Vishal Rao is a Senior Software Engineer at Attivio, creator of the award-winning Active Intelligence Engine™. In a career spanning more than a decade, he has had the distinguished opportunity to build, enhance, and maintain several of the most widely used enterprise software products in the world - like the Oracle Database, BladeLogic Server Automation, docHarbor Online, and the Endeca Navigation Engine. In that process, he has been privileged to have been able to collaborate with some of the most talented and skilled engineers and scientists the industry has to offer.
He has contributed to a diverse array of fields such as databases, multimedia, GIS, SaaS, data center automation, and information retrieval. His work has been applied to the gamut of industry sectors (finance, telecom, pharma, energy, e-commerce, government) to create real business value. If you've lived in the developed world, chances are you have used his software, at least indirectly.
Although he can pick up new skills and languages quickly, he has the most experience working with Java, C++ and related toolsets and APIs. He has the most experience working as a backend engineer, but also has experience desigining and implementing UIs of various types (web front ends and native client apps).
He holds a B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon's #1 ranked School of Computer Science, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, with University Honors and a perfect 4.0 GPA in 3 years, as part of the class of 2000.
I am currently a Software Engineer living and working in the Greater Boston area in the United States of America. I was born in India in the late 1970's and immigrated to the United States as a small child. I grew up in a lower middle class Indian-American family in suburban New York, where I learned the value of hard work and sacrifice.
I was raised in a bilingual household where English was my second language. I learned most of my English from watching people speak it in television shows like Lee Majors in The Fall Guy, Mister Rogers or in news reports like Peter Jennings in World News Tonight. In addition to watching a lot of T.V., growing up, I remember being curious about many things and particularly fascinated by tires on cars, dinosaurs (Stegosaurus was my favorite), and robots (Transformers was my favorite cartoon, by far).
I received a fantastic New York State public school education from kindergarten through high school where I was fortunate to have many teachers that sincerely cared about my professional and personal success. I excelled at anything math or science related and was also part of the usual nerdy clubs and competitions (Math Team, Chess Club, Science Olympiad, Academic League, etc.). I was also surprised that I was really good at learning Spanish and I ended up being one of the best Spanish students in my school, routinely outperforming even native speakers on exams (although, I'm really rusty now, from years of not speaking it).
I learned early in high school that I wanted to pursue software development as a career and I knew before I even applied to colleges what I wanted to major in - Computer Science. I attended Carnegie Mellon University and because of self applied financial pressure to keep my student debt load manageable, I worked toward graduating a year early. In hindsight, I might have done things differently and spent more time taking classes and doing research.
After graduation, I moved to New England to take a job with Oracle Corporation in their New England Development Center. I've been working as a software engineer and living in New England ever since, at companies of various sizes with likewise varying degrees of financial success.
I have had a life-long love of learning, especially science and philosophy. I truly believe I am a scientist at my core, frequently entertaining unsung hypotheses and leaving no stone unturned. I like to think of myself as extremely open minded and make an effort to, at the very least, entertain alternative viewpoints when evaluating an issue or problem. I am most proud of - and consider myself most fortunate for - my ability to think for myself.