#BalanceforBetter: International Women’s Day Engineer Spotlight, Part 2

What was a challenge you were faced with during the project and how did you overcome it?
The LinkedIn feed is the default landing page for members and drives a significant amount of site traffic and member engagement. In working with the feed, we cannot afford to hamper feature iteration or degrade the existing product experience, such as site-speed. That’s why it has been extremely important for this initiative to intelligently manage risk and ensure platform stability. This was particularly challenging given that our optimizations needed to be applied at the ecosystem level, while the feed product continued to evolve with a richer feature set. Thanks to the strong collaboration across our partner teams, we collectively and successfully pulled this off.

What were the results of the project?
Project High5 accelerated the iteration speed of new features on the flagship feed and allowed our engineering teams to deliver an even stronger business impact. Before High5’s implementation, it took multiple quarters to onboard a new type of organic content (e.g., Kudos) into the flagship feed product. High5 reduced this timeline to one to two weeks. This has led to us successfully onboarding a number of use cases into the feed ecosystem via the initiative flows as we continue to iterate and refine our solutions.

Can you tell us about a mentor you’ve had? How have they helped you succeed?
While working at LinkedIn, I am very grateful for the many opportunities to both receive and give mentorship. Someone I really admire and have received mentorship from is my current manager, Prachi Gupta. She is a visionary leader and a fantastic engineer. While holding a director title, she is never at a distance from the technical complexities. I am always impressed by the unique insights and perspectives she consistently brings to the table. As a mentor, she has offered me lots of valuable coaching, including:

1. To earn someone’s trust, start by trusting them more first.

2. Always separate emotions from the doing, reasoning, decision-making, and communication, especially in stressful situations.

What advice would you give to a woman wanting to pursue a career in tech?
Learn to make the right prioritizations, say “no,” and the importance of delegation. It can be difficult to put into practice, but will pay off in the long run. Furthermore, sometimes delegation opens up opportunities for others. For example, close to the end of project High5 execution, I delegated the task of leading a sub-project to a senior engineer. This turned out to be a good experience that developed his leadership skills, and I was really happy to be able to observe and contribute to his growth.

What do you wish you knew when you started your career in tech?
Even as an engineer who spends most of your time building software, it is important to make an effort to build relationships and expand your network. Although I am an introvert who enjoys her alone time to recharge, I have made it a priority to meet people outside my direct organization. At LinkedIn, there are tons of opportunities to do this, such as tech talks, meetups, InDay events, or mentorship. Throughout my career, I have learned that genuine relationships set up the foundation for successful collaboration, which can also turn into long-lasting friendship.

Prachi Agarwal

Prachi is a staff software engineer on the Economic Graph data platform team. Prior to this position, she was on the anti-abuse team, which works to combat abuse on LinkedIn’s platform.

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