By Brendon Phuong. Krithik UdayaShankar, business systems analyst at UCLA, recently shared his journey navigating the professional world through his work at UCLA IT, and his personal experiences playing cricket. Krithik has been at UCLA for since 2021. As a member of the Financial Aid Cloud and Environmental Technology (FACET) team, he is deeply involved in writing Business Requirement Documents (BRD), data mapping, and testing. His preliminary focus is on streamlining financial aid processes and establishing a solid baseline for operations. In addition to his day job, UdayaShankar maintains a vibrant lifestyle, balancing his passion for work and his dedication to cricket, a sport popular in India and now gaining global recognition, as he explains in a recent interview with the UC IT news team.
A Deep Dive Into UdayaShankar’s Work in IT
In my work, I am responsible for creating business requirements documents (BRD) and data mapping documents that outline the data that the development team needs. My latest projects include the Cal Grant and the Middle-Class Scholarship.
This serves as the basis for building a data mapping document, which specifies the fields required for the database, such as first name, last name, and social security number, along with their data types, lengths, and naming conventions. The development team then uses this data mapping document to create Extensible Markup Language (XMLs) for students which will be loaded into Admin, Student, and Business Intelligence (BI) Portals. Once these are ready, my team and I conduct testing to ensure the data aligns with the specified criteria. It was initially challenging for me to work on the data mapping document since it was my first time working on it, but I managed to complete it successfully.
My work revolves around facilitating seamless data collection and ensuring the accuracy of information critical to supporting students’ financial aid endeavors.
The University of California System and an appreciation for the diversity of thinking
What I appreciate the most about the UC system is its openness to new ideas and suggestions. This receptiveness to brainstorming and understanding perspectives is key because it allows for potential breakthroughs and significant advancements. Whether the ideas come from students, faculty, or any other source, UCLA encourages an environment of collaboration and analysis. This approach has led to a high success rate and showcases the quality and brilliance of both the students and employees at the university.
From India to the Information Technology Services team at UCLA
- Educational Background: I have an undergraduate degree in Information Science and Engineering from the National Institute of Engineering, Mysore, and a master’s degree in Computer Information Systems from the Florida Institute of Technology. This combination of theoretical knowledge and development skills motivated me to bridge the gap between business and technical aspects of IT.
- Constantly Learning: I find the constant learning process in the IT field exciting. I prioritize staying updated on new technologies like ChatGPT. At my job at UCLA, I have gained valuable experience in the entire IT project cycle, from business requirement documents to development and testing. I’m eager to explore more roles, such as project management and leadership.
- Leadership Development: I admire the leadership at UCLA as they provide a positive work environment, encourage open discussions, and value individual input and ideas. Working with supportive leaders like Ming Fu (Program Director, FACET), Susan Dimotakis (Project Director), Abraham Varghese (Manager of Admissions Financial Aid), Santhana Srinivasan (Business Systems Analyst Lead), and Anu Manerikar (Testing Lead) has made my experience at UCLA enjoyable and fulfilling.
Views on excellence in leadership – Key ingredients
Effective leaders provide direction, inspiration, and guidance. They exhibit courage, confidence, and commitment. The leaders that I work with at UCLA nurture my strengths and help me reach my full potential. Here are some takeaways:
- Great leaders don’t overwhelm us with pressure. They rather encourage us to take our time to learn and excel in our roles.
- They exude positivity and create an atmosphere of support, allowing individuals to openly discuss and share their own perspectives without fear of judgment or limitations.
- They are forward-looking and don’t doubt your capabilities.
- They welcome new ideas, fostering an environment of freedom and individuality.
How a dedication to cricket has supported UdayaShankar’s growth
I love playing cricket, a sport that is popular in India and now gaining global recognition, and have been playing cricket since I was ten years old. I recently achieved a huge milestone of scoring over 10,000 runs in USA Cricket and gave an interview with the American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah for this achievement.
At Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), I remained dedicated to playing cricket while balancing my academic pursuits. Initially, I thought cricket opportunities would be limited in the U.S., but surprisingly, I played even more cricket in America than back in India. Even in my busy academic and professional life, I am the captain for teams in the Northern California Cricket Association (NCCA) and the Bay Area Cricket Association (BACA), two of the largest leagues in Northern California. Cricket has always been an essential part of my life, and I believe it has positively impacted my academic performance and overall well-being.
Surprisingly, I found that when I engaged in both activities, my grades improved significantly compared to when I solely focused on my studies.
“Having a healthy diversion and engaging in sports helped me stay refreshed and more focused throughout my career and I hope to continue doing so.”
Appreciations for the UC IT blog news – visits every single link
Yes, I do read the UC IT blog regularly. I eagerly wait for new blog posts, especially when they mention courses, which I then register for, or topics related to my work. I make sure to go through every single link and stay on top of the latest information. It’s crucial to be up-to-date in this field, and I find this particular newsletter to be a valuable resource for that.
Making connections – reach out to UdayaShankar
Laurel Skurko, the interviewer for this article, also contacted Lloyd Jodah, the founder and President of American College Cricket who commented “Thank you, Laurel. Your kind words are particularly welcoming coming from outside the cricket community. Krithik was an awesome contributor to American College Cricket.”
UdayaShankar also is looking forward to connecting with members of the UC Tech community. Please feel free to reach out to him on LinkedIn at Krithik Udayashankar, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clockwise, Cole Groom and Feriel Bouricha, Feedback Fruits, Krithik Udayashankar, UCLA, and Laurel Skurko, UC Office of the President, during a UC Tech community networking session after the July, 2023 UC Tech Awards Ceremony.
Gathering among UC Tech colleagues at the UC Tech Conference, July 2023, UC Berkeley.
Business Systems Analyst
Marketing & Communications Intern
UC Office of the President