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Chartered Engineer (CEng)


Published: 02/01/2024

Education and qualifications:
MPhil (Hons 1st Class) in Computer, Information Sciences and Digital Forensics, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
Dean’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Study for MPhil, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
MSc (Merit) in Professional Engineering and Technology, London Metropolitan University, UK
MCG in Electrical Engineering, City and Guilds, UK
GCGI Graduateship in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, City and Guilds, UK
LCGI Licentiateship in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, City and Guilds, UK
Full Technological Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, City and Guilds, UK
Advanced Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, City and Guilds, UK
Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, City and Guilds, UK
Certification of CISCO UCS Test Drive for Technical Decision Makers
Certification of VMware vSphere Installation, Configuration and Management
International Professional Engineer, Engineering Council, UK
European Engineer, The Engineers Europe, Brussels
Chartered Engineer, Engineering Council, UK                                      
Chartered Manager, Chartered Management Institute, UK
Chartered IT Professional, BCS, UK
Incorporated Engineer, IIE, Sri Lanka

Job title:
Assistant General Manager – IT (National Savings Bank, Sri Lanka)
Vice President (ICT Security, Facilities and Electrical Engineering) (SCICOM (MSC) Berhad – Malaysia

National Savings Bank (NSB), Sri Lanka
SCICOM (MSC) Berhad, Malaysia

What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
My fascination, since I was 9 years, was doing my own experiments, making small scale circuits and installing / uninstalling electronic devices at home. The first memory of such a successful project is making a transistor as a switching circuit (using B324 transistors, 220uF condensers, 22K resisters) which is still a fond memory. My passion for experiments with electronic circuits was a known fact amongst colleagues and I was quite famous amongst my batch mates as “circuit freak” during my school days.  

I worked on my passion through making creative pieces of circuits, which gradually drove me towards becoming an engineering professional. Becoming a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) became my dream, setting me on my journey, which paved the way to become who I am today.

Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
I currently hold two positions, as an engineering professional and as an IT professional. Both my roles largely involve technical program management, project management and project migrations. I specialise in digital transformation and cyber security. I manage large scale high dependency systems and proficiently drive strategic trade-offs , anticipating project bottlenecks and delivering timely results.

My first role is as the Assistant General Manager - IT systems and Network architecture for the National Savings Bank, Sri Lanka. The role has both a large technical component in terms of skill, knowledge and experience and a business focus in terms of people and resource management

I lead the technology operation of the bank, with a team of approximately 100 which comprise of both technical and non-technical staff. I ensure the IT systems and solutions provide long term benefits to the bank, as I am the final decision-maker in identifying the best IT systems, technologies and vendors to fulfil them. I also lead IT system project evaluations and projects’ final supervision.

Throughout my time as the Assistant General Manager, I have implemented cybersecurity strategies, information security risk management frameworks for Business Continuity Planning (BCP)/ Disaster Recovery (DR) Strategy and Major Incident Management projects.  I have also designed and implemented innovative solutions for our business continuity and carried out solution verification by working closely with multiple vendors and technologies.

Furthermore, I am directly responsible for the main critical IT operation of the bank (Systems and Network Architecture, Digital transformation, System Information Security and Data Centre operations), which leads to a smooth operation in the network of branches. The island-wide network comprises of 4,000+ service points, including branches, postal bank units, ATMs, NSB iSaver agents and an international network of corresponding banks as well as agents serving approximately 15 million customers.

I also spearhead a range of IT/service delivery disciplines as The Chairman and a Member in tender evaluations, specifications, procurement, contract negotiation, legal framework and financial analysis. I am responsible for the digital transformation of the bank through technical and project management leadership in implementing large system and networks architecture projects including Cloud. Furthermore, I directly engage in developing and building the strategic IT road map and in maximising return on investment (ROI) in IT, which has a direct impact on the bank’s overall strategic business objectives and its bottom line.

My second role is as the Vice President of ICT Security, Facilities, and Electrical Engineering for SCICOM (MSC) Berhad, Malaysia, where I lead and manage the facility and electrical engineering teams, which comprise of different nationalities, ensuring they align with the company's goals and objectives.

I also lead the cybersecurity planning and implementation teams, who establish a comprehensive digital security program for SCICOM(MSC) Berhad, Malaysia, a digital transformation solutions business, with an in-house Security Operations Centre (SOC). I ensure all Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) are validated and the controls are in place in compliance with the business requirements.  I also lead IT audits and compliance activities, quarterly and annually, with special attention to controls and frameworks such as PCI DSS, ISO/IEC 27001 and Tier lll Uptime institute USA/ TIA 942 in connection to varied industries: Airlines, Banks, Telco and Immigration offices.

