Offshore study experience with Data Science student Dileepa Pitawela

Currently studying offshore in Sri Lanka, Master of Data Science student Dileepa Pitawela shares his virtual experience and top tips for other students thinking of starting their studies online.  

Student - Dileepa Pitawela

Why did you choose your degree?

After the completion of my first degree, I worked as a software engineer and at the same time, I developed an interest in data processing and machine learning. I chose the Data Science Master’s degree with the intention of becoming a data scientist in the future so that I could help people and businesses by solving complex problems.

Why did you choose the University of Adelaide?

The University of Adelaide is well recognised for its academic excellence and research strengths within Australia and around the world. 

How have you adjusted to Online Learning?

Border restrictions were imposed when I was about to come to Adelaide, so at the time I thought this was never going to happen. At first, it was quite challenging, but soon I was able to adapt because the University made great efforts to engage international students and make them feel welcome while providing high-quality education online.

Now, I think not giving up on my dream was the best thing I did. Dileepa Pitawela

Because I was able to take part in cultural awareness programs like Global IQ connect, worked as a volunteer ambassador for ECMS, was invited to the Golden Key Honorary Society for academic merit and was also awarded a scholarship last summer to work as a research intern through the University.

What support have you received for online learning?
In the very beginning, I attended International Peer Support sessions conducted by international peer mentors. Then, throughout the semester I took part in PASS sessions to help me learn new things. I also accessed the English Learning Centre to assist with my writing. 

What advice would you give to other students thinking about getting started online?

  1. Try to be focused, it can be easy to be distracted when we are studying from home.
  2. Develop time management skills, because sometimes we might over work and be exhausted.
  3. Build up resilience.
  4. Be on alert with your emails and assignments because email is the primary contact we have with the University.
  5. Try to connect with the university community by taking part in volunteering programs and other networking activities where possible.

What are you most looking forward to when you come to Adelaide?

I would like to get a feel for the city and the roam around the University. I would also like to meet the people that I know online as well as batch mates and my lecturers.

How do you think a degree from The University of Adelaide will assist your future career?

When I see the requirements of an ideal candidate for the job role of a data scientist, some time ago it seemed like a long way ahead. But now, it feels like an achievable target. That is the confidence the degree has built up in me. As there is another academic year ahead for me, I think by the end I will be equipped with the adequate skill set to triumph in my field.

What are your plans for the future?

I have worked for 2.5 years as a software engineer in Sri Lanka before starting my current Master’s degree. In the future, I want to work as a data scientist or move into research.

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