From marketing to data engineering: Kamla Kasichainula’s inspiring journey

From marketing to data engineering: Kamla Kasichainula’s inspiring journey

Leapfin’s Kate Swanberg recently spoke with Kamla Kasichainula, the Data Engineering Manager at Calm, as part of Leapfin’s first annual event celebrating the Top Women in Finance, Data, & Systems. Kamla shared her journey of transitioning from a female-dominated industry to the male-dominated field of data engineering, emphasizing the importance of having supportive peers and a healthy work culture.

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Transitioning from a female-dominated industry to data engineering

Kamla began her career in offline advertising, a field predominantly dominated by women. However, as she moved into online advertising, she noticed a shift towards a more evenly matched gender balance. It was when she transitioned to engineering that she found herself in a largely male-dominated industry. She attributes this career pivot to a coding bootcamp that helped her transition from marketing to software engineering in just three months.

Importance of supportive peers and inclusive company culture

Throughout her journey, Kamla realized the significance of having supportive peers in the workplace. As she puts it, “Having peers where you work is important for your happiness and ability to succeed.” Moving from a female-dominated industry to a male-dominated one, she noticed a lack of peers she could relate to or seek support from. This led her to emphasize the value of an inclusive company culture that fosters camaraderie and growth among all employees.

Building inclusivity into the interview process and seeking allies

Kamla believes that identifying and nurturing an inclusive company culture starts during the interview process. By addressing concerns about diversity and inclusion with potential employers, candidates can gauge the company’s commitment to creating a supportive work environment. Kamla shares her own experience, saying, “Find your allies and those who will support you in your efforts to make things more equitable at a company.” Establishing connections with like-minded individuals and seeking guidance from female leaders in the organization can make all the difference in finding a fulfilling career path.

Setting priorities in data engineering

As a data engineering manager, Kamla understands the importance of prioritizing tasks and projects that add the most value to the organization. She shares her decision-making framework, saying, “Picking what’s most important comes down to understanding how your team brings value to the organization.” Kamla’s team operates as a platform team, enabling other teams to make data-driven decisions more effectively.

To determine which tasks hold the most importance, Kamla poses four questions:

  1. Is it enabling more revenue?
  2. Is it related to data quality or platform stability?
  3. Is it related to compliance?
  4. Does it allow teams to access the data they need to do their jobs?

These questions help her to strike a balance between meeting the needs of the business and ensuring the well-being of her team members. By maintaining this equilibrium, Kamla can cultivate a healthy, productive work environment in a male-dominated industry.


Kamla’s journey and insights offer valuable lessons for professionals navigating the world of data engineering, particularly women in male-dominated fields. By seeking supportive peers, fostering an inclusive company culture, and establishing clear priorities, individuals can thrive in their careers while contributing to a more equitable and diverse industry. Kamla’s experiences serve as a reminder that success in data engineering is attainable with determination, resilience, and a focus on creating a supportive environment for all.

Watch Kate’s full conversation with Kamla :

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