As the head of Facilities and Electrical Engineering, I lead the team which manage 13 data centres that comply with Uptime Institute's (USA) Tier III/ TIA 942 standards and also ensure compliance to Malaysian legal and regulatory obligations in all customer project implementations. As a result, I review QA/QC single line diagrams, specifications, layouts of power distributions, cooling system designs, capacity planning, construction and networking infrastructure.

Can you describe a typical working day?
A typical working day is spent addressing critical IT system requirements for the bank’s day-to-day operations, analysing the system logs and programs for decision making, which includes creating various statistical plots throughout the day to derive conclusions from them. All systems require compliance to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Baseline Security Standards, PCI-DSS and ISO/IEC 27001, and Uptime Institute Tier III standards, which set an outline for my day-to-day work. Furthermore, I lead my team for maintenance of these standards without any down time.

I maintain a close relationship with several multinational organisations, for matters related to technical and managerial aspects. I direct and lead my system engineers to run and maintain mission-critical systems. My main technical responsibility is maintenance of the system operation without any point of failure, since one tiny system failure can lead to  substantial financial losses.

Throughout the day, I organise and plan multiple meetings, some remotely with key vendors, follow up progress reviews for system projects and give solutions to rectify issues. I have discussions with the corporate management and the steering committee on critical decisions, looking at how to enhance friends of production (make an impact on the items that improve the value of a company) and reduce enemies of production (make an impact on the items that reduce the value of a company).

I also spend time with my team members and those who do not directly report to me, but who are instrumental in the projects that I drive. This is to identify concerns, requirements, and limitations, ensuring all teams remain motivated and driven towards their ultimate objective.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
There are a several challenges to my role, such as:

  • Identifying emerging cyber security issues in banking
  • Resolving challenges in virtual and non-banking migrations
  • Optimising client experience while managing cost and resources.

Additionally I have to keep all systems up and running, manage all versions and keep patches up to date according to the industry standards such as CBSL-Baseline Security Standards, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS), ISO/IEC 27001, Uptime Institute Tier 3 Certification standards, Central bank guidelines, Mock runs and POC runs, guidelines of the professional institutions such as the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) , The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) and The National Cyber Security Centre (UK).

Ensuring the resource usage in data centre operations are optimal, to contribute to the sustainability vertical is another crucial aspect I manage. Further aligning both non-technical as well as technical teams with the security frame works is a challenge I have seen over the years.

I have found that industry best practices, professional workshops from IET, BCS, and the methodologies and analysis carried out during my MPhil, including the references cited for both my MPhil and my PhD literature review, have been of immense use in managing the above challenges. However, I consider these challenges as an important aspect which keeps the operation up and running with a heap of learning.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
I enjoy knowing that my work impacts the mission-critical digital operation of the banking systems across the island, with more than 4,000 service points. It is extremely satisfying to hold a leadership role in a  bank that enables me to serve a customer base of around 15 million. The feeling of being able to avail the banking facilities even to the rural villages in Sri Lanka, gives me a sense of fulfilment. 

The “moment of truth” (the point at which the result of the job impacts the real world) we created for our client base during the COVID-19 pandemic was also notable in fulfilling this sense of joy.

I enjoy working in diverse teams with interesting people from across the world. Furthermore, through my international professional network, I get to advise over 100 high end professionals every year. Being able to give advice and guide individuals to excel in their professional journey is another instance where I feel my role makes an impact in the real world.

I also help make resource utilisation decisions in my data Centre projects to ensure they are optimally used. This makes me feel accountable and engaged as a responsible citizen who contributes towards the future global challenge of sustainability.

Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
I am humbly proud of all the professional achievements I have made so far in my career, including:

  • European Engineer (EUR ING)
  • International Professional Engineer (IntPE)
  • Chartered Engineer (CEng)
  • Chartered Manager (CMgr)
  • Chartered IT Professional (CITP)
  • Incorporated Engineer (IEng)
  • Fellow of IET
  • Fellow of BCS

I also consider my work as an International Professional Registration Advisor, assessor, and a committee member in multiple institutions, a privilege, that has enabled me to contribute towards the industry and its future development. I was very pleased when the standard of the academic work of my MPhil was recognised with the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Study, from the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.

Together with the IT team and in alignment with the guidance of my CIO, I helped my organisation (National Savings Bank Sri Lanka) receive the following digital transformation awards, which I consider  another achievement.

