Get to know the humans of Clearpath, what they do and why they chose a career at Clearpath!
Meet Nikesh, a Software Developer on our OS (Operating Systems) team. The OS team develops code to make sure our robots and our OTTO Fleet Manager (the software that connects a factory’s material flow with the factory’s production line) are all talking to each other! Yikes, we couldn’t do this without Nikesh and team!
Q: How did you get into Software development?
A: Since I was a kid, I was always interested in how things worked. I would take apart electronics, figure out what each part did and then try to put it all back together again. Technology, in general, has always fascinated me. Growing up, I was really good at math, so when when it was time to choose a career path, working in the technology field and focusing on software just seemed like the perfect fit for me.
Q: What drew you to Clearpath?
A: Two things really drew me to Clearpath. First, the robots – Clearpath is THE company in the region that was working on cutting edge technology! I wanted to be a part of that. Second, Clearpath is a small and rapidly evolving company, I felt that my contributions would make a real difference here.
Q: What does your team do?
A: I am part of the Operating Systems (OS) team. As a member of this team, I have worked on various parts of the system ranging from the RESTful API on the fleet manager to firmware on the robot.
We are responsible for the communications layer – ensuring the robot and the fleet manager can talk to each other. We make sure that the variety of directives and situations that a robot encounters are cleanly boiled down to a discrete set of states that can be used to understand a robot’s status. We develop firmware to interact with custom and 3rd party hardware components such as the motor controller, lidars, BMU (Battery Management Unit), etc. We ensure that we properly log our system, and communicate usable diagnostics when issues arise. We provide the robot interface that the fleet manager uses to interact with a robot. These are just some of the many things that the OS team is responsible for.
Q: What does a typical day as a Software Developer look like at Clearpath?
A: Our team has a stand-up in the mornings (every other day), where we discuss what each team member is working on, and the critical issues that need immediate attention. Depending on the type of sprint the team is on, I will either work on architecture designs, where I get to brainstorm ideas for a new feature and document them, or I will work on implementing a final architecture design, or work on any open issues, or technical debt.
Q: What’s the most satisfying part of your role? What’s the most challenging?
A: The most satisfying part of my role is seeing my work in action. When you spend a lot of time and effort making an update, or fixing a code, to be able to update that change and head out to the test floor and see it in action is an amazing feeling!
The most challenging part of my role is coming up with architectural ideas for features that are elegant and satisfy all the requirements from our product team. Typically there are many ways to solve a problem and you can easily make a solution more complicated than necessary.
Q: What do you look forward to when coming to work in the morning?
A: I look forward to coming into a work environment that is encouraging and allows its team members to be innovative. I am encouraged to think outside of the box and look for ways of doing things differently. I feel that the work environment really stems from our leadership team, who are open-minded and have a collaborative mentality.
Q: What are the must-have skills or knowledge for this role?
A: To be a Software Developer on the OS team at Clearpath, you should have an ability to write code in Python and C++, good software principles, an ability to come up with innovative ideas and a collaborative personality.
Q: What differentiates Clearpath from other companies?
A: Clearpath is a company that hires really smart people. There is a youthful spirit amongst everyone here which leads to people asking questions and making changes rather than being comfortable and maintaining the status quo.
Q: What advice do you have for someone interested in applying to Clearpath?
A: If you have personal projects that you have worked on, don’t be afraid to show them off. Get comfortable with ROS (Robot Operating System).
(Psst – if you are looking to get started, check out our ROS tutorials here: http://www.clearpathrobotics.com/assets/guides/ros/)
Q: Who is your favorite robot? And why?
A: Bender from Futurama, he is the funniest robot.
If you are interested in designing and running software on robots then take a look at our careers page to view our current opportunities!