It’s 10am and there’s a line outside Hall C at the BMICH. Clad in snazzy business attire, for students of the Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) were queuing up for the IIT careers day. As they walk-in to the registration tables we notice a large sign, laying out a menu of potential employers who were setting up to meet them.
“Careers Day” has been an annual event at IIT for the past 20 years according to Ruzlie Hannan of the Institute.
Exclusively for IIT’s scholars, “usually we have Careers Day at the IIT premises in Wellawatte” he tells us, but this time they’ve gone big. Expecting “around 300 of our students,” both recent graduates and 3rd years to flock-in, the event has always been a means of IIT’s products to have access to top notch jobs and internships.
Nodding at the line of students outside awaiting their turn to register he says the enthusiasm has been high, both ways. When inviting corporates to step-in and take their pick of IIT’s crop, he shares that the organizers have had to limit the number of stalls to just 40. “There’s a mix” he says, around 80 % of these 40 slots are occupied by top end companies and around 20% of mid-range employers.
The event isn’t limited to big players in the IT industry alone we noticed. Corporate powerhouses such as Unilever, MAS holdings and John Keells setting up camp among the likes of Dialog Axiata suggested a wide range of options being plated up.
A graduate, Tharani Welihinda agrees, “It has more of a choice” she says of this years’ edition of Careers Day. “I’ve been to Careers Day before, when I had to find an internship,” she says, “but it’s harder when you’re a graduate.” Those going along the lines of ISBM and SE are both catered to she feels and “There’s a good range” of companies to choose from.
We did everything short of crawling to get through the most congested part of Hall C. While shimmying through the 5pm bus jam that stagnated movement in one particular row we managed to glimpse that John Keells, Dialog Axiata, Millennium IT and hSenid Mobile were in this stretch.
Once we successfully crossed over, we found a slightly more airy stall belonging to Square Mobile. The start-up hasn’t been to IIT’s Careers Day before they tell us. On the look-out for Interns, Software Engineers and UI Engineers they already have “1 intern from IIT” out of 5 others back at the office. “Only a couple of people have stopped by” they share, “But we’re new here too”- a fact they hope to change with time.
Things went better for Square Mobile as the day progressed. We found two graduates, Umaya Windsor and Minoli Perera waiting in line outside this stall. “We’re more interested in things like UI design” we’re told. With collectives like “We Are Designers” also present at the event, Umaya and Minoli reiterated that the spectrum of jobs to choose from had in fact expanded. It tended to get congested when “we had careers day in IIT” they smile, enjoying both the bigger space and range of options.
Also enjoying the space “for interaction” which was in abundance this year was the 99X Technology stall. “We’re looking for technically sound” candidates with “an open attitude and willingness to learn” they brief us. We couldn’t resist loitering-in since it was among the more visually appealing spots which also happened to feature a bowl of toffees.
Those at the MAS stall were impressed with the candidates, “They were all very professional.” Bringing their Linea and Legato wings along with Attune which “would have worked with IIT before,” this time’s Careers Day marked a higher level of involvement.
We found Praveen Jayalath who also goes as “Ichorville” among a group of his friends outside Brandix’s cubicle at the IIT Careers Day. “Actually, I’m just a second year” hoping to land an internship. As long has the job involves IT and Multimedia, he’s not too picky about who he would like to be employed by. “My friends dragged me” to this area he laughs.
Not far away from Praveen and his friends, we find tech giants Virtusa occupying not one but 5 slots. Resonating with what we observed, the Robotics Process Automation desk’s view is that seeing potential employees in a relaxed environment is rather telling. “We need this type of thing, It’s a good opportunity for graduates and the industry” to meet outside the more formal office setting. These meetings make for better interviews we’re told since sometimes a regimental “interview can make some of them very nervous.”
Hoping to snag some talent for their Software development, Quality assurance, Systems maintenance, Infrastructure and Business analysis areas Virtusa Polaris says some promising candidates from IIT did come forward. “These guys have the core competencies we’re looking for” and with a little work experience and training should be able to tackle any type of challenge.