University of Moratuwa: the FIT Future Careers 2014, On Record

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“You have come to the right place, at the right time, to meet the right people”.

The University of Moratuwa along with several reputed and highly distinguished BPO and Software companies came to a collaboration to pool their resources for “FIT Future Careers 2014”. This event, held within the University premises itself, was aimed at undergraduates and who want to get firsthand experience regarding the IT industry and to find out what characteristics they need to cultivate for tomorrow

In an attempt to recruit young minds who want to choose the correct path for their career, this fair is to make said individuals meet with their possible future employers to discuss new and innovative concepts and see exactly what companies are looking for in a viable candidate.

Over 20 reputed and established companies set up cubicles across three floors of the UoM Faculty of IT to carry out interviews with potential candidates – and they in turn got a look into the mind of students who want to change the world one day at a time. Candidates in return received helpful insights with regard to the current trends in the IT industry and what characteristics and conceptual ideas the companies are looking for. (photos by Malshan Gunawardane)

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The event started off as any other event would; with an opening ceremony complete with lighting of the traditional oil lamp and the playing of the National anthem.  Welcome addresses were made. The Dean of the faculty of IT, D.K Withanage,  mentioned some of the milestones achieved by the faculty and university.

  • Opened the 8th Research lab (networking) today) funded by IFS
  • Increased intake from 50-300 students per year
  • MSc in multimedia technology for the first time in SL
  • Microsoft Office 365 and cloud facilities were given to the University.
  • Highest Z Score from all state universities

The event itself really began when Prageeth Sandakalum from Virtusa  took the stage.

Amidst a pitch for Virtusa, he tossed some startling figures at the audience, pointing out that approximately USD 11 Billion is lost annually due to employee turnover, and that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.

Following up the day’s proceedings was again a speech given by Yoshitha Weerasuriya from CodeGen, who spoke briefly and outlined some key factors that potential candidates should be on the lookout for when seeking employment.

He also covered points such as when a potential employee should know how things happen in a company and its organizational structure. Seeing if you match it, know what kind of people you’re dealing with, seeing if there opportunities for you, and if they match your goals.

He went on to say that improving your soft skills, and not being confined to a particular technology are key aspects if you want to succeed in your chosen path. Learning is always a cycle and is not a big deal. He also stressed on salaries which most of Sri Lanka’s populace tend to judge a job by. “We all need money” he says.

His closing line: “Don’t run behind money. Let money come behind you”.

The latter part of the opening ceremony had the undergraduates shuffling off with hopeful faces to meet their respective and eventual employers in face to face interviews via cubicles spread across the three floors of the Faculty.

Intermittent talks were given by Mohomed Shirazi, Head of Customer Relationships at CodeGen and Nalin Sugathapala of IFS to the first year undergraduates on how to bridge the gap of employment via internships and proceeded to pitch concepts to the audience such as their vision and mission. Shirazi stated what ideal intern should be: self-motivated, on the lookout for a challenge, a quick learner, dedicated to develop and importantly, a researcher.

Mr. Shirazi also gave a brief look at Project VEGA – which would be the first ever electric super car to be built and produced solely in Sri Lanka. If that sounds completely out of the blue, it was. It sounds quite intriguing.

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The evening session kicked off with a Panel discussion for the first year undergraduate students. The panel consisted of:

  • Ishan De Silva, Head of Software Engineering (MIT)
  • Thushara Hettihamu, Manager (Virtusa)
  • Hasith Yaggahavita, Technology Manager (99X Technology)
  • Nalin Sugathapala, Training Manager (IFS)
  • Yoshitha Weersooriya, Tech Lead, Code Gen
  • Dumindu Kanankage, C.E.O (4Axis)

The discussion revolved mainly around aspects such as the main focus for an employer when hiring an undergraduate.

Thushara Hettihamu from Virtusa shared his views stating that undergraduates are preferred as they have already had the disciplines instilled in them, and that they have the required knowledge base and skillset. The only thing left to be done is to make the undergraduates industry-ready. Nalin Sugathapala from IFS explained to the audience that communication skills are very important.

When asked what the employer expects from potential undergraduate candidates, the panel had a joint reply: it is candidate’s attitude that takes preference over skillsets and knowledge base. Basically, if an evaluation is done, 40% of the evaluation is with regard to knowledge, and the remaining 60% relates directly to the candidates attitude.

Note to self: cultivate attitude.

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