Chandima Jayawickrema – Senior Consultant at Virtusa
I studied at Ananda College and followed Commerce as my main stream for the advanced level. However, I did not enjoy commerce subjects but it was too late when I realized that I have chosen a wrong field for my future. Right after the A/L examination in 2007, like the majority of commerce students do, I also enrolled with CIMA, and it was yet another non-optional mistake of my life as a person who “hates” studying. After few months, I heard from a friend about the enrollment for the new Bachelor of Science in IT batch of SLIIT. For the first time in my life, I felt an enthusiasm towards the education. It was also a flash back that reminded me how much I loved computers and such devices, but unlike a typical teenager I had no interest towards games but to tryout software products such as Maya, 3D Studio Max, Fruity Loops, Reason, Adobe products and etc. I was a quick learner in software product use but never crossed the mind to make a career out of it. Therefore with a lot of hope I joined SLIIT in year 2008, leaving a full stop to my studies in commerce.
SLIIT was a brand new life for me, and the subjects were really interesting and challenging. Initially I was worried because the majority of the students were from the Mathematics stream but it did not take so long to realize that it does not matter. My passion towards the technology and the enthusiasm to regularly practice what I learned, led me to very good results in the exams. Programming algorithms, networking, deep studies on computers, lab sessions were irresistible. I completed the first year of my degree with a GPA of 3.8 impressing both parents and myself. Since my ambition was to become a Software Engineer, I spent more time to learn programming and even completed Sun Certified Java Programmer certification over the vacation. During the second year, we were informed by SLIIT about a scholarship program conducted by Virtusa, one of the leading software companies in Sri Lanka. Students having a GPA above 3.5 were eligible to apply but only 19 were selected, and I was lucky to be included.
After a few months of training, Virtusa allocated our batch for actual project work and life became more challenging with the new responsibilities. It was a fabulous opportunity for an undergraduate like me, to be a trainee software engineer and apply the knowledge as I learn it. Being in the industry made it easier to learn new subjects and it helped me to score the perfect GPA, 4.0 and even to earn a scholarship from SLIIT. Beginning of the final year in 2010, I was selected into the Global Technology Office (GTO), a sub division of the Research and Development account at Virtusa. It was an exceptionally synergetic team and its leadership had always been very supportive towards both my education and career. I was given greater responsibilities while in GTO but as a price life became restless with the final year project with missing members, assignments and exams. 2 to 3 hours sleeps for several months became painful with long hours at work and everlasting exam stress. I realized that it was the climax of my education and with my family’s support I was able to withstand. I performed very well in both work and studies. Finally after a tremendous effort, I was awarded with a first class degree from SLIIT and a promotion from Virtusa as an Engineer along with a scholarship. There was nothing I needed more.
It was only 3 years back when I made my greatest decision to switch my field of study and it has now proven correct. Today, I have become a Senior Consultant at a fast growing international company at my age of 28 being forever grateful to my family and SLIIT for leading me there.
Jaliya Udagedara (MVP/ Technical Lead)
I am originally from Kandy, and I went to Kingswood College. I did my Advanced Level examination in the year 2005 in Mathematics stream. The results weren’t that good, I would rather say not good at all. Attempted again in the year 2006 and ended up getting same results.
Then in the end of year 2006, I saw an advertisement from SLIIT calling applications for B.Sc. (IT) general degree. At that time, I knew SLIIT only as an institute where the students who couldn’t enter Government universities can continue their higher studies. We were a middle-class family and yet ignoring our financial difficulties my parents encouraged me to apply to SLIIT. So, I went ahead and applied, faced the entry level exam, and got through. It’s the first exam I have managed to pass after some terrible years.
That’s how I joined SLIIT. It was a total brand new experience when compared to schooling days. Got the opportunity to meet students almost from all over the country. Every day we had lectures and Lecturers were friendly and helpful. We learned new things daily, so we were never bored. I can’t say I attended every lecture, but I have never repeated a single subject.
The time I entered into SLIIT, I had no idea what Programming was. At first I hated programming, but as time passes by I started liking programming. At our 3rd year, we had a yearlong research project and that’s when I actually learnt the beauty of programming. I finished my degree successfully and just about after a week from my final day at SLIIT, I got the opportunity to join as an Intern in one of the leading Software Development companies in Sri Lanka.
Right now, I am working as a Technical Lead for an Australian Software Company and I am also one of the Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professionals. That is an award given by Microsoft to technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community.
