Career stories: Discovering Dublin

February 27, 2023

After working as a data scientist and AI engineer in Seoul, globetrotters Vasundhara and her husband decided to relocate to Dublin for a once-in-a-lifetime AI and machine learning (ML) opportunity at LinkedIn. Fueled by a passion for the user experience, she shares more about her ML algorithmic work behind our new LinkedIn newsfeed, her community leadership role with our Women in Tech group, and building connections in Ireland mid-pandemic:

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Before joining LinkedIn, I worked at an environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) fintech startup based in Seoul, South Korea on natural language processing (NLP) technologies. 

Moving across the world with LinkedIn’s support

While I enjoyed my roles in data science and AI there, when LinkedIn reached out to me about a role on their Content and Creator Artificial Intelligence (AI) team in Dublin, I jumped at the opportunity. Of course, the position would help me advance professionally, but I also knew of LinkedIn’s reputation for providing a meaningful experience for members (users). 

It was unique and challenging to move across the world during the pandemic, but LinkedIn’s recruitment team supported me from negotiations to relocation. My manager even helped me with administrative steps like securing visas and work permits. Even during a global crisis, LinkedIn ensured it was a seamless transition. 

The chance to live in Dublin appealed to me, but truthfully, I would have moved anywhere to work for LinkedIn. Among the many benefits, two elements really drew me toward my AI team. First is the inclusive environment. LinkedIn makes a point to support its female engineers, providing us with career growth opportunities and a voice throughout the company. Secondly, I liked that my role would not be focused on monetizing the platform. Instead, it’s about the quality of content.

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Building connections in Dublin

Having joined mid-pandemic, LinkedIn made sure I could connect with my team even if we couldn’t meet in person. Virtual coffee chats and other initiatives enabled me to immerse myself in the team and company culture. For example, senior engineers made themselves available to help hone my soft skills, and critical-thinking abilities, and chart a career course at LinkedIn.

I’ve learned so much here beyond how to be a successful engineer. The leadership always emphasizes the importance of a learning mindset, being open to communication, and having transparent discussions about our goals and aspirations. When I bring an idea to my team, their input transforms a single idea into something bigger. In my experience, there are truly no siloes here. 

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Owning success

LinkedIn also understands that there are cultural differences that come into play when relocating countries. Promoting myself and my work was not something that was encouraged in my last role in South Korea. But once I became comfortable really owning my successes, so many opportunities opened up. For instance, I became a community lead for Dublin’s Women in Tech (WiT) group, where we discuss these kinds of issues openly. On such a diverse team, everyone understands that something that’s natural for one person may be difficult for another. 

Being a part of a group where I feel supported, and having the opportunity to support others, has allowed me to grow and meet friends. One of the first colleagues that I met in person when I moved to Dublin was a WiT colleague, and we’ve been great friends since. 

I’ve enjoyed my time in Dublin, visiting Sunday markets in local parks, Irish pubs, and celebrating St. Patrick's Day. The LinkedIn team in Dublin has also been a part of one of my favorite memories: our year-end Christmas party with tons of food, music, and arcade games. I’m thankful to be able to connect with my colleagues during and outside of work; having great coworkers has made the move to Dublin exciting. 

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Transforming the newsfeed experience 

In my role, I design ML algorithms and train models to rank the quality of content for our members (i.e., LinkedIn users), and how they interact in the LinkedIn mobile app — leveraging Scala, Java, Python, among other languages. My team invests a lot of time into measuring quality and implementing standards to differentiate between what is helpful and what content shouldn’t be pushed out.  

As part of this work, we enhanced the recommended content that appears on the LinkedIn newsfeeds. Previously, LinkedIn’s newsfeed was entirely driven by people that members know or follow. If a LinkedIn connection liked something, our members would start seeing it because they’re connected to that person. This transforms the user experience by recommending more relevant content to our members. Our enhanced recommended content features now appear under labels such as Trending, Recommended for you, What people are talking about now, or Popular in your LinkedIn homepage feed.

This work helps narrow content from millions of results to a smaller pool that we believe will add more value. For example, if a member is interested in machine learning, our algorithm filters through data for the newsfeed to show content that would appeal to machine learning enthusiasts. 

It’s cutting-edge technology, which is thrilling to work with, but there’s also a direct correlation to member value. It’s really meaningful for me to be able to work on projects that enhance the experience of the LinkedIn platform and ultimately help people learn and grow in their careers.

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Advice for recruits

From moving countries to taking on new challenges, I’ve learned that in order to grow, you sometimes have to take a big leap. During the leaps I’ve taken, I’ve leaned on my professional network, and would advise anyone trying to break into the industry or find a role at LinkedIn to do the same. Your network is a great asset and you never know what connections they may have that they could connect you with! 

Another piece of advice is to continue developing your strong and soft skills. Staying up-to-date on the latest technologies will enable you to become an expert in your field, and showcase your understanding of the space. 

With that said, your soft skills, like communication and time management, will propel you forward in your career. It’s important to have both and to continue to develop them — the best engineers are the ones that are curious and growth-minded.   

About Vasundhara

Based in Dublin, Vasundhara is an AI engineer on LinkedIn Engineering’s Content and Creator AI team. Before joining LinkedIn, Vasundhara worked as a data analyst at Who’s Good. She holds a bachelor’s in electronics engineering from Delhi Technology University, and a master’s in computer science from Stony Brook University. Outside of work, Vasundhara enjoys food tourism and exploring new cultures during her travels.

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: