Srinath Perera

Current Employment: Director of Research, WSO2 and Visiting Lecturer, University of Moratuwa

Education: Ph.D. in Computer Science and Distributed Systems, Indiana University Bloomington

Return to Sri Lanka

While completing his Ph.D. at Indiana University Bloomington in the US, Srinath worked as a research assistant for five years. Though he did not actively look for a job in the US as he neared graduation, he was made an offer by the same team he worked with in university as a Research Scientist. However, he decided to return home directly after graduation because both he and his family preferred him living here. He had also had a job offer from WSO2 which made his decision to return to Sri Lanka easier. He attained this job through connections he had established when he previously lived here. Srinath’s work at WSO2 directly matches his main area of interest, so the move back home worked well for him.

Thoughts on Careers and Professional Development

Srinath pursued higher education with the goal of becoming a researcher in distributed systems and ultimately being able to lead a research team in the same field. His position as a Senior Software Architect is a stepping stone in that direction and lets him conduct research and publish papers. He believes his academic experience abroad helped broaden his perspective on a variety of issues, and also made it easier to work with foreign clients and research collaborators. However, one of the biggest challenges he faces is that he does not have enough peers to discuss ideas with and people who are able to do so are busy with their own work. This is a crucial part of research that he misses since returning to Sri Lanka.

Experience with Compensation and Living Expenses

Salaries are good enough given the generally lower cost of living – one cannot expect the same quality of life enjoyed in the US in Sri Lanka.

Views on Education

The Sri Lankan education system is very good if individuals select to pursuing a program like Engineering. If not, Sri Lanka does not have lot of choices for higher education. He sees this as a potential reason he might have to leave the country in the future.

Advice for potential returnees

Three years after his return to Sri Lanka, Srinath is well settled and currently has no plans to leave the country. In addition to his work, he helps students by volunteering in various projects at the Lanka Software Foundation and the University of Moratuwa. When asked how he views his decision to return to Sri Lanka now that he is settled, he believes it was a very personal decision, involving a lot of trade-offs. He would definitely encourage others to return as well. He says it will take considerable time to get used to how things are done in Sri Lanka when you first move back, but the key is to adapt to these changes and get use to the lifestyle. It is important to keep in mind that while there are several trade-offs involved with moving back home, there are more advantages such as being close to your family,culture and country.