We recently spoke with Pratik about his current role as a Software Engineer at URBAN FT, a well-known leader in the financial technology (FinTech) space, and about key trends reshaping the technology space and more.
Q: Why are you passionate about software engineering and how did GST faculty help you attain an internship that turned into a full-time role?
A: To understand the present, we first have to look to the past. With that being said, my first interaction with software was in the fifth grade when I learned about logo programming. The idea of creating two dimensional patterns by writing simple commands captivated my attention and fueled my curiosity and passion for both computers and software. Since that time many years ago, I have chosen to take a path to learn as much as possible about the ins and outs of software programming and how it helps to solve day to day challenges.
While at GST, I had an opportunity to work closely with the Director of Marketing and Recruitment at GST. While speaking with him, I found out about his friend’s company called URBANFT and he encouraged me to apply for an internship there. I was then able to meet Mark Kilpatrick, Co-Founder of the company, in an interview. The next thing I knew, I was hired as a Software Engineering Intern and have done so well that this job recently transitioned into a full-time role.
Q: What are your responsibilities as a Software Engineer at URBANFT and what skills do you leverage regularly that you learned at Touro?
A: At URBAN FT, I work on one of their innovative platforms which hosts mobile apps and websites for banks and credit unions. Some of my daily tasks involve working with different teams to fix bugs, adding new features to applications, and researching innovative technologies, which can enable the platform to become faster and more secure. I also interact with our clients daily to understand the scope of their needs and requirements.
During my time at GST, I learned all about database design and security, project management, and advanced Web development, all of which are helping me to succeed in my role immensely.
Q: What are some of the biggest tech trends everyone should know about?
A: In the FinTech space, one of the biggest trends right now is that more people are accessing banking services via apps than ever before. Almost every banking service is accessible through a smartphone such as applying for a new bank account, analyzing your account balances, paying bills, remote check deposit, and more. At URBANFT, I see this trend rapidly increasing daily as we are continuously working to provide these vital services to smaller banks and credit unions so they can remain competitive in the market.
Further, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are growing trends that continue to expand in the world of technology. Most people are already familiar with voice assistants like Siri, which rely on AI to give each user a personized experience. Another popular trend is autonomous cars like Tesla that continue to gain traction. Machine learning and AI are able to offer a smooth and safe driving experience for users. Some of the other tech trends worth mentioning are blockchain, a growing list of records called blocks that are linked using cryptography, cybersecurity, and quantum computing. For someone who considers himself to be a technology enthusiast, it is truly a great time to be a part of this field!
Q: Why do you consider choosing GST to be "one of the best decisions of your life"?
A: GST was recommended to me by one of my friends back in India and I didn't know what to expect as I hadn't heard a lot about the school before applying. After applying, I immediately felt welcomed by the faculty and any doubts about the program and the mandatory travel visa requirements were quickly addressed. After enrolling, I loved the various courses that were available to choose from, all of which do not exist in India. Additionally, Touro was much more cost-effective when compared to other universities I considered.