Engineer, mentor and mother... Amulya Bandikatla is a Staff Software Engineer at Indeed Hyderabad. She shares her experience in tech and working at Indeed.
Amulya Bandikatla is a Staff Software Engineer at Indeed Hyderabad. She has a passion for mentoring and shares her experience in tech and working at Indeed.
If you are a Software Engineer, a woman in tech or looking to get insights on the tech industry, this episode of our Culture Matters podcast may be an interesting listen for you.
As part of the Indeed Apply team, Amulya helps people get jobs by ensuring job seekers can apply to the jobs they want with ease.
“I design the backend systems for Indeed Apply to improve the performance of the system and to work on one that is highly scalable so our job seekers can have their applications delivered to the employer in the way they want and to the right job,” Amulya shares in a podcast conversation with Inside Indeed.
In the interview, she shares what inspired her to become an engineer and the support she has gained to achieve the work life balance she has today.
“I’ve been in a room with 20, 25 people where I was the only woman in the room but I think this is evolving. In my opinion, family support is very important,” Amulya says.
Amulya shares in her experience, unless there is proper support at home, it’s difficult for a female member of the family to step out to work.
“Indeed has been very flexible in understanding the kind of requirements a working mother and working woman has. The management is helpful enough to check in with me if I’m comfortable or if there’s anything they can improve on their end to make things better at work.”
In the interview, Amulya also delves into some of the systems and structures in place at Indeed to support Indeedians in harmonizing their professional and personal life.
Amulya speaking at Pycon India 2019 about Indeed’s Endeavor to “Push on Green”. Click to watch the full video.
With an interest in mentoring, she explains in the podcast how Indeed designed a mentoring program to coach an intern into a moving from a Software Engineer role to a Developer role.
In addition to that, being an Indeedian gave her the opportunity to educate and share her knowledge with tech communities such as speaking at tech events.
In a brief video below, Amulya shares why she joined the company and what it’s like working at Indeed.
For more information and jobs at Indeed Hyderabad, click here.
Indeed is also calling out women in India who code to join our SheCodes competition. Put your problem-solving and coding skills to the test and win exciting prizes.
I seem to be one of the lucky few who had the unique opportunity to join Indeed the week after our work from home mandate went into effect. It’s had its ups and downs...
A whirlwind tour of working from home from my first day on the job.
Jack Mudge, Site Reliability Engineer at Indeed Seattle
I seem to be one of the lucky few who had the unique opportunity to join Indeed the week after our work from home mandate went into effect. It’s had its ups and downs, but overall the experience has been an enlightening and optimistic one, and I’ve had a chance to see some of the strengths of Indeed’s team that enabled me to get started, and to find some rough edges that never needed to be filed down.
T-Minus 3 To 5 Days
Despite the sudden shift in gears, the pre-flight checklist was remarkably complete. Human Resources provided enough information to complete my paperwork; a quick trip to the UPS store for notary and that was all set. IT managed to have my laptop delivered on Friday morning, despite having only been in touch since Wednesday that week.
I needed to buy a few adapters, since the back-and-forth to have them shipped would have pushed past my first day of work, but otherwise, this experience was astonishingly smooth and well prepared, and communication about the process was excellent.
Day One: Monday
Orientation started in the afternoon, to give time for FedEx to finish delivering laptops. This had the effect of shortening the day to about a half-day, which is a nice reprieve from the usual frenetic pace of any new job. While there were some bumps along the road (mostly technical difficulties that required a little extra time and hand-holding to resolve than they would have in the office), for the most part, this very much mirrored my impression from earlier communications.
Despite the clearly unusual circumstances, everyone pulled together and came up with a very workable model for remotely onboarding a significant number of people smoothly.
About the only miss here is that, unlike in an office environment, I wasn’t in the room to hear chatter or meet and greet. This reflects one of the normal complaints about working from home: The entire social environment is displaced. The effect that has with regards to onboarding is that I could take notes, but I had fairly few resources right out of the gate – just a few points of contact and written next steps.
One of the downsides to starting a job remotely isn’t something that has ever occurred to me before: It’s been surprisingly tricky to keep coworkers straight. I can’t watch what people are doing, sit over someone’s shoulder for a minute and gather rather ephemeral information about work styles. I can’t notice that everyone’s going to a meeting right now where I may have missed the memo. I actually have no idea who I would say sits to my left or right. So I drew a map of an imaginary office and started writing names. It doesn’t resemble the Seattle office in the slightest, but just having the ability to think of something in terms of “Oh! Jane Doe sits at the end of the hall. Let me wander over there,” has provided some semblance of organization to that particular brand of chaos, even if it’s ultimately a pretty straightforward mirror of the org chart at the end of the day.
