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Waleed Zahra – Senior IT Technician, Lucid Networks Corp

Waleed is a Palestinian who was living in Jordan at the time of his graduation where he had completed his Bachelors of Science degree in Computing Technology. After graduating, Waleed worked as an IT Supervisor for close to three years. Thereafter, he was promoted and worked as the head of his company’s IT division. Despite his career success at the time, Waleed was deeply unhappy with the living conditions in Jordan. After a comprehensive research of his immigration options, he decided to move to Canada. Through his research, he found that the Canadian government assisted newcomers greatly through settlement programs, employment assistance, subsidized bridging programs and such. This was a significant motivator for him to immigrate to Canada specifically. “Canada is a place where you find peace and freedom, that’s why I chose to live in this country. It gives you the opportunity to improve your knowledge, build your career and find happiness,” says Waleed. Those benefits helped him get a start in this new country but it still wasn’t easy for him to achieve success according to his own standards.

Being a newcomer to Canada, he wasn’t entirely sure of where to even begin looking for a job. He searched for a job in the field of IT but wasn’t successful. Despite his best efforts at the time, he only got a job as a general laborer. Working in this role challenged and motivated him to improve his skills for something better. However, there was still a language barrier. English is not his first language, so he had to strive to make improvements in this area if he was to even make a good impression. Like so many other newcomers, he also found the harsh winters here unbearable. It would definitely take some getting used to. The same could be said for the culture shock he faced when he got here. “There is a difference in culture from back home, so this new Canadian lifestyle surprised me!”

Even though he felt like he was losing in this game of fate, he decided to give it one more roll of the dice. He enrolled in Humber’s IT Infrastructure Bridging Program (formerly known as Mobile Systems Integration). “I believe that Humber College played a great role in my success. I got more self-confident after I graduated from my Mobile Systems Integration program.” The addition of a Canadian credential to his resume gave him the confidence to start looking for IT jobs again. After all, that was what he envisioned his career would look like once he moved to Canada. “It was important for me to refresh my professional background then improve my skills positively. After this course, I learned advanced concepts and skills, specializing in virtualization and operating systems. The MSI program contained a number of cumulative elements that I needed to push me in the right direction so I could search for a job.”

After graduating from the program, Waleed worked at Humber College as a Linux RedHat 6.0 Lab Assistant to enhance his technical skills in the field. He knew he was destined for more, so he kept up his job search. That’s when he found out about the vacancy at Lucid Networks Corporation in Timmins, Ontario. He applied online and soon enough he got the job as a Senior IT Technician. After a string of survival jobs, he finally found his dream role and achieved it. “I feel really good about it because it’s not a job, it’s a career.” says a grateful Waleed. He believes that he is now on track to achieve everything he dreamed of achieving when he first moved to Canada.

When asked what advice he would give to newcomers in a similar position that he was in, he responded methodically, “First, focus on improving your skills as much as possible from the day you land in Canada. The government here offers help to newcomers through Bridging Programs, Job Assistance and Free Language courses. Make use of this support to build your career. Also make sure to get your credentials ready, keep all your study materials handy, make a business card and LinkedIn profile; these are all important keys to make connections and search for jobs.”

The IT Infrastructure Bridging Program is made available through funding from the Government of Ontario and Government of Canada.

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