‹ Back to News Page

Make Your Move: Aravind Thimmapuram

January 23, 2023

At Ascend, we strive to provide opportunities for employees to stretch their skills and advance their careers by moving among business segments, brands and teams — driving personal and team growth while creating a culture where people love what they do, take ownership and are empowered to pursue new career opportunities within the company so we “hire our own talent.”

Aravind Thimmapuram served as the lead software engineer on the learning management systems (LMS) platform team for five years in our Tech & Ops segment before making his move to software engineering manager on the same team in August 2022. Aravind sought guidance from his manager as he considered his move and continues to network with other leaders across Ascend as he settles into his new role.

Ascend Communications (AC): How did your former role help prepare you to make your move into a management role? 

Aravind Thimmapuram (AT): I’ve been working with this team for more than five years. We work together to build each other up and make sure we’re all on the same page by asking for feedback, offering help where we can and making sure everyone feels like their voice is heard. This makes for an atmosphere where people are constantly growing, learning, and challenging themselves.

From writing code and scoping complex tasks to coordinating teams to solve them, I’ve always liked having a broader, long-term strategic perspective in addition to focusing on day-to-day activities. I’ve learned a lot from these experiences including processes, teams and projects, and believe they gave me a unique opportunity to learn what it takes to become a manager.

AC: What was the process like making your move? 

AT: I’ve regularly discussed my career progression goals in 1:1 meetings with my manager. He always guided me and offered suggestions on areas for improvement and helped me understand the impact of my decisions so that I could learn from them. Using his feedback to improve myself, I’ve been able to gain more responsibility and more opportunities to lead independently over time.

I heard about this open position through an organizational announcement email and once the open position was posted on the career website, I notified my manager of my intention to apply. Once it got approved, I applied online and went through three rounds of interviews after which I was offered the position.

AC: How has your day-to-day changed in a management role?

AT: I’m learning how to balance people management, project management and technical knowledge to deliver the right product, the right way while supervising a team of software engineers and platform analysts. It’s quite like product development — you need to know the specs well (duties), build a roadmap (planning and scheduling), negotiate and allocate resources (people, budget), make sure the result (tracked performance) meets the specific client’s needs (company’s business goals), and debug and update (unblock and support engineers).

Each one of us has a mindset of being able to overcome any challenge. We believe in being transparent about our goals and strategies so that everyone has a clear understanding of what we’re trying to achieve, how we’re going to get there, and why it’s important. Ascend’s culture is very dynamic with a “growth mindset.”

AC: Are there any resources or people that have helped you transition into management?

AT: There is a leadership community where leaders from multiple Ascend brands meet monthly to share and learn from each other. I’m also reading a lot of management books to help me transition into management and highly recommend “The Making of a Manager” by Julie Zhuo. These community discussions and books are helping me understand and transition into this new role with ease.

AC: How have our values shaped or influenced this process for you?

AT: Our values have been a part of this process from the very beginning. They have shaped my experience with the team because they’re present in how we treat each other and how we approach our work. We value transparency and we do our best to be as transparent as possible. We also believe that communication is key — it’s how we keep each other informed about what’s happening so we can work together towards our common goal.

AC: What does it mean to you that our work helps change lives?

AT: “We change lives” is not just some corporate buzzword or mission statement — it’s something we live by every day at Ascend. When I see how much our work changes lives for the better, it inspires me to do even better work.


When team members move to new roles across Ascend, they grow their skills and stretch their capabilities within a company they already know, maintain their benefits and connections with colleagues, and teams gain an employee already invested in the work, mission and culture — one that can ramp up quickly and bring legacy knowledge to their new role. To learn more about career opportunities at Ascend, visit our Careers page.