Tamils of Silicon Valley: Jey Balachandran


On a cold winter day in December, Jey Balachandran received a call that would unknowingly change his life. Upon graduating from the University of Toronto, he followed a passion and gut instinct that would see him in sunny California working for what was, at the time, a small tech startup. Today, Jey is the Vice President and Architect of Doximity, a popular online network for health care professionals.

Jey spoke with TamilCulture to discuss his career in Silicon Valley.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you end up in the tech industry?

I was interested in working in software since I was very young. As a student at the University of Toronto, I studied Computer Science which only pushed this interest further. While looking at opportunities following university, I wasn’t overly thrilled with the technology stacks used by local companies that were hiring Software Engineers.

I wanted to work with some newer programming languages and frameworks, but felt limited by the opportunities that were available in Toronto. In the midst of all this, I was reading articles on startups in Silicon Valley and figured that one day I might have the opportunity to visit and explore careers.

In December 2010, I got a call from a recruiter about possible career opportunities. Once we got to talking, initially I wasn’t interested in many of the opportunities he was throwing my way. But once San Francisco was mentioned it definitely piqued my interest.

That week, I interviewed with a few companies. One of them really stood out to me. The CEO of that company called me one night and I received an offer the next morning, which I accepted on the spot.

I can’t say that my family was too thrilled with the decision at the time. Nonetheless, they supported me through it. Two weeks later, I moved to San Francisco.

2. Describe what Doximity does and your work for the company.

Doximity aims to build a free and secure network for clinicians that allows them to feel more connected while encouraging cross-collaboration. Our features allow clinicians to search other healthcare professionals in the US and place referrals through our HIPAA-secure messaging system. Recently, we were ranked as the fastest growing company in the San Francisco Bay Area by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™.

At an individual level, I started at Doximity as a Software Engineer, one of a few initially working out of a small office in San Mateo. Since then, I have learned a lot about software and healthcare, gained more responsibilities, and have grown within the company. As VP, Architect, I manage and collaborate with our engineering team on our products.

3. What is a typical workday like for you?

It varies quite a bit day- to-day. Weekly though, my time is spent in the following three areas:

● 50% – Collaborating with the engineering team on technical challenges and supporting them through mentorship
● 40% – Exploring new technologies and building products
● 10% – Growing the team and company

As you can see, it’s a good mix of working with technology and interacting with people that keeps me busy and happy. As the team continues to grow, a lot of my time is spent ensuring that engineers have the resources they need to achieve their goals, and that they are being guided down a path to ultimately becoming better engineers.

4. Advice to readers interested in a career in Silicon Valley?

Knowing that many startups don’t succeed is important. And with that knowledge, you must plan accordingly with adequate savings.

It is easy to be enticed by a higher salary and/or stock options in San Francisco, but people need to be aware of the cost of living here as well. Rent for a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco is comparable to a mortgage for a house in Toronto.

If you are interested in learning more about Doximity, check out the link here: www.doximity.com.

Related articles:
Travis Ratnam’s Startup One Of Only Two Selected for Google Demo Day From Canada
Tamil founder Sundar Krish Raises $1.5M for His Start-Up Waygum to Mobilize the Industrial Internet of Things
Young Tamil Entrepreneur Considered One Of The Most Innovative Startup Founders In London

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Shanelle Kandiah

Shanelle Kandiah

A graduate from the University of Toronto, Shanelle recently completed her Master's in Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University where she wrote her Master's Research Project on the state of Sri Lanka's democracy. Born to a Sri Lankan Tamil father and a Filipino mother, Shanelle has always been eager to learn more about her cultures and to find opportunities that will allow her to give back to her community.

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