Empowering Doctors: How Deepika Kale’s Expertise in Software Testing Is Transforming Cancer Care

In the high-stakes field of precision oncology, where cancer treatment is personalized based on the genetic profile of tumors, physicians typically take center stage. However, as technology transforms healthcare, software testers such as Deepika Kale are gaining the spotlight because of their crucial role in helping to diagnose and even save patients. Deepika, a Staff Software Engineer in Test at Guardant Health, is dedicated to relentlessly testing software and is significantly enhancing cancer diagnostics and treatment development. She is at the intersection of tech and healthcare, where her efforts are facilitating better outcomes and providing hope for thousands of patients.
A fascination with finding the needle in a haystack
Growing up, Deepika had a deep interest in problem solving. “I didn’t give up easily – the harder the question was, the more interested I was in solving it,” she says. “I was also attracted to details, and I really liked math and science, which were very structured and suited my logical brain.”
In high school, Deepika learned more about computers and was intrigued by their power. While she was aware that STEM careers typically attracted a male workforce, she was confident enough in her dreams and abilities to see that as a challenge, not a deterrent.
“I was also very fortunate that my family encouraged me to pursue my interests, so I decided to study computers in college even if I had to live away from my family and move to a different city or, as I did later, to a different country,” Deepika says.
This passion led her to earn a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a master’s degree in Computer Science. Equipped with a strong educational foundation, Deepika quickly made a name for herself in the tech industry, particularly for her meticulous approach to identifying and resolving software bugs.
Squaring off against bugs in software

The bugs that interfere with the performance of software are the bane of every programmer’s existence, causing untold hours of aggravation. Deepika, however, relished the chance to find them. “I saw it almost like a sport, like hunting for bugs,” she laughs. “Somewhere in hundreds, maybe even thousands, of lines of code was that one line that could bring down an entire program. That bugged me, no pun intended, and I was determined to use my skills to find them and get rid of them for good.”
Deepika’s hunt for bugs took her to Opera Solutions and Deloitte, where she honed her skills in documenting, tracing, and eliminating software bugs. Her expertise caught the attention of Guardant Health, a company at the forefront of precision oncology. Here, Deepika applies her knowledge in bioinformatics and medical device testing to enhance the reliability and accuracy of diagnostic tools.
“At Guardant Health, successful software testing is measured not when there’s nothing more to add but when there’s nothing left to take away — no bugs, no inconsistencies, and no user complaints,” Deepika explains. “Our work involves scrutinizing every aspect of the software testing process. We validate our successes, learn from our mistakes, and continually strive for improvement. This meticulousness is vital because doctors and patients depend on our software to meet stringent standards, facilitating earlier cancer detection and the transition of treatments from the lab to clinical practice.”
Innovating cancer diagnostics

A significant part of Deepika’s role at Guardant Health involves developing and refining diagnostic tools that use blood biopsies for cancer detection and management. This non-invasive approach is revolutionizing cancer diagnostics by providing timely and accurate information, critical for effective treatment planning.
Deepika takes immense pride in her contributions to eliminating software errors in Guardant Health’s Liquid Biopsy tests, which have already served over 500,000 patients. “This work highlights the tremendous responsibility we carry,” she says. “We are part of a vital process that helps physicians to take care of their patients on a much deeper, more targeted level, and in cancer detection, that is incredibly important.”
Deepika has played a crucial role in the software testing team dedicated to Guardant Health’s SHIELD product, conducting software verification and validation in compliance with FDA regulations. This product is designed to enhance colorectal cancer (CRC) screening by providing an easy-to-administer blood test that detects early signs of CRC.
As a Software Engineer in Test, her work has been instrumental in ensuring the product’s quality and reliability. The SHIELD product is now nearing FDA approval, with a recommendation from the FDA advisory committee for its use in detecting CRC in average-risk adults. This promising development highlights the potential impact of the SHIELD test on CRC screening, early detection, and the ability to save more lives.
Global Recognition and Leadership

Deepika’s exceptional contributions have earned her global recognition. In 2024, she was honored with the prestigious Global Recognition Award for her innovations in software testing. Her influence extends beyond her technical achievements; she serves as a judge for esteemed awards such as the Globee Awards, Webby Awards, and the Conrad Challenge, underscoring her standing in the field.
Beyond her professional accolades, Deepika is a dedicated mentor and advocate for women in technology. She actively participates in industry events like the StarEast Conference on Software Testing and various judging panels, demonstrating her commitment to empowering the next generation of women in tech, particularly in coding and software testing.
A Vision for the Future of Healthcare

As Deepika looks to the future of healthcare and cancer diagnosis, she remains convinced of the crucial role that software testing will continue to play. “Our success is part of a lifesaving mission,” she states. “Leading software testing in healthcare, particularly in cancer diagnostics, means embracing a responsibility where accuracy is non-negotiable. Success here is defined by our capability to innovate with safety, ensuring every software release upholds the highest standards of medical integrity and contributes positively to patient care and treatment efficiency.”

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