Career stories: From Argentina to Ireland to Spain
December 17, 2021
After joining LinkedIn Argentina, Juan took an Ireland-based opportunity to build a new EMEA (i.e., Europe, Middle East, and Africa) team of 50+ data scientists and software/infrastructure engineers. Now nearly a decade in, this globetrotter is collaborating with his AI team from his new home in Madrid.
A nine-year adventure with LinkedIn
I started my journey with LinkedIn in my home country of Argentina, where I was working as a back-end and analytics engineer. That first role introduced me to the culture and opportunities at LinkedIn and served as a springboard for future opportunities. When LinkedIn offered me the chance to relocate to the U.S., India, or Ireland, I leapt at the chance to help build our Europe-based engineering team. It was more than just the next step up in my career; moving to Dublin was the start of a transformational professional change and an exciting personal journey in a new country.
Initially, I took on a role with LinkedIn’s core search team, focusing on developing the search infrastructure at LinkedIn. When I felt that I was ready for new challenges, I became interested in the emerging focus on AI and machine learning within LinkedIn, becoming a tech lead for our Content Understanding team, which works on understanding what members talk about on our platform. Now, I oversee our EMEA Engineering team, as its tech lead, while also leading efforts to develop and integrate our engineering talent. At every stage, I always felt I had the right people and the right culture at LinkedIn encouraging my growth.
In my time in Dublin and now Madrid, our team has grown from four to 50 people. What originally started as what I thought would be a one year adventure with LinkedIn has now turned into more than seven fulfilling years at the Dublin office. At every stage, LinkedIn has empowered me not only to lead the best engineering team, but to also build an intentional and inclusive office culture. In addition to technical onboarding, for example, we have started global mentorship programs and all-hands initiatives to ensure our growing team has all the support they need.
Using AI to build a community for creators
During my time at LinkedIn, I have received a lot of opportunities to work with different projects and technologies, from natural language processing to designing large-scale machine learning platforms. But the LinkedIn Creators AI Initiative stands out as one of my favorite projects, in which we work to optimize our platform for the creators, getting them the right feedback and finding their audience. That is what the Creator AI Initiative is all about—looking beyond the viewers and considering the author’s needs when ranking and producing content.
In this project, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of what our creators care about and to make their time spent creating on LinkedIn worthwhile. Creators turn to LinkedIn to build a brand, gain publicity, and establish a sense of community. Ultimately, we are shaping LinkedIn to engage creators, understand what their goals are, and share their content with the right members.
Fostering diversity, trust, and responsibility
LinkedIn strives to create a diverse and welcoming workplace, which helps us create a more inclusive product that better serves our members. Our roles are just as diverse as our employees; not only engineers but data scientists, managers, and linguists make up a core part of my office, balanced across nationalities and genders. This diversity is critical to our understanding of different LinkedIn members in various countries and their needs and cultures. Changes we make on the platform to meet German preferences, for example, may not translate to other markets. This mindset helps us create more inclusive AI solutions that are culturally relevant and increase our trustworthiness in the eyes of our members.
Even beyond hiring and workplace culture, everything we create at LinkedIn circles back to trust and responsibility. We want to ensure that our members feel safe, so we work to analyze everything from which posts are promoted to the communities that we are fostering online.
Ideas, initiative, and innovation
One of the best parts of working as a LinkedIn engineer is the responsibility entrusted to us to innovate new solutions. I have always felt empowered and supported in bringing my ideas to the table. It is so fulfilling to see those tiny sparks of creativity transform into full-circle projects that directly impact how we deploy technologies on our platform.
My advice for engineers considering LinkedIn is to be proactive and just go for it. Voice your ideas to your team early on, build hacks, share early designs. LinkedIn is a workplace that truly values innovation, taking initiative, and staying motivated to achieve your goals. All of the transformations in my career at LinkedIn stemmed from this proactive mindset. If you stay driven in your work, LinkedIn would love to take you as far as you want to go.
Based in Madrid, Juan is a LinkedIn senior staff engineer, focused on tech leading our EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) data/AI engineering team. He’s also held full-stack and data/AI engineering roles in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Dublin, Ireland. Prior to joining LinkedIn in 2012, Juan served as a software engineer at Accenture, and an IT-pharmaceutical consultancy. In his free time, Juan enjoys playing tennis and football (or soccer, as it’s dubbed in some places abroad), as well as the guitar and piano.
Editor’s note: Considering an engineering career at LinkedIn? In this Career Stories series, you’ll hear first-hand from our engineers about real life at LinkedIn—including our meaningful work, collaborative culture, and transformational growth. For more on engineering careers at LinkedIn, visit: lnkd.in/EngCareers.