Spotlight on Rajesh Rajamani, MS ’02

Rajesh Rajamani “got hooked” on computer programming in high school and never looked back. In addition to the foundation for his career in cybersecurity, Rajamani credits UW-Madison with ballroom dancing bragging rights after he earned an A in the course – the perfect example of a well-rounded computer scientist!

What are you currently doing professionally? I’m the Chief Product Officer at CrowdStrike.

What do you like about it? My job involves solving a lot of interesting problems, and I get to work with a team of high caliber cybersecurity professionals.  

What motivated you to study computer science? I got hooked onto programming in high school and didn’t really consider any alternatives.

Why did you decide to attend UW-Madison? I wanted to major in Computer Architecture, and UW-Madison has one of the best programs and luminaries like Guri Sohi, David Wood, Mark Hill, etc.  As luck would have it, Miron Livny hired me into the Condor team, and I switched to systems.

What was one of the most valuable experiences you had in CS at UW-Madison (a specific class, a project you worked on, etc.) and why? 701 Compiler Construction with Charlie Fischer in my first semester.  It challenged my coding skills, but by the end of the semester, I was a significantly better coder.  

What was your favorite thing about UW-Madison? Summer and ice-creams. 🙂

What are one or two things you did at UW outside of your classes (clubs, study abroad, employment, conferences, internships, etc)? How did these benefit your education, your current career, and/or your life? I learned rollerblading, and I was able to teach both my kids to rollerblade.  I also took a class on ballroom dancing and even got an A!  That helps me brag to my wife and daughter, whenever they see me dancing.

Do you have any advice for current CS students? Do as many challenging project-based courses as possible. It really helps prepare you for the workforce.  

What do you like to do for fun? I swim, walk my dog, and enjoy reading books.