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Aanchal Singh | September 11, 2019 | 4 min read
Women in Tech – Chapter 3

Around September 2018, having more than a couple of years of experience in early stage startups, I was on the lookout for a change. I decided to search for a ‘well established and structured’ organisation as my next destination, where I could constantly develop my skills. 

What does a ‘well established and structured’ organisation really mean? For me, it has always meant the quality of and the constant flow of work that I may get to do. Specifically speaking, my interest solely lies in the tech stack each organisation works upon and how this is utilised to make functions extensible, on a daily basis. 

Having heard of some not-so-great reviews about Zomato, I was initially not even considering it as an option. However, what motivated me to join this organisation was the type of work I was promised, and more than that, the fact that I was going to receive as much responsibility as my male counterparts. I know how this sounds – extremely old school and redundant – but the opposite of this was true for my previous organisations and this was the hard reality that I had initially decided to live with.

Not anymore. 

Zomato changed this for me. What I perceived as being unstructured or problematic here, were actually opportunities that I just had to pick up and develop. I was offered to work on and grow in services I never thought I would be associated with.

To make this even better, I was being offered a chance to work with a team which was responsible to build microservices from scratch, which meant that there were no limitations to the type of tech stack one could expose themselves to – we could simply make the call according to the requirements of a particular service at any given time.

Hustle and then some more

On my very first day, the hustle and work quickly seeped into my routine. I had to swiftly learn Golang and Javascript and was asked to make modifications to our notification service, which I had no experience in before. If I could do this in just one day – I wanted to test myself and see what I could achieve going forward. At this moment, I decided to be a part of Zomato for good.

It’s incredible how your opportunities here are not limited to your previous experience but to your ability and interest to learn and imbibe new concepts. 

Cut to a year later: I have received the opportunity to work on even more challenging tasks and have gotten to learn and collaborate with some of the smartest and most dedicated folks here. I have worked on various projects in relation to our notification service, location service, open-tracing, profile store service, database splitter, jumbo kafka wrapper and much more. In this short span of time I have been trusted with the complete ownership of tasks undertaken by me, starting from designing the architecture, researching about the best stack available to do the job and finally to deploying and monitoring them independently. The scale at which each of these services are operating today is amazing and definitely gives you a high sense of responsibility. When one gets to witness the amount of impact your small piece of code is making to its users, you realise you don’t want to stop.

Currently, I am involved with the formulation of a profile store service and this is surely one of the most challenging projects for me until now. A profile store is a database that is home to a wide range of data sets and is broken down at a restaurant, user and dish level. In simple terms, it stores the current, historical and derived data, combined with behavioural attributes of a particular entity (dish, user, restaurant). On a daily basis, I work towards maintaining this system and ensure that it continues to enhance Zomato as a platform and engage our user base in the most effective way possible.

Over time and with the experience I have been able to gain here, I am able to apply my learning to everything on a real-time basis. I have now been conditioned to think and question every aspect in a different manner – mainly to ensure we’re utilising the best practices and are keeping the code base structured enough to maintain its usability for future features and developers.

Going forward, I know I have a lot to execute and accomplish here, especially when it comes to the services we are looking to improve upon. What’s great about such a setup is that there is no dearth of problem statements that are to be picked up and tackled; one just needs to have the zeal and passion to work towards solving them in the best possible manner. 

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