With a dual degree in Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech, Sunit Kulkarni already had an impressive education. But, to enter the tech sector, he recently added another essential layer by joining DigitalCrafts‘ part-time cohort to freshen up his web development skills.
This junior programmer doubles as a startup founder as a lead at music tech startup Mandala Soundworks and is currently building a full-stack web app that focuses on finding healthy food choices near the highway for those on cross-country road trips. Another of Kulkarni’s true passions lies in cybersecurity — he makes time to keep up with the latest in data breaches and he’s actively helping others protect themselves online, helping them implement two-factor authentication and secure email servers.
Learn more about how this Georgia Tech grad stays updated in the latest cybersecurity news and what he’s looking for in his next startup gig.
What projects have you worked on?
I’m currently working on a full-stack web app called Vegetarian Voyagers. Me and my coder-in-crime Cherie Lum are trying to make the good old American pastime of road-tripping a little bit more healthy. This project arose out of an issue I had driving from Atlanta to Philadelphia. The signs that advertised food stops along major highways were mostly fast food joints. This app will help find healthier alternatives that are not to far away from major U.S. highways while making a cross-country trek.
In addition to this project, I actually am working on my own startup. My company is called Mandala Soundworks and we recently got accepted into ATDC. Currently, this startup is making a product that will automatically transcribe the tablature sheet music for guitar players. This company actually arose out of my senior design project from Georgia Tech. I’m super excited for where the future will go.
Why the interest in the technology field?
Ever since I built my first model train, to visiting the National Air and Space Museum in DC and flying over Hartsfield Jackson in a Cessna 172, I knew I was going to make a contribution to society in the technology sector. I still remember being glued to the screen whenever the History Channel program Modern Marvels would come on. The narration of that program always had me dreaming how humanity will further progress here on Earth and soon the rest of the multiverse.
What tools are essential to you as a developer?
There are many tools that are essential for me as a developer. My application of choice is definitely visual studio code. It took me iterating through Atom, Eclipse, Brackets, and Sublime Text to arrive at this conclusion.
As for go to resources for busting out my developer chops, first and foremost, would be DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused search engine, which many times directs me to my other staple, Stack Overflow. I am also a huge fan of Lynda, Udemy, Udacity, and local Atlanta developer meetups.
How do you stay informed and on top of emerging trends?
I have an app on my phone called Cyber Security News by News Fusion. This has been my go-to tech news source. It alerts me to all recent company data breaches, which happen all too often. My recommendation for helping mitigate this risk from a consumer side would be to start using Lastpass for password management, Authy for two-factor authentication, and protonmail for encrypted email communications.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
One of my best skills is getting other people, developers or not, to clean up their digital hygiene. In this day and age where we have catastrophic data breaches of the likes of Equifax and Yahoo, we must take a proactive approach to protecting ourselves online. Just like you would lock your home at night, you should keep vigilant tabs on your online identity.
What’s next on your list to learn?
Next on my list to learn would be contributing to open source projects, especially ones that deal with user privacy and security. One of my favorite places to contribute currently is twofactorauth.org. This resource keeps tabs on which major web services have two-factor authentication on their services.
In addition, I would like to implement OpenPGP for notification emails just like Facebook lets you do in their advanced user settings as well as the Signal Protocol for most messaging services. Signal is what keeps your WhatsApp messages safe from prying eyes.
Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
I am super interested in helping other fellow startups. I’m a young company founder and there is still a lot I have yet to learn on this wild and fun ride. You can catch me at ATDC and Atlanta Tech Village on most weekdays. This era is one of the best times to live as technology brings more and more useful disruption to our lives.