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Illumio Culture

Inside Illumio: Neha Shah

Inside Illumio is a monthly series that highlights the exceptional individuals behind Illumio's world-class products. Each post will peek behind the scenes to spotlight a member of our team. Come get to know us a little better and learn more about what makes Illumio's culture so unique.

This month, meet Neha Shah, Director of Engineering at Illumio. Read how she’s seen Illumio grow in her 11 years with the company, why she’s excited about Illumio's focus on the cloud, and what you can find her doing in her free time.

Tell us about yourself. What do you do at Illumio?

I’m the Director of Engineering at Illumio and lead two teams: performance and scale and system testing.

My team does a variety of work, but it’s mainly focused on testing performance and scale for Illumio Core, Illumio Endpoint, and containers on Core.

What made you interested in working at Illumio?

I joined Illumio back in 2013 when the company was a month and a half old. I was the ninth employee!  

At that time, I had been working for large tech companies most of my career. I was seeing issues and customer pain points that I wanted to address. But the pre-established systems at these companies were making it difficult for me to make changes.

I was looking for a startup in the cloud, security, or mobile space where I could build things from the ground up. My recruiter introduced me to Illumio, and it was a great fit.

Working at Illumio this past decade has really been like seeing your kid grow up. In the beginning, we were a small company serving very large customers, so we were always on our toes. But even as we’ve grown, that fast pace and focus on innovation really hasn’t changed. At Illumio, we’re always working on something new. Even though I’ve been here for years, I never get bored, and I’m always learning something new.

What does a day in the life of Neha look like? What are you working on that excites you?

Daily, my team and I are working on software releases for various Illumio product lines. Amongst those tasks, we’re involved with larger projects testing new products or features for scale performance and system integration. We also help address specific customer requests, whether that’s specific scale testing or simulating their ecosystem.

I’m really excited about Illumio’s new focus on being a cloud-first platform with the launch of Illumio CloudSecure late last year. This new direction will expose me and my team to new technology, including AI and ML. I’m still learning new things, even after 11 years!

What is the most important thing you've learned at Illumio so far?

I’ve learned how startups grow. When I first started in 2013, we were excited about 300 VENs in an environment, and now we’re excited about supporting over 300,000 VENs. I’ve been able to see the scale of growth and how quickly we need to adapt.

Many companies claim to use agile methodologies. It’s one thing to use agile when developing and releasing software. But real agility is responding to customer requests and escalations, delivering new features, and staying competitive in the market – all at the same time. I think Illumio has perfected that balancing act, and I’ve learned a lot from seeing that in action.

What are you passionate about outside of your career?

I'm an amateur artist. I especially enjoy painting and doing henna art. I always say that when I grow up, I’ll probably be painting!

Which Illumio core value resonates with you and why?

Run to challenges. For startups to grow, survive, and be successful, every single person will have to work through challenges. It’s a given.

I also think leverage differences ties into that. The Illumio team comes from all different backgrounds. When we leverage those differences, we are all better as a group. Everyone has something to offer, and that makes Illumio a unique place to be.

What do you want people to know about working at Illumio?

Illumio continues to lead the Zero Trust Segmentation category. Our technology and vision are forward-looking, and we’re embracing new technologies.

This isn’t new to us – we’re pioneers. When Illumio first started, Zero Trust Segmentation wasn’t even a line item on anyone’s budget. Now, we’re leading an entire category. Our vision is clear, our ideas are clear, and our goals are clear.

Interested in joining the team? Check out our career openings.

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