Guru Khalsa
Guru Khalsa is passionate about solving problems using technology. He loves learning, refactoring, and making customers happy. And surfing. He co-founded Zoomforth and is now an engineer working on construction software at Autodesk.

Who am I?

I grew up in the Haight in San Francisco. As a kid I liked Starcraft, magic cards, and I was pretty good at school.

I attended UCLA, and along the way developed a passion for building software. In college I liked Brazilian jiu-jitsu, rock climbing, and staying up all night coding.

I moved back to SF to start my career. In my 20s I liked surfing, kiteboarding, and having a growth mindset. I learned a lot by working in small startups and building software products from scratch.

Nowadays I'm living in northern New Hampshire. I like hiking, snowboarding, history audiobooks, and learning French. I work remotely, and I appreciate the insight that a walk in the forest often brings to my work. I also enjoy most of what I liked in the past... sending some V4s at the rock climbing gym and then coding until 4am will never stop being a good way to spend time.

Along the way I've been lucky to enjoy the company of friends and family, and to support others and be supported. I wonder what's next!

My name is a bit unusual: I have it because my parents converted to Sikhism before I was born, so I was given a Sikh name and grew up practicing the Sikh religion even though I'm not ethnically Indian. This included eating vegetarian, not cutting my hair, and wearing a turban. Although I no longer follow most of the disciplines of the religion, I am deeply thankful for the values and culture that guided my upbringing.

I'm stoked that I get to make a living by crafting systems that interact with the complexity of the modern world. It demands a sense of curiosity and vision, and provides a sense of accomplishment at nearly every level: from getting a small part of the code to work all the way up to the completion of a major project. Beyond the intrinsic pleasure of the work, I get to interact with brilliant people along the way. There are challenges in this career, of course, but it's a vocation that suits me well.

What do I work on?

I love the opportunity to learn new skills and to strengthen old ones. Learning is fun, and working on software requires a lot of learning. So, transitively, working on software is fun.

I've worn many hats, as they say: I've managed engineers in the past, I've worked up and down the stack in several languages, I've set up ops infrastructure, retrofitted crucial legacy services, built greenfield products, and I've made countless technical decisions in the pursuit of building great software.

I currently have the privilege of working with a fantastic team at Autodesk on software that powers major construction projects across the world. I've shipped a lot of work with TypeScript/React as an IC, and I greatly enjoy that role.

Most importantly, though, I have come to appreciate that software is primarily about people and what drives them. Businesses are built for people, by people, and people are driven by desire, fear, joy, pain, frustration, and any number of other emotions. So I strive to empathize with my team and our users, and to remember that software is not about the computer, but about us.

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