July 22 - 28, 2002


Muhammad Ilyas Padela is currently associated with Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET). He has twenty plus years experience in the area of Information Technology (IT), Business Intelligence, e-CRM, e-Commerce, e-Business, Data Warehousing, Infrastructure Architecture, Database Administration and Application Design. This include Project Management, Quality Assurance, Implementation and Delivering of systems using Catalyst, Summit-D, Zachman and other methodologies. He has a proven track record of bringing complex Business Intelligence e-commerce, e-Business, MIS, EIS and CIS for pharmaceutical, insurance, banking, brokerage and healthcare systems. Earlier he has worked for Bankers Equity and United Bank in Pakistan and Computer Task Group, New York, Citicorp, National Westminster and Bradford National Corporation of the USA.


PAGE: You have mostly worked for corporates or more precisely for financial institutions. How do you correlate your association with SSUET?

Muhammad Ilyas Padela: Financial sector has been the oldest and the most extensive user of computer technology globally. As the world moves towards e-Commerce, banking systems have to incorporate the system that can facilitate secured transactions. The websites of corporates have to be linked with the systems working at financial institutions. Pakistani corporates and regulators are making efforts to bring use of technology in the country at par with rest of the world. Therefore, the biggest challenge is to face the global realities and prepare our own people to meet these challenges.

PAGE: What is your assignment at SSUET?

Muhammad Ilyas Padela: My prime responsibility is to re-engineer the curriculum of the University, bring it more closer to real life needs, provide on the job training to prepare the outgoing graduates to face today's challenge. Information Technology is a discipline where the rate of obsolescence is the highest. As more and improvised computer hardware and software are being made available we face twin problems: 1) knowing more about the emerging technologies and 2) preparing our future IT professionals to become leaders in software development. Knowing the most about computer architecture or building blocks does not serve the purpose. Having the knowledge to make the best use of available technologies is a must.

PAGE: How does the GoP's IT Policy facilitate in achieving the targets you consider the most important?

Muhammad Ilyas Padela: Let us accept the fact that the GoP is striving hard to create massive awareness about the importance of IT in our daily life. The first step of making computers affordable has been achieved. The next step is to facilitate establishment of IT education institutes those can produce IT literate for taking positions in future. This can be achieved by making curriculum more interactive by blending book knowledge with real life experience. In my own opinion, an important facet was missing in the past, training of trainers. As I have said earlier, IT is the only discipline where knowledge become obsolete very fast, if regular and extensive refresher courses are not undertaken by the trainers.

PAGE: With the growing demand for IT professionals, the country has witnessed mushroom growth of training institutes. Are they doing any service to the society?

Muhammad Ilyas Padela: Partly yes and partly no. They are contributing by offering operational training for commonly used programmes and creating awareness about the magic of computer. However, a large number of these institutes impart training about out-dated programmes or follow obsolete curriculum. Therefore, when the kids come out of these institutes they mostly lack knowledge and expertise to become part of corporate environment. The most desired strategy should be to introduce uniform curriculum, emphasize on quality of faculty and use of state-of-the art technology. They can be achieved by following accreditation policy. While the government has to do the most, it is also the responsibility of students and their parents to find out the credentials of training institutes.

PAGE: How one can overcome this problem?

Muhammad Ilyas Padela: IT training can be divided into two parts: 1) basic knowledge and 2) formal education. One can acquire basic knowledge through these institutes as well as distant learning, e-Education. However, then one should go to institutes of highest repute like SSUET. Students should visit our website and know more about internet-based learning facility at SSUET. The students who wish to become professionals should spend more time on learning because classroom lectures have to be supplemented by advanced knowledge and on the job training.