Tinder’s date with this tech genius was definitely worth the 500-day wait



(Photo: Ishan Khanna)

Imagine you have to go on a date with the perfect partner and they arrive 500 days late.

That’s basically what happened when Tinder – the world’s largest online dating app – was paired with tech genius Ishan Khanna.

Global company bosses just slipped when they saw the 25-year-old’s ridiculously impressive resume and recruited him to join their software engineering team in Los Angeles.

Ishan, a multi-award-winning app developer and international tech speaker, was on their radar after his groundbreaking work on apps for online travel agency Booking.com, a car-sharing app called Getaround, and a summary app. news called In shorts.

As a general rule, Indian software engineers working on an H-1B have to enter a lottery system and hope for the best, especially if you don’t have a master’s degree.

But with Ishan’s mark on the tech world in his early 20s, his employer applied for a 0-1 visa, which is granted to “persons of extraordinary ability or achievement”.

After the company lawyers get visa approval. Ishan prepared to pack for the United States…then disaster struck.

“By the time the job offer came in 2020, the closings were starting to happen,” he explained.

“Fast forward exactly 500 days and I finally managed to get the visa stamp, the flights booked and moved to the United States. I received the job offer in December 2019 – and finally started in April 2021.”

“It’s funny thinking about it now because I don’t know why Tinder waited so long for me to show up.”

Making West Hollywood your home and playing a leading role in a global apps company is certainly an unlikely story for any young boy who grew up in New Delhi without an iPhone, tablet or fancy tech in the household for most of his life.

Ishan’s first experience with a mobile phone, which would become such a big part of his world, was when his parents bought an old Samsung device with an antenna – and an average download time of 10 minutes.

Always fascinated by technology, gadgets and computers, Ishan got his hands on his first computer aged 12 in the summer of 2006, paid for by his grandfather.

While his parents and friends thought he was busy playing games, Ishan started learning technical programming and building websites.

So engrossed in all things computer-related throughout his teenage years, Ishan got disappointing grades in most subjects at school and failed to rank in any of India’s top universities.

What none of his teachers realized was that they had a technological prodigy on their hands.

“I had to settle for a lesser-known course, which lasted three years and wasn’t really a professional degree per se,” Ishan explained.

“But a month into the course, I realized that whatever computer science they were going to teach us for those three years, I was already way beyond that.

“And because of the way I was answering the teacher’s questions, one day she called me aside and said, ‘Look, I don’t think this class is right for you. You really should give up and do something else, or get into another college if you can.

When he enrolled in an engineering program, it was a case of different place, same scenario. In the first semester, Ishan quickly realized that his software knowledge and skills far exceeded anything the course would teach.

Growing disinterested in his studies, Ishan began writing apps instead and started taking on freelance projects. He eventually landed an internship with the microfinance organization Mifos Initiative as part of the Google Summer of Code program and later became a member of the project management committee of the global organization Apache Software Foundation.

Ishan said: “The way I like to learn is that I like to dive into things very quickly and I like problem solving. I consider myself to be very enterprising and creative. So whenever I there is a problem to solve, I just like to dive in and learn on the go. »

As his experience as a tech freelancer grew and he gained recognition within the developer ecosystem, Ishan began to be bombarded with projects on Freelancer.com and through various social media websites everywhere. people could reach him.

Eight years later, Ishan has become a widely recognized Google developer expert for Android, delivers unique app engineering talks at technology conferences around the world, and leads the Tinder Safety Experience Team that dedicated to keeping its 75 million monthly active users safe online.

When he finally got to work 500 days later, co-workers on Tinder were quick to let him know how they felt about being caught out.

“When I was talking to my colleagues for the first time and explaining all the visa and lockdown issues, they were like, ‘Oh, so you’re the guy’ or ‘we’re kept being told that someone one joined our team every two months, but we never saw you.'”

Ishan has finally come forward for Tinder, for the tech world…and for his grandfather who bought him his first computer 16 years ago.

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