If I didn’t join SLIIT, I am not sure what I would be doing now. Today, I enjoy what I do, which I think is one of the most important things that a person can gain in his/her life. I started this path from very scratch at SLIIT, knowing nothing about what I do now. I strongly believe SLIIT and my lectures helped me to be who I am now and I am forever grateful to them.
“Don’t fear diversity, embrace it” – The hidden truth of my journey – Sasanga Gunathilaka
As, a young lad with a passion for various aspects of Art, I have been seeking my path to blend with achieve my goals and objectives where my passion is driving me for. During the bachelor degree program, I have been fortunate to explore so many dimensions of the various modem day multimedia platforms and rich media. We have given the opportunity to sharp or creativity and be individuals those who can produce something out of the box.
While at the SLIIT it was not only about education in the ordinary lecture rooms. Our life at the SLIIT was full of life and driven by charisma. The institution has created a stage for us to develop our personalities as leaders and to be front runners who can take responsibilities and deliver goals & objectives for the success of our career. Personally, I have held the both positions of vice president (2011) & president (2012) of the SLIIT computing interactive club. Also, during our period we have organised one of the biggest events conducted by SLIIT (including: New Year Festival 2011, Talent Show 2012, Multimedia Showcase event 2012).
Overall, after three productive & memorable years, SLIIT has left me nothing but up to date knowledge, confidence and great memories to take with me to face the future.
Today, as an Assistant Director at Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, I am pioneering Sri Lanka Tourism’s social media campaigns and other varies digital promotions. I feel extremely grateful for SLIIT for sharping my life to be in this level and creating the opportunity to follow my passion.
I did my bachelor’s at SLIIT Computing. The BSc in Computer Science and Software Engineering program offered by the University of Bedfordshire was much aligned with my career prospects. Also I was employed as a Software Engineer at the time and SLIIT Computing was kind enough to conduct the program on a part time basis, which made it very convenient for a lot of students who had requirements similar to mine.
One significant benefit in studying at SLIIT Computing is the fact that the syllabuses are never outdated. Lecturers always make sure to introduce latest updates, in the field, to the program. Whatever you take into your career upon graduating is therefore always practical and worthy.
Being a part time student did not make me feel any less at any point. Lecturers were extremely dedicated in making sure that we learnt everything clear enough, even though we did not get to meet them throughout the week. In fact, they were really helpful when we were in doubt and did not hesitate to help us regardless the time we contacted them. Labs and all the facilities were accessible at any hour if we were in need of.
Studying was fun indeed, but there were a variety of extra-curricular activities to spice up the experience. Meeting new people and making friends throughout the journey is a ‘way of life’ at SLIIT Computing.
I was fortunate enough to become ‘the batch top’ of a world-renowned program and it really boosted my career. Currently I am based in Auckland, New Zealand working as a Frontend Developer for Invenco Group Ltd which is a global provider of self-service payment solutions.
I am Thilina Wijewardena, Im 23 years of age and holds a Master’s Degree from Keele University UK. Everything today in my life was started with a question. Once I was positioned last from the from the science section in a term test that was carried out in my school, this was very disappointing for me as I had secured 9 ‘A’s for my O/L’s. This made me to question myself for putting me into a position like this. That was the point I decided that the place for me should not be the last, but to be in the top order. I realized that the person who is responsible for where I stood at that time is only me and no one else. The decision that made at that point is to become a winner and not a loser anymore where I realized my higher education is the key to a successful future. My vision to become successful in a very short time span made me realize the best place that I could enroll myself to pursue my dreams is to start with SLIIT Bsc degree program in Information Technology no sooner than I sat for A/L’s. Ive been always hungry experience, more and more in certain avenues where I can put my hands into. Whilst I was reading for my university degree, I started my career at Achievers in 2013 as a student counselor and moved up the ladder year on year and when I left Achievers in 2015 I was the IT and Operations Executive, without a doubt this gave me that extra push and the shine to who I am today.
Currently I work in the capacity of Business Development Manager at Imperial College with a MSc degree in Project Management in my hand. The real strength I had was the trust I kept on myself and the people who were always around me. My parents, my brother, lecturers from SLIIT and friends who were with me and pushed me whenever I felt down. One of the best life lessons I sincerely believe is you are never too late to decide what’s best for you and failures in life are the best lessons that you can ask for a great future. It is evident when you decide what should be your fate and if you are smart enough to make the right decision at the right time, no one can pull your leg back again. In my perception, opportunities are there like food which is properly laid out on a table with no one to serve. Grab the best of your choice and serve yourself with best possible way that you can. In my view Success of an individual is all about the continuous passion that makes you serve yourself.