for about a year. He also gets to work alongside his brother who happens to be our Chief Technology Officer, John Saltarelli! Currently, he resides in Poughkeepsie, NY, where in addition to working full-time at String and Key, he’s also a grad student at Marist College studying software development with a concentration in cloud computing. Aside from tech, he also enjoys surfing, cooking (he makes a great penne alla vodka), and photography.

Let’s get to know a little more about Christian.

What do you do, and what does your typical workday look like?
As the IT Specialist at String and Key, one of my primary responsibilities is providing tech support for the entire company while also managing all hardware used throughout the teams. My day-to-day tasks vary between setting up and delivering equipment or developing ways to install/configure new software that will be used to protect us better. Recently, I have begun to take on more responsibility as a QA tester where I will be finalizing all copy throughout our various platforms.

My typical workday starts with me going to the gym, eating breakfast, and then reviewing what I had done yesterday to help me plan my goals for the day. I then go to our client team stand-up meeting where I give an update on some of my recent QA work, while also voicing any concerns or blockers in my workflow. In addition to my morning routine, I may also work with a new-hire at the company to make sure they have the IT support they need. String and Key is growing rapidly, and I am always one step ahead to ensure that a new team member is set up for success and that their first week goes smoothly. Once that finishes, I will check our tech support channel to see if there are any issues that need to be fixed. Sometimes I may need to set up or ship some equipment, which I normally try to get done early in my day. Then I will begin my QA work, which includes testing our product.

What’s your favorite part about working at String and Key?
The culture and the people. We’re all extremely passionate about what we do and what we’re working towards! As one of the younger guys in the company, I’ve always had everyone’s support and encouragement during my time here. It’s an incredible feeling being a part of such a big family where everyone is looking out for each other.

What excites you about your job?
I have really enjoyed being able to interact with everyone over the past year. I have gotten the opportunity to help or speak with every single person in the company, either by helping them tackle issues they are experiencing on their laptops or giving them guidance in utilizing their machines.

What do you find most challenging about your role?
One of the most challenging aspects of my role is being able to quickly and effectively help our team members. Since I started, our team has doubled — that means more individuals who I’m responsible for (since I have to make sure they have everything they need to accomplish their duties). From working on machines to processing requests for obtaining additional hardware to verifying that everyone has access to the correct resources, the fast-paced nature of the role has definitely kept me on my toes!

What are the values that drive you?
-
You can never regret anything in your life if you give it your all.

-Everything that happens to you holds value in how you can learn to become better from it.

-Become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

How do you stay on top of your game?
I’m currently a graduate student at Marist College and my studies help me learn about various aspects of our industry. I also spend a lot of time learning about the various new technologies we use within String and Key. I also listen to a lot of podcasts, primarily around tech, where I try to learn about new or up-and-coming developments within the industry.

What drew you to tech and what excites you about the industry?
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been fascinated by technology’s ability to make an individual’s life easier or more enjoyable. What excited me the most about this industry is how fast it is evolving. I love how tech has no boundaries in the ways that it can improve our society.

What’s one thing — either industry-related or not — that you’ve learned in the last month?
I was recently listening to a podcast with David Sinclair, an Australian biologist who is a Professor of Genetics and Co-Director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at Harvard Medical School. Did you know that it’s possible to find out your true age? It’s different from the number of years you’ve been around the sun! It’s known as your biological clock. Dr. Sinclair is working on studying ways that we can reduce our biological clock or, in a sense, “fight aging.” He is currently working on an affordable way for individuals to easily find their true age, which he hopes can be used as a benchmark to inform people if their health and fitness habits are working.

If you could swap places with anyone at String and Key, who would it be and why?
Oh, this is easy. Definitely Roy Robinson, our Senior Dev-Ops Engineer. You get to be a jack-of-all-trades while working to unify and automate various processes throughout the development cycle. I think it would be an extremely interesting role that would allow me to gain exposure to all facets of engineering operations.

What unexpected subject could you give a one-hour presentation on with no advance prep?
Fitness and workout mythologies. I have been working out for over four years, and since then, I have invested a lot of time in understanding the correct way to build muscle. From understanding workout splits and gaining overall strength without creating any imbalances to understanding how you can exhaust your muscles and correct form for various exercises, I feel like I could share a lot.

What keeps you busy outside of work?
Since I’m also a full-time student, I spend a lot of time working on school projects or personal and freelance projects. I also enjoy staying active by either going to the gym, playing sports (mainly basketball), or going on outdoor runs. I also like to spend time with friends and family.

Can you list five hashtags that describe your personality?
#Organized #Goofy #Passionate #Eager #GymRat

Lighting Round:

City or countryside?
City.

Smartphone or tablet?
Smartphone.

Wine or Beer?
Wine.

Camping or glamping?
Camping

Cooking or being cooked for?
Cooking.

Interested in working at String and Key? Join us!

String and Key

A stealth financial technology studio.