Voices of Nium with Madhukar Mulpuri, Senior Staff Software Engineer

9 Minute read
2 months ago

Madhukar Mulpuri is Nium’s Senior Staff Software Engineer and has a two-decade strong track record of delivering innovative payment products, niche software frameworks and customer-focused platforms with impressive international reach. Madhukar accumulated his extensive knowledge with global tech giants such as Meta, Apple and Yahoo. Today, he leads initiatives such as AML systems, batch processing, payouts and experimentation/passive integration.  

Madhukar’s passion for engineering began in the garden with his early childhood fascination of trying to decipher how various fruit blossomed from seedling to delicious delight. In this “Voices of Nium” feature, Madhukar tells us the story of how his green fingers evolved into building a billing system for a workshop, and then years later positioned him in the global driving seat for software engineering teams. Proudly, he spearheaded the transformation of Apple Maps' data analytics and experimentation platform, introducing innovative technologies, like Druid, to enable real-time data analysis and experimentation capabilities. 

  1. In your younger years, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? Did you always gravitate towards the technology sector?  

When I was younger, I always had a fascination with exploring how things worked and enjoyed delving into various interests, such as examining how fruit ripened in our garden. This curiosity naturally led me towards a career in the technology sector, where I could continue to explore and understand complex systems by "opening up" and diving into them. The desire to understand and tinker with the inner workings of things ultimately influenced my career path towards technology. 

  1. What was your first ever job? What’s the biggest learning you took away from this role? 

My first job was collaborating with a friend to build a billing system for a workshop. In this role, I was responsible for designing and developing the entire system, while my friend handled gathering requirements and acquiring the necessary printer and accessories for bills and receipts. This early exposure to software development and teamwork laid a solid foundation for my career, emphasizing the value of collaboration, clear communication, and user-centric design in delivering successful projects. 

  1. What has been your proudest moment in your career to date? 

My proudest moment in my career was leading the transformation of Apple Maps' data analytics and experimentation platform, introducing innovative technologies like Druid to enable real-time data analysis and experimentation capabilities. This initiative was pivotal in revolutionizing how we processed, analyzed, and utilized vast amounts of data to enhance user experience and product performance. I spearheaded the adoption of Druid, leveraging its multi-dimensional analysis capabilities and distributed architecture to empower teams across Siri, Safari, and Spotlight with real-time insights. I led talented engineers, overseeing the end-to-end process of data processing, indexing, ranking, evaluation, and rendering of search results. One of the most rewarding aspects of this project was reducing experiment rollout time from weeks to real-time, which significantly increased our experimentation capacity and allowed us to launch features faster and more efficiently. Through multi-layered experimentation strategies, we optimized traffic allocation, enabling the simultaneous running of up to 30% more experiments. 

  1. What does a day in the life of Nium’s Senior Staff Software Engineer look like? 

A day in my life is dynamic and multifaceted. We thrive on solving large, ambiguous problems, leading multiple team-wide initiatives that contribute to key aspects of product lines like Payouts. From inception to launch, we demonstrate strategic impact by proactively anticipating scaling bottlenecks, simplifying solutions, and delivering a multi-quarter feature roadmap aligned with product objectives. Through communication and collaboration skills, we coordinate efforts across multiple teams, ensuring tight alignment with product goals, high-quality releases, and a strong engineering culture. Additionally, we actively contribute to the broader engineering community, championing Nium's values and driving continuous improvement in hiring processes and diversity initiatives. 

  1. Which technical skills do Nium’ers in the Software Engineering team require? 

Nium's Software Engineering team requires proficiency in a wide range of technical skills tailored to each role's scope and impact. This includes expertise in AWS tech stack, Java programming, and understanding of security, privacy, and regulatory compliance in the context of payment regulations. Engineers must also excel in communication and collaboration, be adaptable to varying levels of guidance, and demonstrate a commitment to adhering to coding standards and company values while delivering high-quality features aligned with product objectives. 

  1. Can you share the essential stages of Nium’s software development process? 

Yes, I would say the critical steps are: 

  1. Gathering Requirements: Collaborate with stakeholders to understand project objectives, functionalities, and user needs. 

  1. Working with UI Design Team: Engage with the UI/UX design team to create intuitive and user-friendly interfaces aligned with requirements. 

  1. Bringing Onboard Compliance, Regulatory, and Legal Team: Coordinate with compliance, regulatory, and legal experts to ensure adherence to industry standards, regulations, and legal requirements. 

  1. Detailed Design Phase: Develop a comprehensive design document integrating gathered requirements, UI/UX designs, and compliance considerations. 

  1. Review with Other Stakeholders: Conduct thorough reviews with stakeholders such as security, DevOps, and infrastructure teams to assess feasibility, security aspects, and operational considerations. 

  1. Effort Sizing and Team Assignment: Estimate project effort and resources required, and assign tasks to development teams based on expertise and availability. 

  1. Determining Timelines: Establish project timelines considering resource allocation, dependencies, and delivery milestones. 

  1. Launch Checklist Preparation: Develop a detailed launch checklist encompassing testing, deployment, compliance checks, and final preparations. 

  1. Launch: Execute the launch plan, monitor progress against the checklist, and address any last-minute issues or concerns.  

  1. How does Nium stand out from other employers, in your opinion?  

I would highlight: 

  • Innovative Culture: Nium fosters a culture of innovation, encouraging employees to think creatively and push boundaries in their respective fields. We are at the forefront of financial technology, constantly seeking new ways to revolutionize global payments and money transfers. 

  • Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: we prioritize diversity and inclusion, striving to create a workplace where all employees feel valued and respected. We actively promote diversity initiatives and provide opportunities for employees from diverse backgrounds to thrive and grow.  

  • Impactful Work: Nium’ers can work on projects that have a real-world impact, shaping the future of global payments and financial services. Our innovative solutions are making a difference in the lives of individuals and businesses around the world.  

  • Career Development: we invest in the professional growth and development of our people, offering opportunities for learning and advancement. Whether through mentorship programs, training workshops, or career pathing initiatives, we do our best to support employees in reaching their full potential. 

  • Dynamic Environment: we offer a dynamic and fast-paced work environment, where Nium’ers are empowered to take ownership of their projects and make meaningful contributions. We value collaboration and teamwork, fostering a supportive atmosphere where our Nium’ers can thrive. 

  1. What are your hobbies outside of work? 

Outside of work, I like to keep active and enjoy nature through a few hobbies. I've been playing badminton once or twice a week consistently. While I haven't hiked or played volleyball recently, I'm hoping to get back into both soon. With summer starting, I'm excited to set up my garden for planting vegetables and tending to plants. These hobbies are a great way for me to unwind and stay connected with the outdoors. 

  1. You’re based at Nium’s HQ in San Francisco. What’s the best thing about the city? 

One of the best things about San Francisco, in my opinion, is its unique and pleasant weather. The city enjoys a moderate climate year-round, characterized by mild temperatures and relatively low humidity. 

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