“I feel comfortable in Pittsburgh and it has empowered me to want to make an impact. The sky is the limit."
Brian D’Souza is an international citizen. Born and raised in Bahrain, he moved to India when he was eight and eventually made his way to Pittsburgh for graduate school. After interning at CISCO during grad school, he took a full-time opportunity as a software developer after graduation and spends his free time in Pittsburgh cooking cuisines from all over the world and exploring what the city has to offer.
You came to Pittsburgh for school, what kept you here?
Pittsburgh is my first home city in the U.S. – it’s where I worked through the culture shock of a new place. I liked it, so the familiarity and the opportunity is what kept me here. Pittsburgh might feel like a big city, but it really is like a small town. Particularly for the foreign-born population, they’re very well-connected and welcoming – they want to be inclusive and find their place here.
What makes your professional experience in Pittsburgh unique?
I work at a major technology company, but Pittsburgh has a very different culture than Silicon Valley and other major tech hubs because of its unique, small team-based approach. In my office, I was a bit of an anomaly as an immigrant, but I think it’s been a mutually beneficial learning experience for me and my coworkers. I’ve learned from them as experienced professionals and they’ve seen the value that a fresh perspective can bring and how my background is an important asset to the organization.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to make it in tech?
The top skill for technology jobs is communication. It doesn’t matter if you’re a tech person or not, working across cultures (both personal and professional) is a hugely important part of my job. I work remotely often – most of my team is in Romania, Chicago, Austin, Raleigh, and India. Communication is a vital part of making our team work and making sure the product fits the client needs. I understand coding and cybersecurity, but it’s also important to keep the client in mind to be certain the product is functional and user-friendly.
What are some of the best spots around Pittsburgh?
This is going to focus almost exclusively around food, but it’s what I love! There are so many good places, but Salem’s in the Strip District is by far my favorite. I can buy my Turkish coffee, lamb, and Lebanese and Indian spices all in the same spot. Dobra in Squirrel Hill is the only place that makes chai the way that I do – the way it should be made! High tea at The Frick Café is a unique Pittsburgh offering, and fun for me considering how important tea is for us in India. Mixtape,is a great place for conversation, board games, and good drinks, and it’s a women owned business with ethical pay practices. In my own neighborhood, Lawrenceville, Blue Moon is a great gay bar and one of the most inclusive queer spaces in the city, which is an important asset for the LGBT community here.
While I love to cook myself, Udipi Café in Monroeville is one of my favorite restaurants. My hometown in India is in the Udupi District, so youcan imagine how excited I was to find a restaurant that serves South Indian regional food in Pittsburgh! I highly recommend a visit for the dosas (lentil and rice crepes).
This city is so interconnected and welcoming –Pittsburgh might feel like a big place, but it really is like a small town. Get out and explore.