Ershadi Sayuri Jayatilaka is a multi-talented graduate from IIT who has achieved much success in her career. Ershadi who graduated with a First Class (Hons) in Software Engineering from IIT is currently employed at Zone24x7 (Pvt) Ltd as a Senior Software Engineer. Following are excerpts of the interview with Ershadi who shared her thoughts on her journey towards corporate success.
- Can you give a brief introduction about yourself?
I was born and bred in Galle, where I completed my education at Southlands College. I followed the Software Engineering degree from the Informatics Institute of Technology, affiliated to the University of Westminster and graduated with a first class. Then I took up Software Engineering as a career after majoring in the same. I also completed my Master’s in Business Administration last year with flying colours.
As of now, I am a Senior Software Engineer working in the Innovation Department of Zone24x7 (Pvt) Ltd with the knowledge of both frontend and backend programming languages. I have been working there for around 3 years. This is also the ideal career path for me since I’m a creative person with the ability to look at the world with fresh eyes. As a member of the innovation department each and every day I get to experience cutting edge technologies and work on new concepts. I’m an expert on Conversational Interface development (In simple language Chat Bots) and I have experience in working with Conversational Interface Platforms like DialogFlow, Amazon Lex, Alexa Skills etc. Back in 2017, I was the one of the highest contributors to the DialogFlow community. Currently, I am working on a Conversational Interface for one of the largest retailers in the US.
Apart from programming, during my leisure time, I engage in modelling as well. I have always been very interested in modelling. Early on, I had the benefit of good counsel to understand the difference between hobbies and career. Hobbies are what we do away from work, they are the keys to the doors of rejuvenation. Modelling helps me forget myself and take on different characters and understand things from various angles. Not to forget, it is thrilling and rejuvenating to perform in front of a camera!
- What made you decide to follow your higher education at IIT?
I had developed a keen interest for Information Technology during the school years itself and I started to follow a programming course while waiting for my A/L results. When I got my A/L results I saw that I have been selected to follow a degree in Physical Science. However, I didn’t want to pursue Physical Science. Therefore, I thought since I have the passion, I should get into the Software industry. With the positive feedback from the people in the industry, I decided to enroll in the Software Engineering degree offered by the University of Westminster from IIT.
IIT considers about balancing the student’s life. Participating in various kinds of activities during IIT life played an important role in widening my outlook and to develop my personal skills
- How was the student life and experience at IIT?
My life at IIT was extremely challenging and beneficial to me. The main reason is that University life gave me the chance of upgrading the knowledge in the academic and non-academic field, nurturing personal skills as well as enhancing future career development. I learnt and experienced various new things in such a short period of time, and those years went so fast. IIT is a very welcoming place, and from the first day, I felt at home there. I made many new friends from many different backgrounds.
IIT considers about balancing the student’s life. Participating in various kinds of activities during IIT life played an important role in widening my outlook and to develop my personal skills.
- What are your notable achievements at IIT?
Participating at the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2014 is one of the turning points in my life. Imagine Cup is an annual competition sponsored and hosted by Microsoft Corp. which brings together student developers worldwide to help resolve some of the world’s toughest challenges. It is considered as “Olympics of Technology” by computer science and engineering professionals and is considered as one of the top competitions and awards related to technology and software design. All Imagine Cup competitors create projects that address the Imagine Cup theme: “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems”. My team was able to win the 1st place in the category of World Citizenship. Then we participated in the world semifinals too. After winning the competition there were a lot of investors came after us to develop our prototype as a product. These gave me the exposure that I never thought I would get. Those experiences I received made me who I am today.
Not only that, I also took part in various other competitions and hackathons like Code for Good and was able to win the 1st place or the 2nd place.
- How has IIT shaped you for corporate success?
IIT provides a sandwich degree where we have to do an internship of 12 months during our third year. By the end of the second year, IIT nurtures us to a state where we could have an internship at a reputed software company in Sri Lanka. This 1-year internship opportunity is one of the best things that IIT offers and there is no other university in Sri Lanka that offers you an internship of one year. Doing an internship for one year is an added advantage for you when you are seeking for a permanent job opportunity after graduation as you have more industry experience than other fresh graduates.
- What are your fondest moments at IIT?
Fondest moments of my life at IIT was becoming the national winners at Microsoft Imagine Cup. I can cherish those moments forever and I believe that is a rare opportunity that anyone would get.