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IT@UofT People — Sarosh Jamal

ITS team member Sarosh Jamal pictured in his Toronto condo with one of his custom wood furniture projects.

The backbone of any successful team is its hard-working people. The University of Toronto’s Information Technology Services (ITS) division is privileged to employ outstanding individuals with diverse talents that extend beyond work-related education and skills.

In this segment, entitled IT@UofT People, we will get to know our IT@UofT team across the tri-campus community and find out more about their hidden or not-so-hidden talents and/or pursuits outside of work.

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Name: Sarosh Jamal

Department: Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions, currently on secondment to Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration.

Title: DevOps Administrator, and Software Infrastructure & Operations Lead to the Next Generation Student Information Services (NGSIS)/Systems, Applications and Products (SAP) Platform Modernization projects.

How long have you worked at U of T?
Next year, it will officially be 15 years.

What is your secret or not-so-secret talent?
The involvement I’m most known for is on the community front. I’ve always enjoyed making connections and taking time to volunteer and get to know my community. When I first started out at U of T as a staff member, I volunteered at the Engineering Career Fair and the Ontario Universities Fair. The latter involvement spanned 10 years and even though I’ve never worked as a recruiter, the fair is something I’d highly encourage and recommend all staff to partake in during their time at U of T. It’s a great way to interact with our faculty, academic support staff and above all, the really inspiring and aspiring incoming student cohorts.

You’ve also held formal committee and council roles; can you explain these?
In my time at U of T, I’ve served on environmentally-focused outreach committees, staff experience teams, served as employee chair for the U of T United Way campaigns and now serve as governor for our staff constituency on Governing Council. I’ve also held executive roles on my condo corporation board, and at the Faculty Club, U of T. All of these roles have taught me so much from my peers and allowed me to give back in a small way.

What is your inspiration for all of these pursuits?
The focus I maintain is that outreach and stewardship are important for staying connected with our community, we should have the long view and our governance should be defined by fair process. They can truly be a fulfilling set of experiences.

Do you have any hobbies outside of community work that your colleagues may not be aware of?
On a more personal note, I like planning out and implementing wood-working projects. We live in a condo in Toronto and the neighbours aren’t as forgiving about my use of power tools so I borrow garage workspace from family in Mississauga and Hamilton on weekends. In the last few years, I’ve built new coffee tables from scratch, an eight-foot credenza — which will have to be dismantled if we ever have to move residences again! — and refinished a dresser for my wife. I have to give a big shout-out to our colleague Pete St. Onge, who I turn to for project advice and the odd pieces of his impressive power tool collection, when I need a spare tool. Currently, I’m saving up for a lathe and carving tools as I have a couple of wood-spinning projects in mind for friends who are retiring.

On my digital front, ever since obtaining my masters where I implemented data mining methods, I’ve been tinkering around with small data projects, mapping real estate prices (haven’t we all?) and recreating reports from R-Bloggers.com. It’d be great to tackle a real competition challenge on Kaggle.com someday. (If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a great community site for public datasets and competitions that is appealing for all enterprising data scientists).

~ Published: July 2020