Career Stories: Building community and connections
August 3, 2023
As Keerthana explored her passion for iOS engineering, she also found mentorship and new working styles. But the community she’s discovered as she began connecting and nurturing the next generation of female engineers has truly been the most rewarding part of her LinkedIn journey.
Launching a career in iOS engineering
My career started with an unexpected but exciting role as an iOS product solution engineer at an e-commerce company in Bangalore. As I worked closely with iOS, I wanted to learn everything I could about the UI and dedicated my time to coding files and researching how to build apps. As my interest in UI grew, I began searching for a new role aligned with my app development passion. While browsing one day, I found an opportunity at LinkedIn for a software engineer on the events team. I wanted to pursue it since Linkedin had a reputation for being a top company in India with excellent culture.
While interviewing for the role, my manager, Neeta, impressed me so much. She was a dream manager — calm and patient — and explained the culture at LinkedIn to me. I had never seen a strong female leader in engineering before that, and it was inspiring to see her thrive in her role while assuring me that LinkedIn is the company where I could grow and express myself. After I joined LinkedIn, Neeta also helped me find the right mentor to support my career growth. At LinkedIn, my managers go the extra mile to help me boost my career; the culture here is so supportive.
Even though I had experience in iOS when I started my role at LinkedIn, I needed more mentorship to improve my engineering skills. My mentor helped me understand that this role is not just about coding; it's always about seeing beyond and understanding the users and how they interact with the app. At my previous company, I didn’t think much about accessibility. However, my mentor showed me that many of our membershave different perspectives and interact with our app in unique ways, so it’s essential to always think about how to make our platform more accessible.
Making an impact and building communities online
I initially joined the LinkedIn Events team during the pandemic. Previously, we held onsite conferences; however, throughout the pandemic, LinkedIn invested in creating live virtual events to share with our community. These live events were a big hit because LinkedIn members could grow their networks and engage in live commentary in real time. I worked on the team that revamped the Events page to include live streaming and had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of how to live stream, including all the technical aspects. Live Events was the first huge project I worked on that helped me learn to collaborate with our India and New York teams across time zones.
After my work with events, I moved to the LinkedIn Groups team to support an exciting new initiative — public groups. Until recently, LinkedIn only offered private groups, so members could only see conversations happening if they requested to join. With public groups, LinkedIn members can join and contribute to their communities.
LinkedIn members may have many connections, but might be interested in different discussion topics. LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals with similar interests to share insights, seek guidance, and build valuable connections in a closed, trusted space. For example, if I wanted to learn more about what's happening in the U.S. engineering community, I could look for groups with meaningful conversations in that network. We also have public groups, which create an opportunity for members to get the gist of what's happening in a group before they decide to join.
Empowering future engineers
LinkedIn made it so comfortable for me to work during the pandemic by setting up my home office environment and providing everything I needed. Working from home created new opportunities for collaborating and optimizing how my team works together. When working in the office, I would troubleshoot small challenges by asking the person next to me for help. But the pandemic helped us value other people’s time and empowered us to set up meetings even for the little things, enabling us to nip problems in the bud and work together more creatively as a team. With the pandemic settling down, I opted for fully remote work to stay close to my family.
I love to connect with my colleagues, not just about work but also about the little things like shows or sports we watch outside of work. I love to set up times to talk with my team members where it feels like we’re not in different cities but sitting right next to each other. Every Friday, my team sets up one hour to connect with others and play games to get to know each other better. Most of our many team members have joined in the past three to four years and haven’t met face-to-face, so these meetings have helped us get to know our colleagues better. There’s a welcoming culture here of community and connection that brings all of us together.
One program run by the India Women in Tech group is the LinkedIn Coach-In program. This group selects a few aspiring women engineering graduates interested in entering the technology field, and provides mentorship on how they can learn engineering roles in product-based companies. This is a program that I feel inspires change because even though more women are choosing technology as a career, it’s still a low percentage. When I saw this program, I was impressed and excited to volunteer for this cause. I had the chance to mentor two awesome students interested in developing their problem-solving skills. The program spanned over four months, during which we taught them the basics of programming and conducted mock interviews. One of my mentees is starting a summer internship soon, and it’s rewarding to see her launch her career with the aid of this program.
I advise aspiring engineers to never stop learning the topics that interest them. Develop your problem-solving skills and learn about the architecture for beginning developers. To become a good engineer, it’s not just about coding; you need great teamwork to help your team grow. Always be contributing and building upon your ideas with others; there’s no limit to what your team can accomplish together.
Keerthana graduated from Vardhaman College of Engineering, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. In her current role, Keerthana is a Senior Software Engineer for LinkedIn Groups. Before joining LinkedIn, she worked for Flipkart as an iOS Developer. Keerthana enjoys traveling abroad, yoga, and creating art through painting and sketching in her free time.
Editor’s note: Considering an engineering/tech career at LinkedIn? In this Career Stories series, you’ll hear first-hand from our engineers and technologists about real life at LinkedIn — including our meaningful work, collaborative culture, and transformational growth. For more on tech careers at LinkedIn, visit: lnkd.in/EngCareers.