INSIDE OUTSHIFT

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Published on 07/03/2024
Last updated on 07/17/2024

Advancing technology forward through research in distributed systems with Akshay Jajoo

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Meet Akshay Jajoo

Job title

Researcher

Location

San Jose, California

Joined Cisco

August 2023

Akshay Jajoo’s passion for research was ignited during his undergraduate studies. Ever since, it’s driven him to a career contributing to real-world, impactful technological advancements with the intention to make the world a better place.

After completing his Ph.D., Jajoo chose a career path in industry research. He’s been drawn to organizations that promote research on cutting edge technology, provide flexibility and autonomy to researchers, foster a collaborative culture, and offer young researchers proper mentorship. 

Before joining Outshift by Cisco, Jajoo spent nearly two years at Bell Labs. There, he served on two distinct teams. His first team was dedicated to telecommunications. His expertise and enterprising mindset soon led him to be handpicked as an initial member for a new team focused on blockchains and decentralized systems. There, he played a pivotal role in team formation and defining projects.

Now on the Cisco Research team at Outshift, Jajoo is making strides in the field of distributed systems and data processing. Fueled by a desire to create an equal world and steered by his technical abilities, his career path displays the transformative power of research and innovation.

Describe your role at Outshift. 

I am a researcher on the Cisco Research team, and my general research interest is in distributed systems. Our work involves developing a research project of our own and collaborating with academic researchers on that topic and other topics of general interest to the team. Some of the outcomes from our work are tech prototypes, research papers, and patents.

Currently, I am primarily focusing on observability for distributed platforms. I am also involved in other projects with my colleagues.

What drew you to the Outshift team?

When I found out about this job with Cisco Research at Outshift and the unique model they work with, I found it very attractive and thought it could be a good role for me to grow in my career. This role gives me an opportunity to work on emerging technologies, and with some of the best people in the research community.

I knew about my team lead, Ramana Kompella, prior to joining the Cisco Research team, and had a very good impression of the people here. So, when there was a job opening, I interviewed for it. 

What’s your favorite part of working at Outshift?

I think we get cooler swag compared to other organizations at Cisco! 😊 But, what I realized soon after joining is that not only are the people here exceptionally good in their technical skills—they all have very strong backgrounds—but they are also good colleagues and humans. In general, it’s very difficult to find this combination with a group of people this big and that’s something I’m excited to have found here. 

I also like the flexible working atmosphere. Having flexibility allows me to focus on my work commitments without impacting my personal life.

I enjoy the nature of our work, too. At Outshift, we are always challenged to work on state-of-the-art technology, and that’s really the most interesting part. It keeps you motivated and constantly thinking of what’s coming next.

What sparked your interest in emerging tech? 

There’s a lot more opportunity to innovate and you’re challenged a lot more in this space. You are doing something that will be very impactful, and you get to be a part of possibly changing the future. It’s very satisfying to know that I’m contributing to making things better.

As a researcher, it is important for me that my work has some impact on people’s lives and that these technologies will be used. Working on cutting-edge technology makes it more likely that what I’m working on will make a change. Whether it’s helping to make people’s lives more secure or improving quality of life, here at Outshift, we are working on cutting-edge technology that is going to make people’s lives better. 

What are some of your most significant career highlights?

What qualifies as a significant highlight depends on how we view it, of course. One thing that stands out to me is the opportunity I had at my previous job to be a part of building a team from scratch and helping the team succeed within a year. We worked on hiring new people, defining our scope, starting projects, and getting some handsome outcomes. I definitely see that as a significant learning experience. 

Another significant highlight is receiving an institute-wide gold medal award during my undergraduate studies at Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). The award acknowledged my success in academics, extracurricular activities, and efforts to make a positive impact on the community.

If you had not embarked on a career in tech, what industry could you see yourself working in?

Either hospitality or social services. Hospitality because I enjoy welcoming people, hosting them, and learning about them.

Social services because it is a passion that has been instilled in me since childhood, and watching my parents give back to our community showed me the importance of helping others. 

While growing up, my mom would go weekly to distribute home-cooked meals to those in need. My dad was involved in several organizations, and during the winter they would arrange fires for people to stay warm and distribute blankets. They would regularly distribute food and books to orphanages. Watching my parents involved in helping the community made me realize its importance and the impact it can have on you and on others. It’s important to give back, and so I’d want to do more of that.

What aspects of your role do you find the most meaningful?

In this role, I get to interact with a lot of faculty members and Ph.D. students compared to other positions I’ve had. One way we can improve research in academia is by providing guidance to the academic industry. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here. Universities do a great job teaching students, but if we add our industry’s visibility and resources, we can help students excel a lot more. My role enables me to add something to the next generation of researchers and technologists. 

How have you grown professionally since being at Outshift?

On this team, I’m growing as a human and in my technological knowledge. Outshift has a very different way of working than other organizations I’ve been a part of—and that is also helping me to grow.

I am learning this end-to-end approach to taking emerging technology, building something useful in the real world, and properly presenting it to the world. All of this is a part of a single organization and being part of it is an enriching experience.

What excites you about the future of tech?

I’m curious about how “intelligent” Artificial Intelligence (AI) will turn out to be. It’s not one of my core fields, but a lot is happening at Outshift with AI, and this is forcing me to dive into the depths of what could be.


This Q+A is part of an ongoing series called, Team Member Spotlight, which highlights individuals at Outshift. 

Search for open positions and join visionaries like Akshay Jajoo who predict and plan for the challenges of the future. 

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