I am a SriVaishnavite by birth, and am keen on learning the Visistadvaita system of Ramanuja and Vedanta Desika, which is the basis of our Vadakalai Iyengar Sampradaya. Whats a good place to start for a beginner? I don't really have any background in philosophy, and am a student of computer science. Do I need to go through Dvaita and Advaita first as prerequisites, or can I directly pick up Visistadvaita? Any resources, references and ideas are welcome.
First of all read Purusha Suktam, It reveals Identity of Veda Purusha Shriman Naryana and encourages us to follow the karma yoga by doing kainkarya (sewa) to Veda Purusha and Uphold Dharma.
This was the prerequisite now the main sanctum sanatorium of Vishitadvaita Temple i.e Sri Bhasya.
Then dive into the divine three secrets, by reading Rahasyatrayasara of Kavitrakika Simha Vedantaacharya aka Vedanta Deshikacharya.
For an overview of the philosophy, please read VN Gopala Desikan's "A Dialogue on Hinduism" available here
I you can understand Tamil, I also strongly recommend the Guru Parampara lecture series of Natteri Sri Rajagopalachariar available here. It covers the hagiography of the Perumal->Ramanuja->Desika->Andavan Periyashramam sampradayam with significant time spent on Ramanuja and Desika.