Chamara Amarathunga and Himanka Sandaruwan are two Undergraduates from the University of Moratuwa’s prestigious IT faculty, who joined Calcey as Industrial Interns on April 01st this year. I caught up with them at teatime last Friday, to find out how they were getting along.
Himanka and Chamara in conversation with Manjula, who is their Mentor
Ruwan: So guys, what is the nature of the Industrial Internship program at UOM IT? Tell me a bit about what expectations you have to meet during the Internship period.
Chamara: The Industrial Internship program at UOM IT is a 6-month (24-week) long exercise where the faculty expects students to have the experience of working in a real-life software development environment. We are expected to gain a sound understanding about industry standards, technologies and development methodologies, and reuse the practical knowledge that we gain from this experience during our final academic year and beyond. We have to submit a written report of our experiences and are graded for this exercise based on the feedback given by our employer.
Ruwan: So what was your first impression working for a company as a trainee? Was it frightening? Challenging?
Himanka: Frankly speaking, the first few minutes were somewhat scary. But when we got introduced to the staff, my apprehension disappeared. Everyone we spoke to welcomed us warmly. Manjula, who is our mentor, gave us immense support towards understanding the ongoing projects and the technologies we would use. After these explanations, we felt really happy that we got the chance to work as interns at Calcey.
Ruwan: What sort of projects are you working on presently? Tell us about the technologies and the business requirements that you have been dealing with to date.
Himanka: At the beginning of our internship, we were assigned to a project of an R&D nature. The requirement was to develop an employee time tracking system for Calcey, with the Python programming language. Employees enrolled into the system are able to log time for the tasks that they have been assigned. That was the core functionality, but the app also consisted of an admin dashboard with many more supporting functionalities. This project served as our training for Python-based app development.
Chamara: We got lucky thereafter, because we both got to apply our knowledge of Python/django to a consulting project for a prestigious US client. Our team had to develop a mobile video portal for an Ivy League university’s leadership training program. This project also gave us the chance to working with cloud-based resources. We contributed to the successful completion of the mobile web portal, and are now engaged in some routine maintenance work for the desktop portal of the same academic program, which is implemented in Cold Fusion.
Himanka: Also Ruwan we are currently doing some research on implementing Shibboleth/SAML authentication for the same university’s mobile video portal. They want to allow users to access both mobile and desktop portals using multiple Identity Providers.
Ruwan: Wow sounds interesting work. So how do you find Calcey from the perspective of mentorship? Did you have enough guidance and support to achieve your goals? Who helped you and how?
Himanka: We had ample guidance from everyone concerned, especially from Manjula. He always motivates us and guides us to accomplish the tasks we are assigned, and we really appreciate his efforts in putting us on right path at work. Our Project Lead Rasika, and our Chief Software Architect Chamindu gave superb support and guidance when it came to project or technological issues.
Ruwan: So guys, what did you learn from your Calcey experience so far? What stuck in your minds…Chamara?
Chamara: We learnt a lot from the experience that we had so far; we were able to learn new technologies and programming languages like Python and the django framework, wired to cloud resources like Amazon S3 bucket. Also we improved our communication and teamwork. We got plenty of experience working with version controlling systems like GitHub. Most importantly, we learned what its like to help a customer achieve their business goals.
Ruwan: When do you complete your Internship program? What will happen thereafter?
Chamara: We will be finishing our internship program end of September. Thereafter we will be taking a short vacation [smiles] and get back to our final year studies.
Ruwan: Great! So what is your career objective once you finish your degree? Would you consider working at Calcey again?
Himanka: Once I complete my degree I want to work in a reputed organization within Sri Lanka. Calcey Technologies is definitely on the top of my wish list. After a period of industrial experience, I’d like to go abroad to further my postgraduate education.
Chamara: [Smiling] Yes, Calcey will always be my first choice too.
Ruwan: Lovely! Thanks, Chamara and Himanka for taking the time to speak to me. I wish you both the very best of luck in your future!