Meet the team: Abhishek Agarwal, engineering lead in India

by Steve Hetland · in Meet The Team · September 27, 2021


You live in Bangalore and work for Imply in San Francisco. Please introduce yourself.

I come from a small town in the north of India, and I studied at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. I graduated with a degree in computer science.

You are Imply’s first engineer in India — was it a difficult decision to take that role?

To be honest, I was certainly anxious about how this would work out with me being alone here in a different time zone. I’ve always felt it was important to have face time with your colleagues. It was a slight shift of role for me as well, since I was to build a team.

But, I took the risk, as this was the kind of opportunity I had always been looking for. There is no other database company I know of that is hiring engineers to work on their core technology. I also felt that Jad, the head of engineering, and the other company leaders would have my back.

In hindsight, this was the best possible decision. The people at Imply are smart, humble and extremely good engineers. The talent I have seen here is unmatched. I have never felt excluded because of being in a different timezone.

What can you tell us about Imply’s plans for India?

Imply is going to deliver some very high-impact projects from India. This work will be instrumental in setting us apart from our competitors.

Bangalore has plenty of solid talent that we want to tap into. In the short term, that means more Druid specialists. We have already hired some really great engineers. In the long term — once the team is well integrated into Imply R&D — that’s when we’re going to think about how we scale this site laterally. This means growing the platform team, customer support, operations and more.

“Imply is going to deliver some very high-impact projects from India.”

What would you say to engineers in Bangalore thinking about joining Imply?

If you are passionate about building large scale systems or databases, then working for Imply is a golden opportunity. Many companies have big-data problems and centralized teams to address these problems. At Imply, you will be solving data problems for a wide range of domains. There is an opportunity of moving from building on top of a Druid-like project to building Druid itself. As an additional bonus, you get great exposure to opensource.

How has the market for IT talent developed in Bangalore?

Over the past decade or so, we’ve seen a domino effect on the India tech startup scene. Many engineers here started out working on large-scale problems at consumer internet startups. This exposure has led to growth of local talent that we did not have earlier in India. As the alumni from these startups created companies of their own, so the engineering talent and expertise have grown too. This has also led to a shift in the strategy around setting up development centers in India. Companies used to set up their Indian development centers very late in their growth cycle — pre- or immediately post-IPO — but now it happens much earlier. Early stage companies are now also setting up development centers in India to benefit from the country’s geo-distributed talent.

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