Graduate Division

Where Are They Now: Arundhati Sawant

Section 1

Where Are They Now: Arundhati Sawant

When someone makes the investment to attend a university, it’s undoubtedly a significant sacrifice. That person invests their finances, time and normal way of life into an experience they hope pays off for them in the future. For UCI alum Arundhati Sawant, the sacrifice has been all of this and more. In 2017, Arundhati traveled nearly 10,000 miles from India and left her career, friends, and family behind to earn her graduate education at UCI.

As we fast forward to 2021, not only did Arundhati receive her Master of Science in Software Engineering in 2018, she now works full time as a Software Engineering Manager at Zillow Group in San Francisco. She’s been with Zillow for over two years now and earned a promotion from Software Engineer to Software Engineering Manager a few weeks ago. UCI caught up with Arundhati to find out more about her personal journey and just how she’s gotten to where she is now.

UCI GD: California is a long way away from India. What went into your decision to make the trek to UCI.

Arundhati: I received my undergraduate education in India, and I felt like I received a very good education. I had a good background on how to be an efficient coder. I wanted to learn the people aspect of software engineering though. There is more to it than just the technical side and I felt UCI could give me that holistic approach.

UCI GD: How did you hear about UCI?

Arundhati: I had actually always wanted to come to the United States and UCI has a very good reputation. I knew a few peers who had attended UCI and they had great things to say.

UCI GD: Was it scary risking everything you had and coming to the United States?

Arundhati: It certainly was. There was no guarantee that my job would be here if I came back and going to another country is scary in itself. Luckily, I was able to get into contact with a few faculty members in my program before my arrival on campus. They made me feel very welcome and comfortable making the move.

UCI GD: You seem to have made a great career for yourself at Zillow. What went into getting that job and did UCI help you with that?

Arundhati: Zillow is a wonderful company and I love it. UCI played a big role in getting my foot in the door at Zillow, as I was actually able to obtain an internship there in the Summer of 2018. That internship eventually turned into a full-time position where I have been ever since.

UCI GD: If you had to make your decision all over again, is there anything you would do differently?

Arundhati: No, I would definitely go back to UCI. I think everything happens for a reason, and I truly enjoyed my time there. I had no idea I would stay in the United States after my schooling, but I’m happy I did.

UCI GD: What was the biggest challenge during your journey?

Arundhati: The biggest challenge was getting used to America. The culture was very different. Pretty much everything is different. UCI had such a diverse background and adjusting to a new culture was hard. It seems like everyone has a different story and background.

UCI GD: When you’re not working, what are some hobbies you enjoy?

Arundhati: I love driving and going on hikes.

UCI GD: Once COVID-19 is over, what’s the one thing you’re looking forward to doing again?

Arundhati: Being able to travel and eat good food. It’s a tie between those two things. For information on the graduate programs UCI has to offer, visit us at www.grad.uci.edu and contact us at grad@uci.edu.