Meet Richa Khandelwal, a Senior Engineering Manager at HubSpot who works remotely out of her home in Portland, Oregon. Before joining HubSpot, Richa built a diverse engineering background and relocated for many of those positions. So after having decided where she truly wanted to settle down with her family, she knew either something local or a remote opportunity would fit her lifestyle best. When she found out that she could join HubSpot as a remote employee, she knew it was the right move - figuratively speaking! Here’s what she had to say...
Can you tell us a little about your background and journey to HubSpot?
I am originally from India. I came to the United States for my undergraduate in Computer Science. After graduating from State University of New York, Plattsburgh, I worked for various startups in New England as a Software Developer before moving to Portland Oregon to work for Nike. I also lived for a year in San Francisco working for Slack, then Covid brought me back to Portland. When I interviewed with HubSpot, the culture and inclusivity had me convinced that I wanted to work here. I started my interview process in 2019 but got cold feet about moving back to New England. Snow to me is pretty for a few days, but I don't enjoy the extra shoveling it brings! When the Product & Engineering team increased work flexibility, I was able to join in 2020 remotely as a Senior Engineering Manager!
Describe a typical day in your role.
My day is generally occupied in building and executing product and technical strategies with my team members. Those conversations focus on discussing tradeoffs, technical decisions, priorities, and removing roadblocks. Another large part of my day is coaching my team members in their career growth and improving engineering workflows, for example, onboarding documents.
Lastly, I try to also make some time every few weeks to work on technical things like a side project or reading pull requests. As an SEM, I usually have less time available to do that, but because every SEM at HubSpot goes through 4-6 months of engineering embedding, we all have familiarity with the HubSpot coding tools and the stack. This makes switching context and doing such occasional work easier.
What technical challenges are you currently working on?
I lead Calling and Artificial Intelligence Product groups. They both have unique technical challenges.
Calling is unique because of the synchronous nature of the voice software. Simplicity, quality, and reliability stakes are much higher in synchronous communication. If you have ever dialed or received a call from a Sales and Customer Service representative, there is generally an anxiety about the sound quality or information finding. We are solving for both in this product group. Currently we are working on building foundational features such as enabling our customers to receive calls in HubSpot.
In the Artificial Intelligence group, we are working on delivering insights to our customers through conversation intelligence. Currently, we are focusing on enabling customers to identify and act on the meaningful insights from their inbound and outbound calls by auto transcribing them. The diversity of languages and accent make conversation intelligence both fun and challenging
Voice software and language processing are likely some of the most difficult problems in software development. Needless to say, there is a lot to learn and solve in these spaces!
Are there any industry trends or topics that are exciting to you right now?
It may not exactly be a trendy topic to some, but I am excited that more developers and companies are building software that can be integrated and extended upon. Friendly integration APIs and comprehensive documents on how to use them are becoming part of the development cycle instead of being an afterthought. This helps in bringing more integrated solutions to the customers without reinventing the wheel. We have a strong platform development culture at HubSpot and it is only getting better by each passing day.
How are you solving for the customer?
Our focus is on small scaling companies. Our customers are generally playing multiple roles and bootstrapping their businesses. With every feature development, we keep the simplicity and ease of use in mind. For example, if they are on the go, enable them to receive and act on the calls on their personal devices. Then when they are back to their desks, help them see their Call information and analysis connected with the rest of the HubSpot features they use.
In your own words, what makes working in tech at HubSpot unique?
The HubSpot product is very wide. Other than a powerful CRM, we also have a suite of marketing, sales, and service software. The technical challenges we have around ensuring each part of the software plays well with the other is unique. Additionally, due to the size of our product and a strong internal mobility culture, it’s unlikely one will get bored with the domain. There are complex data problems to tie customer journeys, untapped machine learning challenges, and the non-stop drive to create joyful user experiences. We get to solve them while working in a culture where autonomy and ownership are celebrated.
Outside of work, what do you like to do in your free time?
I have an 8-month-old baby. As a new mom, a lot of my free time goes in learning new things about parenthood. I also like gardening and had a great tomato yield last year. I like experimenting with vegan/vegetarian cooking, but consider myself an amateur cook.
Interested in joining HubSpot to work with talented techies like Richa? Check out our open positions and apply.