There’s a sense in which learning the engineering systems and tools used at Indeed mirrors this thought.
Under more conventional approaches, I would start with watching what the team is already doing and build my knowledge of other systems out from there. That approach has been nearly completely inverted by necessity.
It’s tough to ask even basic questions without first knowing enough about the context to know what I don’t know, which from an onboarding perspective, has meant a much heavier focus on general engineering practices and systems knowledge initially. However, I have great news on that front: The internal resources here are amazingly complete and cohesive, and both of the teams I’m working with have good lists of onboarding material to work through.
Getting to know you
As I mentioned earlier, it’s tough to get to know the team without being around the office to mingle both on the small scale and the organization as a whole. However, as it happens, with everyone else facing the same challenge at about the same time, quite a few opportunities showed up to help alleviate this.
The Site Reliability team hosts a social happy hour at the end of each Friday, so I can get to know them more closely, for the small scale.
On a grander scale, I found the #wfh-cooking-club and #wfh-workouts channels awesome, and #zoom-lunches in particular have been a good way to get to know a few people outside of my immediate teammates.
At the end of the week, it’s a testament to everyone’s efforts that my biggest bummer is that I didn’t get to actually physically ring the gong, a rite of passage I hope I can cash in a rain check for when we all return to the office!
I seem to be one of the few truly native Seattlites left: born, raised, and never lived anywhere else. When I’m not embracing Seattle’s growing tech culture, I spend time hiking, playing classical mandolin, and keeping tarantulas happy.
I joined the Site Reliability Team in Seattle at the beginning of March, as a Site Reliability Engineer II. Prior to starting at Indeed, I worked at a clothing retailer on the Supply Chain team administering and developing the Warehouse Management and ERP systems.
In early March 2020, Indeed moved its entire global workforce to working from home. Learn how our Engineering teams adapted to a virtual workspace.
Max Tan is an Engineering Manager at Indeed Singapore. He shares how Engineers and other tech roles are staying connected and productive while working from home.
In early March 2020, Indeed moved its entire global workforce to work from home. We were allowed to bring home the items we needed from the office, such as our monitors and chairs, to minimize contact with each other as a precaution to keep everyone safe.
Though the way we work has changed, we continue with our regular team meetings over video conferencing and are rethinking how we collaborate. For example, instead of using a whiteboard for retrospectives, we went with a virtual version of a whiteboard.
Each team operated differently but most agreed upon some ground rules:
Being available for consultation/collaboration/pairing during specific hours
Doing daily stand ups over video conferencing
Continuing with weekly 1:1s between managers and their teammates
As we work remotely, we’ve had to reimagine some of the events that we’ve had. Here’s some of what we’ve done so far:
Hacking at home
At Indeed, Hackathons are hosted twice a year in our Engineering offices. This is a collaborative team bonding event that allows Indeed employees to explore, research, and build their own ideas. Hackathons aim to promote camaraderie and innovation, and give us all a chance to tackle new challenges in helping people get jobs.
Typically, our event organizers would spruce up the office and organize distractions during the hackathon days to create a celebratory atmosphere. Participants of these hackathons are also very well fed with plenty of ice cream, pizza, and coffee. With Indeed now globally working from home, we decided to organize a virtual hackathon for the Singapore office, but we had to rethink how we would engage participants of the event.
To keep folks excited and in the mood, our event organizers regularly posted colourful updates on Slack and engaged frequently with participants. Initial concerns of not being able to have face to face discussions proved unfounded – we had all gotten used to remote collaboration by then. Additionally our site lead personally ensured that every participant got a pizza delivered to our homes. It was really a great experience to have such a personal touch during the session.
Demos demos demos
Every Friday, we get together for what we call ‘Demos Demos Demos’. It is a platform and avenue for our teams to share what they are working on, their challenges, and to learn from one another. Though it is usually done at the office, we resumed the sessions over video conferencing.
Previously, we walked around the office to “round people up” for the session.
One of the huge pluses of working remotely is that it’s much more convenient and less intrusive to get people to join – they no longer have to leave their desks!
What is work without getting to know who we work with? Usually, every mid-week in the evening, we get together at our pantry to catch up, chat and destress. Working remotely did not stop us from being connected. We have continued our weekly social hours for folks to meet up and chat over drinks, virtually.
We’ve also been jumping on our teleconference platform to connect over lunch virtually, as well as having virtual yoga and HIIT classes twice a week to stay active.
