Dilan Jayasekara has been named among four finalists for the Emerging ICT Professional of the Year at the 2022 Australian Computer Society (ACS) Digital Disruptors Awards. He chats with Alesha Capone.
Firstly, can you tell me a bit about yourself?
My name is Dilan Jayasekara. I work as a data engineer in Pitcher Partners, Melbourne. But personally, I’d like to call myself an all-rounder. I live with my beautiful wife Tara (Jayasekara) in Tarneit. I migrated to Australia in the summer of 2017. The decision was not a hard one to make. I have always wanted to live in a foreign county since I was six years old – a weird childish ambition that only grew up with time passing by. I completed my bachelor’s degree in 2016 back in Sri Lanka. I started as a junior software developer, while studying for my bachelor’s and made a steady transition to web development at the end of my fourth year at uni. The quality of the education system in Australia, and the fact that the nation was ranked the most liveable city for three years in a row, meant I picked Australia as my first option without any hesitation – plus kangaroos! I got married to my girlfriend back, now my wife, and then we both flew to Australia in 2017 for my master’s degree in software design and development. Also, I always wanted to watch the Ashes cricket live at the MCG, which I was able to do last month (the Boxing Day test 2021).
How long have you lived in Tarneit and what do you like about the area?
We moved from CBD to Tarneit at the end of 2020. Being squared into a small one-bedroom apartment in Docklands, the nature of Tarneit just blew me away. There are dozens of walking paths, where I could go back to my regular walking routine and occasional bicycle rides as well. My wife and I strongly hope to make a difference this year and join at least four community groups and meet hundreds of new people around Tarneit. Also, I read about the Wyndham Smart City project before moving in and that is a very interesting project, so I’d like to meet a few people who are working on the project and be a sponge and absorb as much wisdom as possible.
Do you have a favorite spot in Tarneit to eat or get coffee?
There are two favourite cafes that I usually visit. One is called the Little Growling Cafe, which is just five minutes walk away from my home. This is our usual spot for a coffee break after a long jogging/cardio workout. The other one is called @7 cafe. where they serve this amazing king-size omelette that I can’t stop thinking about! The coffees are great at both places.
How does it feel to be named a finalist for the Emerge ICT professional of the Year, from Australian Computer Society?
Coming as an immigrant international student who spent 20-plus years in a country where political corruption was present, 30-year civil war, bomb blasts and tsunamis to a successful finalist candidate for the Emerging ICT Professional of the Year 2022 ACS was not a smooth ride. It is proof that if you’re willing to take the necessary steps to blend into an entirely new country, with English as a second language, it’s possible. You just have to make sure that your internal voice is stronger than the external noise, everything is possible. Believe in yourself and keep marching forward.
You’re also a poet, fiction writer and a blogger?
I love poetry and I hope to launch a small book combining 50–60 poems one day, hopefully within the next five years. In terms of blogging, the greatest learners don’t just consume, they contribute, and my blog is one of the main sources for me to connect with the data science/programming community.
Could you also tell me about your involvement with music?
Since childhood, I always wanted to do something that combined the logic and reasoning of science with the passion and creativity of art. Finally, after many years of education, experimentation and exhaustion, I figured out how to combine the two with a special project — Cestine Music Analytics. “Cestine” is a music data analysis project using Spotify to identify music patterns and learn more about how the recommendation algorithm works. We at Cestine believe: “Music does not just instrument anymore, it’s data about entertainment.” Through this lens, the project helps aspiring artists gain more visibility by educating them around certain musical structures and patterns that they can incorporate into their own songs, to make them more algorithmically friendly.
Winners of the ACS awards will be announced on February 23. Details: connect.djayasekara.com/