Aarish Gokaldas, SSP'07
Chief Growth Officer, Applied Information Sciences (AIS)
Aarish joined SSP in 2005 while employed at the Department of Defense and was able to continue working full-time as an Intelligence Officer while taking his classes. Few programs he considered offered that ability to continue with a career and receive a world-class education from scholars and practitioners. “No matter how tired I was at the end of the work day,” he says, “I was always re-energized when I set foot on campus.”
Looking back, Aarish feels lucky to have taken courses by many stellar career civil servants such as Kevin O’Connell and John Gannon, as well as thought leaders in their respective fields like Dan Byman and Sunil Dasgupta. While SSP didn’t offer the Technology and Security concentration in 2005, Aarish was able to take a class on emerging technology and security with Dr. Richard Van Atta, which shifted his career trajectory. At the time, Aarish was certain that he was headed towards a career in the Foreign Service. However, “SSP helped broaden my horizon, and provided me with insights into some of the non-traditional elements of security.”
Recently, Aarish started a new position as Chief Growth Officer at Applied Information Sciences (AIS), a leader in Microsoft cloud adoption, application modernization, and data intelligence.
“There has been a growing nexus between cloud computing and government national security,” Aarish says. “Since the pandemic, the government—specifically the cleared community—is seeing a need for a significant shift in how they conduct business. COVID-19 has driven home the need not only for alternate sites, but also the need to work in a virtual environment. Industry has to match that need with the availability of virtual data centers, collaboration tools, and application availability that matches what analysts are used to having at their desks onsite. There is still a drive to improve workflows and increase automation via cloud-based data intelligence and machine learning, but the main imperative is to minimize impact to mission-critical operations as they transition to a virtual model.”
Aarish sees many opportunities for current SSP students and alumni, who he believes are well-suited to the growing cloud and technology services sector.
“AIS is growing rapidly both within the commercial and federal markets, and we have a need for technical and programmatic talent. On the technical side, we are always hiring data architects, data engineers, and cloud solutions architects. On the programmatic side, as our business grows, so too grows the need for strong Project and Engagement Managers who are skilled in managing both the project (deliverables, cost, staffing) and the client (ensuring we evolve as their needs change, looking forward to what’s on the horizon, etc.).”
Aarish adds, “SSP provided me with a strong foundation on taking a holistic view of the world, and that has served me well in all my positions. It’s also a strength I look for in candidates on the AIS program management track.”
For any SSP graduates or current students considering cloud computing and the orderly management of an enterprise transformation, this field is growing across both the commercial and federal sectors. One of the reasons the field and AIS appealed to Aarish was because of the concept of “professional autonomy, and I believe that this will appeal to the SSP cadre.” Aarish adds, “SSP instilled in me a lifelong love of learning. And that’s a core value at AIS. We encourage our employees to continually grow their knowledge base, and more importantly, share their wisdom with their fellow employees.”
If you’re interested in connecting with Aarish about the cloud and technology services sector, please reach out to Robert Pinn, Robert.Pinn@Georgetown.edu who can facilitate an email introduction.