University Recruitment events
Instead of holding the talk in a college seminar room, we held two virtual college outreach talks about ‘How to succeed at technical interviews’. I had the opportunity to host the session twice and it was a success.
As we navigate through this period of uncertainty, there are definitely challenges, but it pushes us to redefine some of the ways we work and be grateful for what we already have.
The lived mission of helping people get jobs, the approach to product experimentation, and career advancement are all great aspects to working for Indeed no matter if you join in Japan or the US.
Sebastian Tschan was a CTO in a small Swiss/German startup when an unexpected email written in code from Indeed sparked the fires for a new life across the world. Find out more about the journey that brought him to Indeed, and what life is like for him and his family now in Tokyo.
Like other engineers, I sometimes receive emails from recruiters, but when I received Shingo Tomishima’s email on October 4, 2018, it was a bit different.
It looked a bit like this:
An email written as code intrigued me and although Indeed wasn’t really on my radar as a future employer, I knew them as a product myself, as some job seekers had found my company on Indeed.
At that time, I was working as a Chief Technology Officer for a small startup in Germany. A large part of my role was hiring. I had grown the engineering team from three to 20 members in four years.
Indeed is all about matching job seekers with employers and because that was such a large part of my job, it made me curious. It was also really good timing, since my wife and I had already considered a move to Japan. Although Indeed’s headquarters are in Austin, Texas, they have offices all over the world and a large group of engineers are located in Tokyo, Japan.
On 1 May 2019, my wife, our 3-year-old son and I arrived in Tokyo with just our suitcases. A dozen boxes with the rest of our stuff arrived soon after. We were provided with temporary accommodation in central Tokyo and had a month to find our own apartment. Indeed’s global mobility team was super friendly and helpful, making the move from Germany to Japan so much easier.
Just a week after we arrived, I went to Indeed’s Tamachi office, which had just opened a month prior, to start my new job.
At Indeed, new engineering recruits do something called an Individual Contributor Rotation. So although I was hired as an Engineering Manager, from May to June I would work as a Software Engineer, committing code to Indeed’s various repositories.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to do this, as it provided me a good understanding of the tasks and issues engineers face in their daily work and helped me to become familiar with Indeed’s technology, processes and tools through hands-on experience.
Unfortunately, despite a very welcoming environment, I was not happy at the beginning.
A Rocky Start
Part of this had nothing to do with Indeed and was just the process of getting used to Tokyo. Although I used to live in other bigger cities, like Osaka, Aguascalientes (Mexico) and London, I’m originally from a rather small town close to Freiburg, Germany and prefer nature over city life.
But I was also a bit frustrated about the technology stack at Indeed, as I was not used to multi-minute build times, deployment pipelines that were configured via multiple config files, JIRA labels and a lot of internal knowledge, nor the ubiquity of Java and the Spring Framework.
When I was in University, I was very fond of Java, and even helped other students learn the language as a tutor for two semesters. I had also used it to implement the backend for a final study project that integrated motion capture data with a virtual 3D environment.
But in over a decade of my professional life, I had never touched it again – until I joined Indeed.
So I had to brush up my rusty Java skills and accept that, for once, I was not the domain expert anymore. In fact, I felt very much like a beginner again and all the acronyms and code names for internally developed technology at Indeed didn’t make things easier.
But slowly, over time, I became familiar with how things work here and also came to appreciate all the good things at this company.
My favorite thing by far is Indeed’s mission statement: “We help people get jobs”.
I’m glad to be able to work on something that has a positive impact on people’s lives and from everything I’ve learned in the past months, so do the people around me.
A Company that is Mission Driven
I think the reason this particular mission works is that helping job seekers find the right jobs directly benefits employers, creating more value for the money they spend on our platform, which creates revenue for us.
To achieve the stated mission, Indeed invests into user research and runs a myriad of experiments to find out which improvements and new features actually do help. This data-driven approach is embraced across the company and supported well with tooling, some of which has even been made open source (https://github.com/indeedeng).
Although I still have gripes with the state of Software Development at Indeed, I think deploying and analyzing A/B-Tests works very well.
Evidence-based practices also extend beyond product development. A lot of effort goes into making bonus payouts and promotions as fair and bias-free as possible, and individuals note down their contributions across products and organizations and link it with evidence.
This gets reviewed by a panel of managers against a set of expectations for their level, with a more behavior-focused view for promotions.
While I don’t think the system is perfect (opportunity and visibility are still important factors), it is much less dependent on individual managers making the right decisions.
The lived mission of helping people get jobs, the approach to product experimentation, and career advancement are all great aspects of working for Indeed, no matter if you join in Japan or the US.
