Getting to Know Neha Jain

August 8, 2016

LinkedIn wouldn't be the company it is today without the engineers who built it. We have no shortage of talented individuals in technical roles across the company. They are the ones who create, build, and maintain our platform, tools, and features—as well as write posts for this blog. In this series, we feature some of the people and personalities that make LinkedIn great.

Neha is a Senior Software Engineer at LinkedIn, where she has successfully led and delivered multiple key projects. She contributed critical technical solutions for the data center migration of the SlideShare stack to LinkedIn’s data center and led team members to complete their assigned tasks while managing communication and coordination of the project.

  • Neha Jain

She loves to work on technology that empowers users and uplifts society. She is a hackday veteran who’s passionate about software development and building products tailored towards amazing user experience. She also mentors at Holbertron School and has started a blog, PiMothers, to share inspirational stories and experiences of mothers in tech and STEM fields.

What are some of the coolest projects you have been working on?

Although I have been with LinkedIn for more than four years now, I have not worked on a similar challenge for more than a year. In 2012, I came to LinkedIn as part of the SlideShare acquisition, where I owned the premium offerings of the SlideShare platform. In 2014, just when life was getting monotonous, I moved to San Francisco from New Delhi and joined the core SlideShare team that is responsible for conversion tools that power slideshow, document, and video uploads. Later that year, we started working on migrating SlideShare’s stack from the cloud to LinkedIn’s data center, and I was part of this yearlong project. Soon after the data center migration, I worked on leveraging pieces of the LinkedIn stack, like LIX (LinkedIn’s experimentation platform) and Fizzy (LinkedIn’s server side rendering plugin for Apache traffic server) on SlideShare.

Earlier this year, I switched gears and dived right into the LinkedIn stack by taking ownership of the API for our publishing platform. Stay tuned for some very exciting things are coming out of the publishing platform.

What do you love most about engineering?

Engineering is a tool to simplify the complexities of life. As an engineer, you are empowered to come up with solutions that make the intangible, tangible. I believe the solution to some of world’s biggest problems—like economic disparity, climate change, etc.—is within our reach as engineers.

What is your favorite thing about working at LinkedIn?

Culture. I have worked with a lot of different teams at LinkedIn and I find that there is an underlying culture that is common across teams. Everyone at LinkedIn believes that a team is larger than the sum of its parts. In other words, there is a culture of ‘we’ instead of ‘I.’ Culture of accepting responsibility. Culture of ownership. Culture of learning from failures. Culture of thinking bigger than yourself. Culture of thinking about members first. Culture of giving back to the community. Culture of becoming the best version of yourself. At LinkedIn, you are competing with your past self instead of competing with others, and building on your strengths while becoming aware of your weaknesses. Awareness is the first step to becoming better at anything.

What is something about you not found on your LinkedIn profile?

I am strong believer that there is a guiding force that runs through all of us—and that force may be unique to all of us. My driving force exists in the form of my mother and my Saibaba (my God). Who I am today is the result of the countless sacrifices she has made. I am an only child. My father passed away when I was barely a year old and my mother raised me single-handedly—in the literal sense of the word: she has a disability in her left hand. Although it might sound like I had a disadvantaged childhood, I want to clarify that I had the best childhood, as it was full of love, laughter, and care. I am blessed to have such a strong mother who loves and protects me from anything evil in the world. Last year, I had the best day at work when she visited LinkedIn on "Bring In Your Parents Day."

You run a blog, PiMothers, about mothers in tech. What are some interesting things you’ve learned from that experience?

In general, the bar for mothers is quite high, and for me personally, my own bar is set by how amazing my mother is. My mother didn’t take up an office job; instead, she took up teaching so that she could have the same working hours as my school hours. I like the idea of teaching and I have the utmost respect for that profession, but I like the work that I do and I wouldn't want to change professions because of the stereotype that that's what it takes to be a "good" mother.  I am very passionate about my work and I can't see myself choosing between work and family. In my opinion, every woman deserve to have both, if she wants to.

I see a lot of parents at LinkedIn. I work with a lot of mothers too, and I am fortunate that I work at a company that doesn’t force you to choose between family and work. I was curious about how these mothers do it all, so I reached out to them and found that they have great perspectives about motherhood and the professional world. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “Being a mom has made me so much better with time management and multitasking.” - Simla Ceyhan, LinkedIn

  • “Sometimes after a tiring day at work, seeing your children smile takes away all the tension.” - Valerie, LinkedIn

  • “Make sure you have a plan before going on leave, so the team is set up for success.” - Jenie Gao, LinkedIn

  • “Just give yourself a break! Things might go up and down but both of you need adjustment time for the new life.” - Swasti Sharma, LinkedIn Alum

  • “Don’t be too hard on yourself. It is difficult at the start, but you will adjust to the new normal and rise to the occasion.” - Crystal, LinkedIn

What are your favorite things to do when you’re not at the office?

Experimenting in the kitchen, reading, writing, gardening, talking with my friends and family, mentoring young minds, traveling, and taking a walk in nature.