How 'IT' changed my life - Shalinka Jayatilleke
By Ashan KUMAR
"I want to be a fighter pilot" said young vibrant Shalinka when her parents were curious about what plans the tom boy in the family had about her future. She laughs and goes on to explain how she wanted to explore new avenues, and how curious she was to experience adventure and excitement. She reminicises how her friends wanted to become a doctor, engineer and a teacher, and being a fighter pilot was quite a contrast ambition to imagine.
Born and raised in Nugegoda, an old girl of Anula Vidyalaya, Shalinka Jayatilleke is presently the Business Development Manager plus a lecturer at Sri Lanka's premier degree awarding education institute, Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology.
I started my interview with the question why she chose Information Technology for her future she explained, "I ended up studying Bio Science for my A/Ls. Not having being able to pursue a degree in medicine it opened a new horizon for me. A new path I never knew I had so much capabilities in. That of course is IT. IT may certainly not be as dangerous as being a fighter pilot but it is most certainly very interesting. And come to think of it, IT can be very dangerous, more dangerous than anything human."
I probed into her answer, and she explained, "IT was definitely very interesting and a very intriguing path, I saw IT was picking up very fast in Sri Lanka at the time I started my undergraduate studies. I saw there were many possibilities as career avenues in the IT field which was not a possibility in many other study areas. I simply didn't want to end up with a paper certificate which I couldn't put to good use. And IT gave me that opportunity to venture into the industry with skills that allowed me to get to the position where I'm now."
My next question was how IT has impacted her life, she explained, "This field has expanded my horizon of thinking, which I never knew existed in me. Simply I had no idea I could be extremely creative in such a short time if not for the analytical thinking skills that I was able to extract through IT. Some people may think IT is all about sitting behind a computer and tapping at it the whole day. But it's not so.
I used to think that IT was all about being a programmer and that did not appeal to me so much. But eventually when I started moving deeper into the field, I realized it's much more than what I think. Not only did it give me the ability of creative thinking but also kept me on my toes on latest trends in the world both in an IT sense and business sense.
I think the most important thing that I have gained through being an IT professional is my ability to multi task. The trick is that if you are truly dedicated in being in the IT industry, you try to get yourself involved in many activities at the same time just to keep yourself informed of all the new trends. This is how I've been able to handle two completely different job profiles as a lecturer in IT and as a Business Development Manager."
I inquired from Shalinka about her advice for youngsters who will consider IT as a career, she promptly replied, "The world is a stage where IT plays a prime role. At present, computer literacy is essential. My advice for the young generation is first think whether you will be able to keep up with the frequently expanding, changing IT field. If you are ready for such a commitment, IT will take you to great heights. One will have the opportunity to do wonders with their creativity," she ended, "The analytical thinking that you gain from learning IT will not only help you career wise but also in your day-to-day life in areas where you may have not probably imagined".