But something that makes the location in Tokyo special is that 70% of our employees are expats, and both the expats and many of our Japanese co-workers have an active interest in foreign cultures and prefer to work in a diverse work environment.
In my experience, this creates a greater sense of community, which is visible in the amount of shared after-work activities.
Personally, I’ve played futsal, basketball, table tennis and badminton, enjoyed many local restaurants and had fun at karaoke, all with a diverse set of co-workers.
So yeah, while Indeed is not a startup anymore and both technology and processes are more similar to what you can expect from bigger tech companies, the competitive salaries (salary ranges are public for open positions), good company culture and great mission do make up for it.
And since our son is now enjoying his time at a Japanese Kindergarten or with his parents at the park and playground near our place, and my wife has found a part-time job as a tour guide for lesser known eating and drinking spots (even hosting the producer of Hollywood blockbuster movies once), life is pretty good and I’m happy we made the move to Tokyo.
Many software engineers who take on management roles struggle with the idea of giving up writing code. But in a leadership position, what matters more is...
Why new Engineering Managers at Indeed start as developers.
I joined Indeed in March 2016 as an “industry hire” manager for software engineers. At Indeed, engineering managers act as individual contributors (ICs) before taking on more responsibilities. Working with my team as an IC prepared me to be a more effective manager.
Before my first day, I talked with a few engineering managers about what to expect. They advised that I would spend about 3–6 months contributing as an individual developer. I would write unit tests and code, commit changes, do code reviews, fix bugs, write documentation, and more.
I was excited to hear about this approach, because in my recent years as an engineering manager, I had grudgingly stopped contributing at the code level. Instead, I lived vicariously through others by doing code reviews, participating in technical design reviews, and creating utilities and tools that boosted team productivity.
Onboarding as an individual contributor
My manager helped to onboard me and directed me to self-guided coursework. I was impressed by the amount of content provided to familiarize new hires with the tools and technologies we use at Indeed. In my experience, most companies don’t invest enough in creating and maintaining useful documentation. Equally as valuable, fellow Indeedians gladly answered my questions and helped me to get unblocked when I encountered technical hurdles. I really appreciated that support as a new employee.
During my time as an IC, I had no management responsibilities. That was a change for me….and it was wonderful! I focused on code. I built technical competence and knocked the rust off mental processes that I hadn’t needed to use for awhile. I observed practices and processes used by the team to learn how I could become equally productive. I had a chance to dive deeper into Git usage. I wrote unit and DAO tests to increase code coverage. I learned how to deploy code into the production environment. For the first time in a long while, I wrote production code for new features in a product.
To accelerate my exposure to the 20 different projects owned by my team, I asked to be included on every code review. I knew I wouldn’t be able to contribute to all of the projects, but I wanted to be exposed to as many as possible. Prior to my request, the developer typically selected a few people to do a code review and nominated one to be the “primary” reviewer. Because I was included in every review, I saw code changes and the comments left by team members on how to improve the code. I won’t claim I understood everything I read in every code review, but I did gain an appreciation for the types of changes. I recommend this approach to every new member of a team, not just managers.
Other activities helped me integrate with people outside of my team. For example, I scheduled lunch meetings with everyone who had interviewed me. This was mostly other engineering managers, but I also met with folks in program management and technical writing. Everyone I contacted was open to meeting me. These lunch meetings allowed me to get a feel for different roles; how they planned and prioritized work; their thoughts on going from IC to manager; and challenges that they had faced during their tenure at Indeed. On-site lunches (with great food, by the way) allowed me to meet both engineering veterans as well as people in other departments.
Transitioning into a managerial role
By the time I was close to the end of my first full quarter, I had contributed to several projects. I had been exposed to some of the important systems owned by my team. Around this time, my manager and I discussed my transition into a managerial role. We agreed that I had established enough of a foundation to build on. I took over 1-on-1 meetings, quarterly reviews, team meetings, and career growth discussions.
Maintaining a technical focus
Many software engineers who take on management roles struggle with the idea of giving up writing code. But in a leadership position, what matters more is engaging the team on a technical level. This engagement can take a variety of forms. Engineering managers at Indeed coach their teams on abstract skills and technical decisions. When managers have a deeper understanding of the technology, they can be more effective in their role.
I am glad that I had a chance to start as an IC so that I could earn my team’s trust and respect. A special shout out to the members of the Money team: Akbar, Ben, Cheng, Erica, Kevin, Li, and Richard.
About the author:
Paresh Suthar is an Engineering lead for the Money Team at Indeed, based out of Austin, TX.