Carnegie Mellon University

Harsh Varshney entered Carnegie Mellon’s Master of Software Engineering (MSE) Professional Programs seeking to expand his expertise beyond the coding-focused software development he practiced at leading Indian startups. Harsh states, “I was eager to delve into more complex and specialized areas within the field and believed that a master's degree would provide the ideal platform for such exploration.” Through the rigorous curriculum, Harsh gained far more than added technical proficiency — he developed strategic frameworks for tackling multifaceted industry challenges.

Armed with a holistic toolkit for requirements gathering, architectural design, and cross-functional collaboration, Harsh returned to the industry equipped to smoothly guide initiatives from beginning to end. “The MSE program equipped me with a robust foundation in software engineering principles, advanced problem-solving techniques, and a deep understanding of emerging technologies. These have proven invaluable in my career, especially when tackling intricate challenges at Google, particularly in the dynamic field of privacy with the Privacy Sandbox project.” 

Honing this strategic vision has enabled Harsh to advance faster professionally than peers who still rely on piecemeal coding. He credits the MSE’s “cutting-edge curriculum, and strong emphasis on practical, industry-relevant experiences” for instilling systematic yet adaptable processes applicable across dynamic business contexts. Beyond technical skills, Harsh values the interpersonal connections forged and the diverse viewpoints encountered during such an immersive learning experience.

Eager to pay forward the thoughtful guidance received while a student in the MSE, Harsh volunteers his time conducting mock interviews to bolster students’ preparation and confidence and recently gave a tech talk. He has also embraced opportunities to support aspiring engineers by participating as a judge in hackathons at MIT and UC Berkeley. “I am deeply committed to continued learning and growth. I am always open to collaboration, sharing experiences, and staying connected with the vibrant community that our alma mater has fostered.”

Contemplating his career trajectory, Harsh envisions maintaining highly technical problem-solving roles while also managing teams and guiding product strategy. He aims to hone his intuitive grasp of systems and increase his responsibility for decisions influencing users worldwide. Most attracted to distributed systems domains with increasing complexity and demand, such as cloud infrastructure, Harsh wants to drive change by enabling more reliable, accessible services benefiting multitudes.

Throughout his path from startups to prestigious tech giants, Harsh has repeatedly experienced firsthand the massive value of cross-cutting software engineering fluency across specialties. He advises those entering the continuously evolving technology landscape that — regardless of the specific role — intentionally developing versatile skills via programs like Carnegie Mellon’s MSE promises to unlock immense career opportunities and equip software engineers to affect positive change within the industry.