Tulsi Pargain remembers tinkering with computers as a curious student. Today, she is the staff software engineer at Intuit who runs the platform that powers data-driven information for Mint aD QuickBooks.
Tulsi Pargain first discovered what a computer could do when a school friend had one in her house. As her friend and brothers showed her the different programs you could create and run on a computer, Tulsi was in awe. It wasn’t long before she asked her father to get one too. Needless to say, she was immediately addicted to the idea that automation could replace human intervention.
From curious student to leading the data-driven platform to power information in Mint and QuickBooks, Tulsi from Intuit India has come a long way. What made the trip easier was his attitude of never saying no to learning.
Born in Uttarakhand, Tulsi spent her childhood commuting between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh as her family followed her father who was a government employee. A straight student, Tulsi’s love for subjects like math and computer science laid the foundation for a future technician. She then went on to study computer engineering at Kumaon Engineering College, Almora, in 2005.
Channel your inner technician
Entering college exposed Tulsi to new opportunities and ideas. Describing her experience as a whirlwind of interesting projects, hackathons and competitions, she feels that these challenges have sharpened her skills and boosted her self-confidence.
One of the projects she worked on at university included a travel management system, which could be used to book domestic train and plane tickets online. âI built the portal using PHP as my web server. The platform may not seem like huge, considering how easy API integration has become today. However, it was a big challenge for me at the time, âshe adds.
Tulsi landed a job at Infosys right after college as a systems engineer in Pune, which allowed him to actively contribute to a product. âI was just coding or testing my code. I was able to interact with multiple stakeholders and incorporate their feedback to create a better solution.
However, Tulsi was looking to play a bigger role in the design and execution phase rather than just being involved in the coding. She started looking for opportunities and moved to Infinera in 2012, where she continued to build impactful solutions, including helping customers migrate from legacy systems and use microservices.
Meeting with the startup ecosystem
A lifelong learner, Tulsi was looking again for new learning opportunities when she interviewed at Snapdeal and the experience couldn’t be more different! Late nights, busy schedules and an office where everyone knew each other, surprises kept coming.
Snapdeal, then a fledgling startup, had just moved into its new office with its 50-member team. âIt was a culture I had never seen before, where people learned new skills and provided solutions very quickly. I was fortunate enough to work with open source technologies like Apache Cassandra and Apache Kafka, which only improved my learning curve, âshe recalls.
One of the exciting opportunities she had was the ability to design and build Snapdeal’s API Gateway, which involved building a solution to filter API traffic through authentication and authorization, throttling throughput, among other capabilities.
Demonstration day of the first project at Mint
A few months later, in 2016, Tulsi had the chance to work at Intuit India. She had heard a lot about the company from her friends and on forums like LinkedIn, and the company turned out to be worth it. âThe first project I worked on was very exciting. While I had worked with AWS cloud services in the past, I was able to explore its true potential at Intuit as we moved from a hosted platform by Intuit to a platform powered by AWS, âTulsi says.
The project raised many challenges such as security concerns, open APIs, and unencrypted data, but her experience working with API authorization and authentication at Snapdeal has proven to be useful. âPlus the team were very helpful in covering all the bases and helping you out in case you got stuck,â she adds.
Building for the masses
Tulsi then designed and built a target management system with a mission led by a team of three people who helped research the most lucrative credit card loan deals available to Mint users. âThe platform allows Mint partners to understand the best target audience for credit cards and loans based on predetermined criteria and history of credit score, age, transactions, etc. The solution helps Mint users choose credit cards and refinance loans with the lowest interest rates. Â»Explains Tulsi.
Icecream party after the customer obsession workshop
Currently, she leads the team that generates insights based on the data that powers Mint and QuickBooks.
Over the years, Tulsi has learned several lessons. “One of the main lessons has been to never compromise on ease of operation and security when building something. Plus, your solution needs to be scalable and highly available.”
As the mother of a toddler, Tulsi spends her time finding a balance between her personal and professional life and sometimes even taking on new challenges. And his advice to young techies: keep learning something new. âThis age and this phase of your life is full of energy and passion and can make your learning curve exponential,â she adds.
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