As a technical account manager at AppDynamics, Vijay Shankar Venkatachalam provides technical support for customers. He helps customers utilize AppDynamics’ technology to meet their business needs. AppDynamics is an application intelligence company for software-defined businesses and helps customers monitor, manage, and optimize complex software environments — from desktop to mobile — all in real-time, and all in production for large-scale companies like Expedia, OpenTable, Sephora, and Union Pacific Railroad.

(Photo Courtesy of Vijay Shankar Venkatachalam)

(Photo Courtesy of Vijay Shankar Venkatachalam)

Why did you pursue a master’s degree?

“My undergrad did not allow me to specialize in a field of study and getting my master’s helped me move towards the right career direction in research and development (R&D). Having fundamental knowledge of software engineering and networks was helpful, but I found it was not enough to adapt to the dynamics of the software market, so I decided to specialize in these two areas in my master’s. Working my way through plenty of interactive classroom sessions, intensive research projects, and presentations combined with working as a part-time research assistant in the Pervasive and Invisible Computing lab (PICO) at University of Texas at Arlington gave me the foothold to get into an intern role in the R&D division of a globally recognized telecom vendor.”

What would you tell someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master’s degree?

“The technology market is very competitive and every employer looks for the one thing to set you apart. Having a master’s will help you to advance your career in the right direction by enhancing your skills and employability.”

What was the biggest challenge you faced when pursuing your master’s degree?

“The biggest challenge I faced was managing my time between very intensive course work and my internship program. Being enrolled in school full-time on top of being employed part-time meant I had to constantly shuffle my time to manage deliverables coming from both ends. This proved to be extremely difficult as I went through lot of sleepless nights, especially when final exams overlapped with product releases at work.”

What was the biggest reward for earning the master’s degree?

“My master’s degree helped me learn particular technologies much faster and gave me a clearer perspective of where I wanted to take my career. Learning technologies from the ground up helped me specialize in areas, such as Java, web and server-side platforms. Apart from building strong technical knowledge, my master’s taught me how to be a critical thinker and a problem solver, which makes me a successful Technical Account Manager.”

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at