Virginia Tech® home

Jaishankar Sundararaman ('08)

Alumnus Jaishankar Sundararaman

Jaishankar Sundararaman
Director, Software Engineering at Google
Class of ’08

As an engineering director at Google, I am responsible for the backend infrastructure of Gmail and Google Chat. After finishing my undergraduate studies in India, I joined Virginia Tech in 2006 to pursue my master’s degree in computer science. After graduation, I joined Google to work in the field of distributed systems, a field I am deeply passionate to this day. I live in the San Francisco Bay area with my wife and two boys, ages 8 and 5. We are avid travelers and yearning to venture out once we are out of the pandemic.

How did the department equip you for the ‘real world’...

Under the tutelage of Dr. Godmar Back, I was introduced to research in the field of programming languages and file systems. This foundation provided me with strong system skills that came in handy when I joined Google and helped design the Gmail backend. 

Being a Virginia Tech alumnus means...

The Hokie spirit! I am proud to say that every Hokie I have met shared the spirit of trust and friendship. I also remember April 16, 2007, the day we lost many of our fellow Hokies, and took a stand against gun violence.

My fondest memory of my time in the department is...

I still remember the long nights I spent at the Corporate Research Center working on my master’s thesis with my fellow research mates, which is one of the best times of my life. 

Being the ‘Outstanding Masters Student’ awardee was important to me because…

It helped me strengthen my conviction that hard work and perseverance pays off. I am thankful to the department for placing the trust in me and giving opportunities to assist with teaching and research. This experience helped me grow both personally and professionally.

The work project/initiative that I’m most excited about is...

Remote learning. Covid-19 has opened up doors to a new and exciting way of learning. Personally, I have enrolled myself in two new courses that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. That said, we need to build better tools to mimic the classroom setting and the advantages of learning together as a group. Once we get there, the possibilities are endless!