In my career, I’ve been searching for a role that lets me accomplish two things. First, I want to help improve peoples’ lives. Second, I want to drive innovation through technology. I recently found a program that’s allowing me to pursue both of these passions.
Before COVID-19, I worked as an Actuarial Analyst, which analyzes the financial risks of a business. I liked the role, but after a while it became clear that many of the repetitive tasks I performed could (and likely would) eventually be replaced by programming logic. That realization was the first of several that drove home the value of digital skills training.
After developing intermediate skills in coding and app development, I founded and operated my own international parcel delivery service. But, with shipping channels and global supply chains destabilized by the pandemic, my business became unsustainable.
I knew that I wanted to build my career in Vancouver’s tech scene, be it with one of the many innovative companies founded here or in a tech-focused role with a non-tech organization. I had already completed my bachelor’s degree in mathematics, but realized that wouldn’t be enough to help me stand out from the very deep, talented pool of potential candidates for many of Vancouver’s employers.
So, when the pandemic upended my personal business I decided to take a step back, find an opportunity that would be personally fulfilling in the short-term and, at the same time, look for the right way to upskill to give myself an edge in one of Vancouver’s hottest marketplaces. I knew it wouldn’t happen overnight, but that if I committed to waiting for the right opportunity it would eventually happen.
I joined a local food delivery service to ensure people could receive hot meals with minimal health risk. I continued delivering meals until the beginning of 2022, when I heard about a program Amazon Web Services (AWS) has called AWS re/Start, which was being offered through BC Tech’s employment network.
I decided it was the right opportunity to seriously upgrade my digital and cloud skills, and that AWS re/Start was the best venue for me to earn certification, receive career coaching and build bridges with employers in Vancouver’s growing tech scene. It also meant a great deal to me that the 4-month program was free.
Youth Employment Services (YES), a Toronto-based organization, operates the AWS re/Start in Vancouver. Along with the AWS digital skills training, I also had access to YES’s customized career-building skills program, which includes even more career coaching, mentorship and access to employment resources.
The program structure works. I was able to get extensive hands-on experience via guided labs and skills challenges, which ensured my comprehension of cloud computing and helped build my overall confidence. I was able to benefit from our experienced instructor’s accessibility and openness in answering our questions no matter the time of day, and my career coach was always offering to help with resume-building and cover letter writing so I could better connect with potential employers.
The way AWS packaged the supporting skills certifications, from learning Python to network security, meant I was able to explore several career paths on my own and get a sense of what different roles might look like.
Now that I’ve completed AWS re/Start, I’m volunteering with a local tech startup and pursuing a full-time role that makes use of my newly acquired digital skills in cloud computing and programming. I continue to build on my foundation through further certification.