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How this Indian Engineer from Bengaluru made it in Tech as a Cloud Data Engineer?

Indian immigrants represent one of the most educated groups in the U.S., with 80% of those ages 25 and older holding at least a bachelor’s degree, and nearly half possessing advanced degrees. This high level of education among Indian immigrants is a key factor in their prominent role in the tech industry, especially in data engineering and cloud computing.

The distribution of Indian immigrants across the United States shows a significant concentration in states like California, Texas, and New Jersey, with major urban centers such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Jose being the top metropolitan areas of residence. This geographical distribution aligns with the locations of key tech hubs and industries that heavily rely on Information Technology, Cloud, and Data Engineering expertise.

The steady rise in the influx of Indian professionals into the U.S. workforce has been facilitated by employment-based visas, with a notable percentage of Indian nationals employed under H-1B visas. This visa allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, a category that includes many IT and data engineering roles. In Fiscal Year 2021, India was the second largest country of origin for lawful permanent residents in the U.S., with a significant share obtaining their green cards through employment-based preferences.

The demand for skilled professionals in cloud computing and data management has grown exponentially with the adoption of cloud technologies across companies, making the contributions of Indian engineers and IT professionals even more critical to innovation and technological advancement in the United States.

Karthik Rajashekaran, originally from Bengaluru, India was a Mechanical Engineering graduate who moved to the U.S. in 2010 to work for Bank for America from his previous job in Satyam Computer Services, a company that shut down in 2015 after a major scandal.  

From Bengaluru to New York: A Common Path Uncommonly Traveled

Karthik’s journey began in the tech-saturated streets of Bengaluru, a city that has been a cradle for countless tech aspirants in India. His initial step into the world of technology was through a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from VTU, but it was his Master’s in Computer Science from New York University in 2015 that marked the true beginning of his career in cloud data engineering.

This path from India to the U.S. for higher education and better career opportunities is a well-trodden one, with thousands of Indian students leaping each year. The U.S. has been the top destination for Indian students seeking education abroad, largely due to the vast opportunities in STEM fields. 

I chose Data Engineering as my career because it merges my passion for technology with my desire to solve complex problems using data. It’s the backbone of modern analytics and allows me to play a crucial role in shaping the future of technology. Data Engineering captivated me with its potential to shape the future of businesses and industries. It’s a field where I can combine my love for problem-solving with my fascination for data, ultimately making a tangible impact on how organizations leverage information for growth and success.”

The Evolution of Data Engineering in the Cloud Era

The field of data engineering has undergone a revolutionary transformation with the advent of cloud computing. Companies have shifted from traditional on-premise data management to cloud-based systems, increasing the demand for cloud data engineers. This transition has been driven by the scalability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of cloud platforms.

As businesses have become more data-driven, the role of the data engineer has become crucial in architecting the pipelines that enable the collection, storage, and analysis of vast amounts of data. Karthik’s career trajectory mirrors this shift in the industry, showcasing a move towards specialized roles that cater to the needs of modern, data-centric businesses.

In the cloud era, Data Engineering is not just about managing data; it’s about orchestrating innovation and empowering organizations to harness the full potential of cloud technologies to unlock unprecedented insights and drive transformative growth.”

Joining Avalara: Innovating at the Intersection of Tax and Technology

Within this broader context, Avalara is a Software company that makes tax compliance faster, easier, more accurate, and more reliable, working with over 30,000+ business and government customers in over 90 countries. Avalara leverages cloud technology to simplify the complexities of tax regulations for companies worldwide, processing billions of transactions with precision and reliability.

Karthik’s role at Avalara as a Senior Cloud Data Engineer involves enhancing the company’s reporting infrastructure, ensuring efficient data delivery, and maintaining data integrity. His work is indicative of the critical role that data engineering plays in enabling businesses to navigate the challenges of tax compliance through technological innovation.

At Avalara, I’m committed to harnessing data’s transformative power to drive innovation and deliver exceptional value. With a relentless focus on precision and performance, I strive to cultivate solutions that empower businesses to thrive in the digital age”

Leadership Beyond Technology

Karthik’s influence extends beyond mere technical prowess. He has orchestrated a ‘data analytics stack’, streamlining data orchestration and transformation pipelines. His advocacy for data integrity, through comprehensive quality frameworks and CI/CD pipelines, underscores his holistic approach to data engineering.

At the heart of my philosophy towards data integrity and team collaboration lies the belief that trust and transparency are the cornerstones of success”

Personal Pursuits and Future Aspirations

Beyond the office, Karthik finds joy in sports and family time. An avid cricket and tennis player, he values competition and camaraderie. His greatest joy, however, comes from moments with his son, highlighting his commitment to a well-rounded life.

As Karthik looks ahead, he remains dedicated to advancing Avalara’s technological frontiers, fueled by a relentless pursuit of excellence. His journey, from the classrooms of Bangalore to the innovation labs of Avalara, reflects a profound dedication to growth, innovation, and balance.

Reflections on the Journey

Karthik’s personal story is a microcosm of a larger trend of Indian engineers making significant contributions to the tech industry in the U.S., particularly in emerging fields like cloud data engineering. His journey from the educational institutions of Bengaluru to the cutting-edge technological environment of New York and Avalara reflects a broader narrative of globalization, technological advancement, and the continuous search for opportunities to innovate.

While Karthik’s achievements are notable, they also serve as a reminder of the collective progress made by individuals who venture far from home, armed with ambition and the drive to excel in the ever-evolving tech landscape. His story, though unique in its details, shares themes with the stories of many who have navigated similar paths, contributing to the global tapestry of technological innovation.

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