Growing up in Sri Lanka, Sushantha Wijesuriya started learning about computers as a teenager. “I remember when my dad brought home my first computer. It didn’t have a Windows Operating System or graphics. It had a single-colour screen and floppy disk drive,” he says. Sushantha started out teaching himself coding. He studied economics and statistics in University and then took diploma courses to continue his education in computer programming. Now, Sushantha works in Technical Support in Information Services at Bridgepoint.
Sushantha immigrated to Canada in 2001 after working in programming for 5 years in Sri Lanka. He decided to shift his career path to the administration of computer systems, working with servers and networks. He pursued further studies while working part-time in Food Services at Bridgepoint.
In 2007, Sushantha moved to Bridgepoint’s helpdesk, troubleshooting problems for users across the hospital. “The organization was small enough then that I could remember the computer numbers and other details about most of the PCs across the hospital. They were a little bit like my babies,” he says.
As the organization has grown and technology has changed, Sushantha’s role has evolved. Over the past several months, Sushantha has been working on the monumental task of migrating all of the computers currently running Windows 7 over to the Windows 10 operating system. Sushantha’s role also includes installing updates and patches to keep computers and devices up-to-date and secure. “I think many people don’t realize how much work goes on behind the scenes in Information Services, in addition to working with end users to troubleshoot problems,” he says. “It takes a lot of work every day, scanning the systems for vulnerabilities, monitoring and addressing security issues that come up. Cybersecurity is a cat-and-mouse game where information technology professionals seek to combat the new vulnerabilities discovered on an almost daily basis. We work together as a team to keep our IT infrastructure secure.”
From his front-row seat for the changes and challenges brought about by technology, Sushantha says he finds it important to take time away from screens and keyboards. “I think that technology is actually moving too fast and it’s not good for us as human beings, how quickly it has changed our lifestyles and become a part of everything.”
Sushantha has found guidance in navigating a rapidly changing world through an ancient philosophy. “I use the Eight-Fold Path set out in Buddhism as a guide for my life at work and at home. It reminds me of the importance of paying attention to our thoughts, actions, speech and work in order to have a good life. It also reminds me to be mindful in what I do and not take short cuts—do things the right way, the first time,” he says.
Sushantha makes time to unplug during his busy workdays. He starts his day at 4:30 a.m. and walks the last part of his commute, a 4 kilometre stretch from Union Station to Bridgepoint. He also participates in a lunchtime exercise class offered by the Healthy Workplace program.
For Sushantha, this discipline and balance help ensure he has time for his family, his children, charitable activities and continuing his education. Last year, Sushantha went back to Sir Lanka for a visit and brought supplies and clothing to donate to 150 schoolchildren. He has also recently taken additional courses to continue to grow professionally and keep up with the latest developments in the technology sector.