Career Reorientation: From the oil & gas industry to technology!

Farid Anooshehpour, June 28th, 2020

In my life, I have always wanted to try new challenges and I feel enormous pride in writing these lines since I have the feeling of accomplishment!

Arrival in Canada

I arrived in Canada in late 2012 as a PhD student in biomaterials engineering at Université Laval. My spouse joined me 6 months later to pursue a linguistic studies at the same university. I decided to leave my family, friends and my country, Iran, to explore new career opportunities. The kind of work I had been doing for 5 years as a project engineer in the oil and gas industry no longer pleased me. Due to the sanctions imposed on the country, the labor market became increasingly insecure. During those years, I tried to keep myself entertained by exploring other activities such as physical activity, like hiking, or taking courses in fields that interested me, such as IT.

From the beginning of my studies at Université Laval, I knew very well that there was no guarantee of employment for a PhD in the field of biomaterials, but I had no other choice. After 3 years working in a laboratory located in the basement of a hospital, I was going around in circles. The research topic was not well defined and there was a huge lack of devices. So I decided to end this experience in order to find a shortcut to the job market. I thus left the University at the end of 2016 with a master’s degree and with the firm intention of seizing my chance on the job market.

Landing a 1st job as an immigrant

It is always said that the first job is difficult to obtain, but I would like to point out that it is even more difficult for an immigrant who does not have his permanent residence status and who has no Canadian experience in the job market. , which was obviously my case. For more than 2 years, I sent hundreds of requests all over Quebec and Canada, I became a member of the Order of Engineers of Quebec who recognized my skills as an engineer and I also took a few courses to add to my CV. Believe it or not, despite more than 10 interviews, I have not received a single offer. For some of the positions, I was simply considered over-qualified and for others, I lacked experience on Canadian soil. During this almost 3 year period, I had to work in a cafe during the week and in a hotel, at night, on weekends to be able to make ends meet.

Questioning and Reorientation

More than 6 years after my arrival in Canada, and only one month after the birth of my first child, I finally received my permanent residence. However, as nothing unlocked despite the multiple additional interviews, I used my paternity leave to go visit my homeland and to think about my future. I decided to explore the field of technologies, firstly because we constantly hear how much this field is in shortage of important manpower, but also because I had always had a certain attraction for this industry. I started by taking an online course in front-end programming on Udemy. It was a good introduction, but I had heard about the concept of bootcamp and by digging a little on the web, I learned about the existence of CodeBoxx, which offers a 16-week bootcamp in Quebec and Montreal. It was a great opportunity for me! After some research, I signed up for the cohort that would start in January 2020.

The bootcamp

The bootcamp was quite a challenge! The intense workload and stress of weekly deliveries make the experience quite unique. Thanks to the dynamic atmosphere that reigns at CodeBoxx, the synergy that exists between the members of work teams and my motivation to fulfill my professional aspirations, I managed to reach the objectives, manage the stress and complete the bootcamp with success. I was fortunate to have the support of my little brother and his girlfriend, who have both worked in the field for a long time. And as if the road was not already sufficiently strewn with pitfalls, we had to negotiate with the COVID-19 pandemic that hit Quebec in mid-March. We were in the middle of the training when we learned that we were going to face an additional challenge, continuing the training remotely. The situation lasted until the end of the bootcamp, roughly 2 months. This training allowed me to familiarize myself with several technologies and concepts in the IT field which are essential in order to become a good full-stack developer. It’s worth it!

After CodeBoxx

Following the training, I took the initiative to apply on certain open positions, which were numerous. The result was incredible! Barely an hour after submitting my first application, I received a call to schedule an interview for a back-end developer position with a company that offers technology solutions for the healthcare sector. Despite several previous experiences applying for jobs, it was impressive to see the interest that the human resources department had for my resume, thanks, among other things, to the new skills that I acquired during my 4 months at CodeBoxx. My first opportunity has been the right one, since after doing the technical test and the interview with the team, I received a job offer which I accepted immediately.

In closing, I would like to suggest to all those who are thinking of reorienting themselves towards IT and who want to make a career quickly, to consider the intensive training of a few months like the bootcamp of CodeBoxx. We not only learn the latest technologies highly in-demand on the market, but we also develop our contact network and our soft skills. Dare to take risks and hold on to the end because the result is worth it!

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