Sri Lankan student’s passion for computing

Charles GoonetillekeCharles De Silva Goonetilleke is a Sri Lankan student at La Trobe. A student in our Bachelor of Computer Science with Honours program, he arrived in Melbourne in 2012.

While many students do not have a clue what they want to study at university until a year, a few months or even a few days before they apply, Charles was the complete opposite.

‘As a middle school child I had a passion for computing. After receiving my first computer I began to explore its features and experiment with it. Seeing the complex functionality some software have made me curious to learn about them. I started to learn some basics of programming and it was very satisfying to see these simple programs running on my computer. And so I started looking into the profession of software development.’

After researching the different IT courses in universities across Australia, Charles found a course at La Trobe that taught the fundamentals of computing and was suitable for his interests.

Sharing his skills

To give back to the community, Charles says that during his free time, he volunteered at Preston mosque as a lead tutor to teach IT to illiterate members of the mosque. ‘This was my first experience of volunteering.’

‘The people I have met in my course and through volunteering made my stay in Australia a very pleasant one.’

Other than volunteering, Charles says that some of the highlights of his time at La Trobe have been receiving the Golden Key International Honour Society membership, his team winning the computer science third year project, completing his bachelor’s in computer science and continuing to do an honours component and receiving a scholarship.

Looking to the future

Charles is happy about the fact that he came to study in Melbourne. ‘Having an international qualification gives employers the idea that candidates have had previous exposure to cultural diversity and this makes such applicants appealing to them as they can be more dynamic in the workforce. It helps a candidate to stand out from the crowd and employers are more attracted towards them because they would want to have the best set of employees,’ he says.

When asked about his plans for employment, Charles says that he aims to stick to what he is most passionate about.

‘I plan to keep working in the software industry to continue to develop applications,’ he says. ‘I see myself working for a company that is involved in such projects for various clients and I would be part of the development team. After gaining plenty of experience in that, I would like to move to a higher position such as project manager or lead software developer, which would allow me to take up more responsibility of projects.’

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