Silvia is currently a Software Developer at Traction Complete and one of our past #PowerHack participants. PowerHack is a hackathon event organized by IEC-BC and our employer partners. In the following interview, Silvia shares her journey as a PowerHack participant and how she faced obstacles to landing her current job. She wants to help others in the community.
Q: How did you learn about IEC-BC?
A: I lost my job during the pandemic and needed help with my job search. I contacted Work BC, and one of the suggestions was to register in IEC-BC’s PowerHack. That is how I learned about the organization.
Q: Can you describe how your participation in PowerHack helped you?
A: PowerHack connected me with my current employer. It has been almost five months since I started my new job. I am super happy with the opportunity I received. I love what I do, I work alongside a talented team, and everyone I work with is super supportive. I dare to say this is the best place I have worked so far in my life! I can see myself working there for many years to come.
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of being involved with IEC-BC’s PowerHack program?
A: The most rewarding part of being involved with PowerHack was the support I received from the IEC-BC team. When you speak with IEC-BC’s team members, you are talking to someone that genuinely cares about you and wants to help you succeed! It means a lot for someone who might be new to Canada or needs extra help. The personal touch goes a long way.
I had been trying to find a new job for many months, with no success. I kept thinking if I should accept my defeat and that maybe I was not good enough and should give up on my dream career. When I read the technical skills required to participate in PowerHack, I thought I was not qualified.
I replied to the IEC-BC team’s invitation thanking them and explained why I did not think I would be suitable for PowerHack. The team called me back and convinced me to participate despite my self-doubt.
During the event, I was beginning to doubt myself, but the IEC-BC team kept me motivated. I cannot stress enough the difference it makes when someone believes in you. Especially, after all the barriers and difficulties a new immigrant goes through.
Q: Can you tell me some of the biggest challenges you faced as a newcomer looking to integrate into the BC labour market?
A: One of the biggest challenges I faced was convincing potential employers of my capabilities. Employers tend to doubt your skills when you speak less than perfect English and have difficulties explaining complex concepts in English. My impression is that some employers believe you cannot handle complex subjects because they are using your competency to communicate in English to measure your aptitude in other areas.
Having job references is also very important for one’s success in the job market. As a newcomer, local references are not readily available to you. This can make landing your first job in your field of study a bit more challenging.
Q: What advantages do you think highly skilled immigrants can bring to BC’s labour market?
A: There is a shortage of skilled professionals in specific in-demand industries such as technology. Immigrants arrive in Canada with transferable skills. Most, if not all, highly skilled immigrants can fill these roles with little or no training needed. Immigrants with work experience as software engineers, computer programmers, or web developers are expanding British Columbia’s tech talent pool.
PowerHack is a virtual hackathon event from the Immigrant Employment Council of BC that allows employers to connect with highly skilled immigrant talents in the Information & Technology sector.
Interested in changing the lives of immigrant professionals? To learn more visit, https://powerhack.ca/.