  • Public Sector Most Outstanding ICT Achievement
  • Best Common ATM Enabler of the Year 2022
  • Bank of the Year for Excellence in Customer Convenience Year 2022,
  • Gold Award for the NSBPay App
  • Best Common ATM Enabler of the year 2023
  • South Asia’s 1st Self Sovereign Identity solution on Blockchain
  • Uptime Institute certified Tier III Data center for the first time in the Finance sector in Sri Lanka.
  • PCI DSS Certifications (2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022).
  • ISO/IEC 27001 Certifications.

What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
In 1998, I received the City and Guilds (C&G) Member Registration booklet, which is still with me. The profiles and the designatory letters of its members, provided a strong motivation for me to drive my professional journey.

First, I became professionally registered with the Engineering Council in 2001 as an Engineering Technician (EngTech). Then, I became an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) in 2003, before achieving Chartered Engineer (CEng) status in 2009. I got the registration as a European Engineer (EUR ING) in 2010, then an International Professional Engineer (IntPE) in 2014.

I also became a Chartered IT Professional in 2008 and qualified as a Chartered Manager in 2014. I received Fellow Member IET in 2013 and Fellow Member BCS in 2008. The standards of these professional registrations immensely shape my career every day, throughout my journey.

In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
Becoming a Chartered professional immediately enhanced my level of recognition and acceptance in the industry. Hence, I value being a part of both the local and the international engineering fraternity. 

My professional registrations have vested on me, the responsibility to operate within regulatory and ethical frameworks. Professional registration shapes and reshapes a person, and I always emphasise that the young engineers aspiring to registration should consider this fact with utmost responsibility.

I also have higher recognition when I deal with parties outside my industry, to get the best solutions for the organisation. Furthermore, regular updated knowledge on global trends and threats have been an advantage for improving the quality of decisions made by me which directly impact my employer.

Additionally, my professional registration  added value when I got my international professional roles such as Approved Chartered Assessor, Fellow Assessor, International Professional Registration Advisor, CPD Advisor, Academic Accreditor, Skill Editor and Reviewer, Council Member and, Executive Committee Member and most recently as a Member of the Technical Task Force in IT project and Cybersecurity of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) Austria. Registration  enables me to position myself within professional parameters that clearly makes a difference in dealing with the stakeholders.

How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
I often chair technical meetings and provide technical evaluations of tenders with industry leaders and executive-level professionals. Therefore, as an ambassador of my organisation I can add more weight and enhance confidence for my organisation which directly impact the business decisions and output.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
I would advise young professionals to first visualise the change a professional registration would create in your life. The change of mindset, the empowerment, the calibre of people you associate are just a few valuable additions that can make a significant difference in someone’s career. It is important to be committed and to continuously improve to achieve the status one aspires to reach. One can build a professional network that will directly enhance the career and the professional registration will help to think out of the box and find varied opportunities in life.

Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
I intend to complete my PhD research in the fields of “Quantum computing, AI and security frameworks with special attention to leadership challenges in driving Sustainability” to make an active contribution in the industry to lead organisations to be future ready, in a sustainable manner.

Also, I intend to initiate and spread the discussion on the challenge of aligning the human force with the security frameworks to fit the future quantum computing environment which is a fast-paced environment compared to the current generation of computing.  

Additionally, I intend to contribute to academia with scholarly journals in my area of research to ensure I disseminate this knowledge with more depth and breadth and to ultimately become a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng).

Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering? For example, do you participate in mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
I participate in the following activities:
International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) Austria
Member of the technical task force in IT project and Cybersecurity

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT – London UK
Assessor and Interviewer (for Engineering Council CEng & IEng level)                                          
Assessor and Interviewer (for BCS Fellowship level)                                                            
Assessor (for Science Council CSci level)                                                                                                
Skills Editor SFIAplus - BCS Learning and Development Limited UK                                   
Reviewer SFIAplus - BCS Learning and Development Limited UK                                      
Council Member in Specialist groups BCS London                                                                  
Committee Member BCS Learning & Development Specialist Group London                            

The Institution of Engineering and Technology – London UK
Assessor for CEng (Software, ICT, Electronic, Control & Semiconductor)                            
Assessor and interviewer (for IET Fellowship level)                                                             
Academic Accreditor                                                                                                                      
Interviewer for CEng (Software, ICT, Electronic, Control & Semiconductor)                           
International Professional Registration Advisor                                                                     
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Advisor                                                           
Member of the Registration Group (RG)                                                                                     

The Institution of Engineering and Technology, Wellington New Zealand
Executive Committee Member                                                                                                     

The Institution of Engineering and Technology, Sri Lanka          
Executive Committee Member                                                                                                     

Chartered Management Institute, United Kingdom
Executive Committee Member and Asst. Secretary