We live in a digital era where almost all fields and industries from scientific research to forest and agriculture, biotechnology, environment, health, food, transportation, information and communication and construction rely heavily on technology. The technological advancements in these fields and industries have made the world a better, safer and faster place while enabling people to stay connected more than ever before.
Why study Technology?
Technology has become an essential part of our daily lives with most of us using some form of technology, whether it is our smart phone or laptop, on a daily basis. There is no doubt that our dependency on technology is only going to grow in the years to come. New ideas and innovations are integral for the survival and sustainable development of contemporary societies. Advancement in technologies contribute to the development, cultivation and renewal of knowledge and skills. This will pave the way to solve complex problems and change the way people live their lives across the world.
Technology is also considered to be a key component in STEM education.STEM refers to the integrated teaching and learning of the subjects in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and it has been a well-established approach to curriculum development for many years. However, out of these four main streams, it is the Technology stream that has gained significant attention over the recent years. A degree in Technology will always equip you with knowledge and skills not only to develop new technologies, but also to come up with innovative solutions to complex real-world problems.
Undergraduate degree programmes in Technology
Newly introduced Technology degree programmes in Sri Lanka consist of conventional and cutting-edge tools and techniques of modern technology, and state-of-the-art instrumentation. These degree programmes include excellent laboratory training sessions and workshops to produce industry-ready graduates who would then be able to gain employment as technologists.
It is important that a student understands both the basis of the subject matter and how to apply that knowledge to problems. Such abilities of application and critical thinking will enhance a graduate’s capacity to gain employment in the industry and become successful in their future careers. Therefore, the courses in these technology degree programmes are designed to include application of theoretical knowledge and concepts into ‘real world’ settings and scenarios.
Technology degrees are also creative and perfect for those of you who would like to venture into the world of entrepreneurship in a wide array of fields and industries. This is the reason as to why the Technology degrees have made the top of the list for entrepreneurs. Upon completion of a degree in Technology, students will have the ability to develop and apply new concepts to address various problems and challenges. They will also gain capabilities of solid scientific and analytical reasoning and decision-making with a desire to remain up to date with ongoing technologies.
Students who pursue their higher studies in the Technology stream at the university level have several degree programmes to choose from. These degrees include a diverse range of industry-based focus or specialty areas. The Faculty of Technology at the Sri Jayewardenepura University, which is also the first technology faculty in Sri Lanka, offers three bachelor’s degrees in Technology with specialties as shown in the table.
Jobs for technologists
With the continuous development of new technologies, there is a constant demand for technologists across the globe. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job opportunities for technologists will increase by 20 percent over the next 10 years. Yet, the degree programmes in the US are currently preparing only half of what is required by the industry.
Moreover, the demand for the next generation of skilled technologists in Sri Lanka is also growing. This is a clear indication of the potential need for future technologists. This means that jobs in the field of technology will continue to increase exponentially both locally and internationally. However, a proper estimation of open technology-based jobs in Sri Lanka is yet to be predicted.
Employers search for well-educated and highly skillful graduates who understand the current developments of technology to fill their technology-based jobs. Students who study technology in Sri Lanka will find that there is no shortage of demand for the knowledge and skills that they have acquired as part of their degree programme. Also, having a career as a technologist will offer you with a highly lucrative and life-rewarding experience.
Technology is part of our future. It is up to you, as the younger generation to decide how to use it to create a positive impact on our nation and subsequently, on the whole world.
(Dr. Rohan S. Dassanayake is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Biosystems Technology, Faculty of Technology, Sri Jayewardenepura University)