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Pesto - A career accelerator for India’s top software engineering talent - Interview with Andrew Linfoot



One of the unique aspects of the internet is that it makes us all equal in a strange way. What it means is that collaboration is possible on a new level as we aren’t restricted by our local communities anymore. The internet has led to changes in the way we work and also in the way we seek for opportunities.

Andrew Linfoot runs a career accelerator called Pesto for the Indian market. To learn what he thinks about the topic, read on.

Can you tell a bit about yourself?

Andrew Linfoot

I have been working as a software engineer and living a nomadic lifestyle for the last eight years. I was born in the US, but I am a firm believer in the idea of global citizenship. I consider myself a citizen of the internet more than any one country. I feel the global tech community lives this ideology and I love being a part of it.

I’m obsessed with building things, usually involving software and startups. Currently, I am making Pesto.

When I’m not building things, I enjoy adrenaline sports, traveling, meeting new people and immersing myself in cultures radically different than my own.

How would you describe Pesto to someone who has never heard of it?

Pesto is a school for talented software engineers in developing countries. We brush up their tech skills, teach them soft skills for remote work and then help them get full-time remote jobs at international tech companies. Doing this gives them a foot in the door to international tech careers that would otherwise be inaccessible.

How does Pesto work?

  • Engineers apply at
  • If they are accepted, they fly to our training center in Delhi and train with my team and me for 12 weeks.
  • After training, we help introduce candidates to companies for interviews where they get significantly better opportunities than local markets (averaging a 6x increase in salary and much more interesting tech stacks).

Our program is free up front. Students pay us via income share agreements (ISA). The approach allows us to provide insanely high-quality training and career support services, while still being accessible to people in India (where we currently operate).

How does Pesto differ from other solutions?

There are other ISA based boot camps for learning to code (Lambda School being the most famous). However, these schools focus on teaching beginners to code from the ground up. We concentrate on upskilling experienced engineers.

Since our students typically have 1-5 years of work experience, our curriculum has a significant emphasis on soft skills. We teach students about cultural differences between the US and India, how to be better communicators, how to manage their time in a remote work environment, etc.

However, the unique thing about Pesto is the fact that the whole training program is designed to create a change in mindset. By the time students graduate, they have the confidence to believe that their career opportunities are unbounded and that they can participate as equals in the global tech community. The skills and connections are just icing on the cake.

Why did you found Pesto?

The short version: Equal opportunity in the global economy does not exist. Most people don’t even get a chance. Their potential is permanently capped just because of where they were born.

At Pesto, we are creating a world where access to education and remote work gives everyone equal access to opportunity, regardless of where they were born.

The extended story: How a kid from San Francisco ended up starting a school in India.

What next?

There are millions of brilliant people all over the world that are missing out on an opportunity only because of where they were born. We are on a mission to find these undervalued people and give them a chance to prove themselves. Step one: scale up in India. Step two: scale up globally.

We believe that the future of work is distributed. When this becomes the norm, we want to be the access point for the world’s talent. When everyone has equal access, humanity will unlock vast amounts of untapped talent.

In terms of tech: I’m a massive fan of React, GraphQL, and ReasonML. We use ReasonML for our internal tech at Pesto, and I can’t imagine going back to writing vanilla JS. When all front end code is statically typed from your GraphQL API down, the developer experience is magical.

What advice would you give to programmers getting into web development?

Get involved in the open source community. The open source community is unique because some of the most brilliant minds in the field put their entire life’s body of work out in the open for free. No matter where you are in the world, you can learn from the best.

You can not only read their code, but you can see how they communicate and manage teams via Github issues and PRs. You can see how they think by following them on Twitter. You can email them, and you’d be surprised at how many will spend the time to talk to you. This kind of access is unimaginable in most fields.

Contributing to open source can be intimidating. If you aren’t sure where to start, try some little documentation PRs like fixing a typo or a broken link in a readme. You can also check out this free course by Kent C. Dodds.

Who should I interview next?

I’m biased, but you should talk to Arfat, Pesto’s Director of Education. He’s a brilliant engineer and overall a super kind human.

Any last remarks?

If you are interested in taking a bet on the undiscovered talent of the world, we’d love to have you involved with Pesto, either by interviewing/hiring some of our graduates or by sharing our story and helping to get the word out.


Thanks for the interview, Andrew! What he described, might as well trigger a change. The great thing is that initiatives like this allow more people reach up to their potential no matter where they are born.

To learn more, head to Pesto site.