The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

IIT can play a major role in generating ICT export revenue says Alumni Hussain Shabbir


Having had a passion for Information Systems ever since his younger days, Hussain Shabbir chose to pursue his higher education at Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) mainly due to the reputation the institute possessed both locally and internationally. Hussain states positively that he had no reservations about furthering his education at IIT since it offered internal degrees from the recognised universities in UK at the time and was also recommended by many leading individuals in the industry.

An active student, Hussain recalls thoroughly enjoying the mode of learning that IIT offered. He credits this to the lecturers, some of whom also belong to the IT industry, and thereby have a wealth of knowledge that is practical and beneficial to the students. Their awareness of the corporate world gives the students an insight into industry specifics that would usually come to light only after working in an organisation. The students are therefore able to gain an edge over the others in the field well ahead of time.

As IIT believes in team work, there are a lot of group based activities and projects apart from individual assignments. “I strongly believe that the experience gained from the group projects at IIT taught me how to work effectively in a team and instilled those qualities in me that are essential for any individual to succeed as a leader. The business ethics inculcated in me throughout my journey at IIT has also helped me enhance my contribution at managerial positions and has assisted me in leading business divisions and segments in the right manner,” said Hussain.

The third year internship programme at IIT allowed Hussain to work for OPRO Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, where he was able to apply the theory learned during the first two years of the degree. He also gained valuable insight into various technological areas as well as the working environment within the field of IT, and was awarded as the “Best Software Engineer Trainee” for that year within the company. This achievement is yet another example of the creativity, passion and never-say-die attitude possessed by the students of IIT, which is what makes them stand out from the crowd.

Hussain’s final year project titled “Intelligent Source Code Converter” was presented at one of IIT’s most reputed events, the Cutting Edge Exhibition, which is an annual event aimed at showcasing the best final-year projects and is open to industry experts and other visitors. “A British gentleman, who was a part of the university delegation and who visited this exhibition, expressed his admiration and interest in my project and asked for my copy of the thesis to be kept at the UK university library as a reference for future students. I felt this was a great honour for me and a testament that even though we were in Sri Lanka, we were equally capable as our British peers,” remarked Hussain.

Following his graduation, Hussain joined Virtusa and subsequently was entrusted to lead a business-critical project which required him to work in the USA for 3 years. He credits this ability to attain a responsible position so early in his career to the knowledge, discipline and experience taught and instilled in him at IIT, along with the hard work put in by him in fulfilling his career objectives. On his return to the island, he was given the opportunity to join Aeturnum Lanka as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Head of Operations.

As a provider of enterprise software development services and solutions, Aeturnum Lanka is a subsidiary of its US-based parent company and offers product engineering, implementation and integration services to emerging technology providers and Global 2000 organisations. It also offers specific development expertise in a number of technology domains which include employee and customer-facing business portals; mobile applications; business intelligence; software quality assurance and testing; and e-billing and online self-service.

Hussain’s current position at Aeturnum sees him involved in formulating technology plans and strategies, researching technology trends and integrating them into projects, as well as seeing to delivery assurance, off-shore profitability, HR, PMO, MIS and overall business development. He also regulates Aeturnum’s Global Engineering Process (GEP), which has been appraised as CMMi Level 3.
Hussain also represents Aeturnum as a Council Member at the Federation of Information Technology Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS) – Software Chapter (formerly known as SLASI); is the Founding Vice-President of the Sri Lanka Software Testing Board (SLSTB); was an International Judge representing Sri Lanka at The Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) Awards 2011 held in Thailand last year; apart from being a visiting guest lecturer at IIT and other universities.

Aeturnum maintains strong ties with the academia by providing internship opportunities to students from IIT and other universities as well. “We are extremely pleased with our interns from IIT,” Hussain says. “They come in not only with theoretical knowledge, but also with the experience of working in teams – this makes them more valuable as employees in any organisation. In turn, we ensure that their talent is nurtured and leveraged to the fullest, thereby resulting in them leaving with the practical knowledge that they require in order to gain a competitive advantage in the industry.”

Hussain Shabbir was full of confidence in IIT’s ability to play an integral role in Sri Lanka’s development and international perception as a knowledge hub. “The IT sector has shown a significant growth since the end of the conflict. With our government vying to attain $1 billion in ICT export revenue, the country needs to find and build the talent required to meet this objective, thus creating a need to have individuals who are skilled enough to be able to meet globally recognized standards.

Institutes such as IIT can play a major role by producing graduates of high c

Hussain Shabbir Chief Technology Officer and Head of Operations Aeturnum Lanka

alibre as expected in the industry, and Sri Lanka can thereafter be looked upon by other countries and leading international companies as an knowledge hub, which in return would bring in the projected revenue to the country,” said Hussain. “I am certain that we will be able to achieve the projected targets if the passion that I see in today’s generation towards IT continues to be fostered by institutes like IIT, along with the support of their families,” concluded Hussain.

Web: www.iit.ac.lk  email: admissions@iit.ac.lk hot line: 0722 72 72 72

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