Houzzer Profile: Karthik Roop Kumar, Engineering
As a software engineer, Karthik is focused on building the visual and interactive experience you see on our website. Outside of work, he is an outdoor adventurer, enjoying everything from skiing and snowboarding, to hiking, running and cycling.
Why did you decide to become a software engineer?
Growing up in Bangalore, which many consider to be the Silicon Valley of India, it was motivating to see others achieving great success in the field of computer science. I was inspired to follow a similar path and really honed my skills in computer science while studying for my masters degree. My love for front-end engineering developed through courses in the field of human-computer interaction.
What brought you to Houzz?
Houzz is a very visual site by nature and holds the mantel for web design. I realized that the wide range of problems that Houzz is solving for its community presented opportunities for me to be creative and make an impact on a large scale, so I wanted to join the team.
How did your previous experience prepare you for working here?
My graduate studies and previous work experience equipped me with the skill set to learn quickly while managing multiple challenges at once. At Houzz, I have had the opportunity to work on web infrastructure, which has been a new experience, so I’m learning and contributing at the same time.
What project are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of launching the front-end stack of the Node.js framework, that enables us to build a faster, and richer, app-like user experience. As a team, we rebuilt the entire web infrastructure from scratch and migrated one of the largest pages on Houzz. The most challenging part of the project was replicating the many years of development effort and quality without affecting any of the user engagement that the existing page was driving. It was a major cross-functional collaboration involving an array of teams both locally and internationally.
Do you have any productivity hacks that you use when you’re faced with a challenge?
They say necessity is the mother of all inventions. When I’m struggling to find a specific solution, I put myself in a scenario where I have limited resources, which forces me to think outside of the box.
When do you write your best code?
I’m a night person and write my best code after 4pm.
What do you like most about working at Houzz?
We really are true to our core values. We are a family, we build the future and we make things happen. Because of the flat structure of our organization, everyone is treated equally and given a lot of responsibility. I feel empowered in my role and am surrounded by smart, yet approachable and supportive teammates who will go the extra mile to get things done.
This type of culture stems directly from our leadership. One evening, the engineering team was working late on a major migration and our cofounder not only ordered pizzas, he plated them to make sure everyone got enough food. I haven’t met another founder who is as humble and motivating.