There’s a bottle of coke on the dresser, a whole lot of Red Bull, and a hideously melted cup of Rio ice cream. And the faithful Hutch Mi-Fi unit giving all four of us Internet. This is the aftermath of two days in Jaffna. We – as in, the Readme team – have been through two days of hanging around and listening to industry experts educate students from all over the province on the IT/BPM.
This is Future Careers, the precursor to the meat of the Jaffna IT Week. For two days people from SLASSCOM, ICTA and the Ministry of Education have been educating some 4,000 students on how Sri Lanka’s IT industry really works – not the optimistic, vague theory taught in school syllabuses, but hard facts on where the money comes into the country, how much and who earns all this. Going in repetitive cycles, Balathasan Sayanthan of hSenid and Mohamed Hisham of Tellida have worked with different schools to give introductions to outsourcing, major operations in Sri Lanka – like Virtusa, WSO2 and so on – and given a general run through of what life as a software engineer is like – as well as how to get in.
We’ve seen lots of optimistic videos featuring girls playing pool (honestly, given the mount of pool-playing in the videos, it’s amazing that they ever get anything done at all), complex and helpful infographics and a lot of seafood in between. After the sessions, willing students were able to connect with industry professional for one-on-one sessions on the subject. The whole event was facilitated by the Vembadi Girl’s High School, Jaffna.
“As we know, there are traditional jobs like engineers, doctors, lawyers and so on. IT is becoming a new trend; a new career path is emerging. You can be a doctor, lawyer of engineer, but IT is still part and parcel of every game now. My take is this: if you don’t know IT, and if you don’t learn it within the next 2-5 years, you can’t ever emerge,” said S. Muralidharan, of Sampath IT.
“And this age is ideal for these kids. The thing is, we’re having a problem with current education – things like diploma programs. There are diplomas and then there are diplomas. things like diplomas in MS office and so on fool people into thinking that they’re picking up IT knowledge, when what they’re picking up is a baseline skillset. That’s not IT; this is basic knowledge, and these are not proper 130-hour diplomas. We want to create awareness.
I think that there should be continuity for this kind of awareness session. I think this is excellent ad I think sessions like this should be done long term, and the progress should be monitored: otherwise there’s no point coming here, spending our time without seeing how well this is working out.”