11th January, 2011: Sri Lanka is witnessing rapid growth in the post-war era and faces the mammoth task of reconstruction and development. In keeping with the new initiatives proposed by the government to take the country forward, the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) seeks to address the need for highly qualified graduates to take the relevant key sectors in Sri Lanka to the next level, boost the workforce and thus contribute towards this development.
As the largest degree-awarding institute in the country, SLIIT was established with a view to cater to the need for highly trained professionals who would excel in their relevant areas of specialisation and act as a talent pool for the fast-developing industries. In tandem with the country's development goals, SLIIT offers undergraduate degree programmes in Information Technology, Electronic Engineering and Business Management, and provides Master's Degree programmes in IT-related streams. The scope presented through the academic opportunities at SLIIT ensures the availability of a rich pool of experts who are constantly raising the bar within their respective disciplines and industries in the country.
SLIIT has a well established Career Guidance Unit that serves as a coordinating body between the students and organisations which provide services for academic and career guidance counseling as well as employment placement. This unit works closely with industry and employment agencies to ensure that students are armed with the necessary skills and knowledge for career success.
Furthermore, career fairs are organised annually to enable students to contact potential employers through numerous participating companies. Through this, students have access to a host of opportunities to gather experience in their relevant subject fields during the course of their studies. Industry giants and key organisations such as MAS, Virtusa, and Latitude conduct career guidance workshops throughout the year, which enables SLIIT students to present their CV's to these companies and thus increase their chances of gaining valuable hands-on experience while pursuing their studies. Moreover, industry experts are also brought in by SLIIT to guide and train students in skills such as CV writing, facing interviews and similar tasks to give them an edge within their respective fields of study.
Organizations such as IFS, Virtusa, and Exetel conduct scholarship programmes for SLIIT students as well. Students get the opportunity to work at these organisations in conjunction with their studies and their expenses are covered by these organisations. Furthermore, such students have the opportunity continue working for these organizations upon graduation. Professor S. Karunaratne, Chairman of SLIIT, highlights the fact that "SLIIT graduates are much sought-after even in countries like the UK, and many officials from our partner universities have commended SLIIT students for their diligence and hard work within the work environment, as well as the growing demand for SLIIT graduates in prestigious companies abroad".
"SLIIT students' career placement is closely monitored and screened by an expert panel at SLIIT. The corporate sector employs many of our graduates, and over the years we have seen them secure very prominent positions both within key industry sectors in the country as well as securing important academic posts" elaborates Professor Lalith Gamage, President and CEO of SLIIT. The Sri Lanka Technology Incubator or ConceptNursery, which is located within SLIIT's Malabe Campus, was established to assist and promote IT enterprises and IT start-up companies by providing access to business and technical expertise, financial resources, international industry contacts, communication facilities, training in IT, business advice and business plan development and marketing.
These budding companies utilize SLIIT's state-of-the-art facilities and have access to a rich pool of expertise, and SLIIT students are given the opportunity to work in this environment in order to gain valuable experience through research and development projects undertaken by these companies.
SLIIT's affiliation with many prestigious and globally recognised foreign universities has garnered recognition for the institute as one of the leading education hubs in the country. These partnerships provide students a wide array of choices and areas of specialisation as well as industry placement upon completion of their studies abroad. "Students can pursue their degree programmes at SLIIT or alternatively students can follow the courses at SLIIT for the first two years of their degree programme (IT, Electronic Engineering or Business Management), and then have the option of transferring to any of our partner universities to complete the final two years of their degree" claims Professor Gamage. Most notable among SLIIT's partner Universities are Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) - UK, Southeast Missouri State University and University of Cincinnati (UC) - USA, Curtin University, Swinburne University, University of South Australia (UniSA) and Monash University - Australia.
To date, SLIIT has produced over 10,000 skilled graduates, a third of all professionals in the IT sector in Sri Lanka. SLIIT plans to extend its network to enrol students from Bangladesh, and two new SLIIT branches recently commenced operations in Jaffna and Bangladesh as a means of providing more academic opportunities and pathways to the institute's growing student population.