Faculty of Applied Science & Technology
Degree: Computer Systems Technology
Year of graduation: 2014
Computer systems technology grad Dilip Muthukrishnan likes to learn. He holds multiple degrees in computers, math, religion and education, and he’s fascinated with both the theoretical and the practical. Born in India, Muthukrishnan lived in Kuwait until the Gulf War disrupted his father’s chemical engineering work. After coming to Canada, Muthukrishnan was in grade six when he inherited a Commodore 64 from his older brother and became interested in programming. “I got my feet wet with some Basic, but wasn’t really thinking of computer science as a career,” he says.
After a final move to Mississauga in the mid-1990s, Muthukrishnan began considering his future options. He originally studied economics at the University of Toronto, but switched to math in his second year, with a double minor in statistics and religion. At that point, he started developing a more serious interest in mathematical theory and graduate work. “My brother introduced me to fractals and it changed my life,” he laughs. After completing a Master’s in mathematics at The University of Western Ontario, Muthukrishnan considered becoming a teacher, completing a Bachelor of Education at University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education before deciding that the classroom management aspects were not a good fit.
In January 2011, he made another change when he picked up a book on programming in Java, and taught himself the basics of the language. Intrigued, he enrolled in Sheridan. “It was the best decision I’ve ever made, job-wise,” he says. “It gave me a practical foundation to build a career.”
At Sheridan, Muthukrishnan found a fellow math aficionado in professor Ed Sykes, whom he worked with on his capstone project building an interactive game for audiences to play in movie theatres. “He brought projects to us that were really novel and interesting and fun,” he says of Sykes. “It helped me appreciate what it’s like to apply something to the real world and how amazing it could turn out.”
While at school, Muthukrishnan also made connections that led to an iOS developer and project manager role at PointerWare Innovations Ltd., a startup company that received federal funding through Sheridan’s Centre for Elder Research to develop iOS apps for seniors. “I was doing exactly what I loved – using the logical elements of things and creating things that people can use and improve lives,” he says. “It had a higher purpose and it felt good.”
Interested in learning more about the corporate world, Muthukrishnan then entered the world of banking, first as a co-op student in an IT solutions developer role at TD Canada Trust’s Direct Channels Technology Solution. In 2015 he began his current position as a programmer analyst at Scotiabank. Today, he uses his myriad of educational opportunities in a variety of ways, applying the logic and organizational methods of mathematics and programming to real-world business applications and websites, as well as using components of his teaching background to explain complex systems and translate technical issues to help people.
Although his path wasn’t a linear one, Muthukrishnan has no regrets. “Studying as much as I did is not something everyone has a chance to do,” he says. “To do a deep dive into something like math – a 2,000 year subject that lies at the heart of human civilization – and to pursue the academic side of things as well as practical elements is ideal.”