Navjit had ambitions to progress in his life and career but found that India didn’t offer the opportunities he was looking for. So, he made the decision to move to Canada in 2015. Since technology is evolving at a rapid pace, Canada’s tech sector has become the fastest growing industry in the country. This presented Navjit with a golden opportunity to restart his career as an IT professional.
Although Navjit held a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) in Mechanical Engineering, he shifted to IT early on in his career and was able to accumulate six years of experience handling hardware related issues, writing documentation and optimizing system performance.
Navjit arrived in Brampton, a city his brother had relocated to after attending university in British Columbia. Moving from Delhi to Brampton was a little shocking for Navjit. He was accustomed to the noise that only a crowded city with more than 11 million people like Delhi could produce.
“At the beginning, I had mixed feelings about Brampton since I came from Delhi. It took some time to get used to it,” says Navjit.
Since IT is not a regulated profession in Canada, Navjit started looking for a job soon after arrival. However, he didn’t realize he would soon face his biggest challenge yet: the Canadian job market. “It’s very different how it works here compared to India. It took me three months to understand the job market. Especially [when it comes to] what employers were looking for.”
Luckily, Navjit received a lot of feedback during his job search. “I talked a lot with recruiters,” he says. “They told me what I was missing and what I needed to improve. They helped me understand the job market.”
Armed with this information, Navjit realized he needed to update his professional knowledge of information technology. He found the IT Infrastructure Bridging Program at Humber College. However, paying for it turned out to be challenging because he didn’t have much money at the time.
When Navjit visited Humber College, the staff told him about Windmill Microlending. That’s when Navjit realized he had found Windmill online once before. Navjit applied for the loan, which he used to help pay for the bridging program.
It was during his fourth week at Humber College that Navjit got a job as a contractor with one of the three largest banks in Canada. For over a year, he worked in Linux system management, the same type of work he was doing in India.
Then, a permanent position opened up at the bank. “They were looking for a DevOps Specialist. That was completely different from what I was doing as a contractor because it was a support role. The hiring manager talked to my manager, who explained that I should be considered based on the work I was doing. So, the hiring manager was willing to give me a chance even though I didn’t have any experience,” recalls Navjit.
More than two years later, Navjit, who continues working as a DevOps Specialist at the bank, reflects on his professional journey: “Even though I had various IT certifications from India and several years of experience in my field, having Canadian credentials is extremely important to get a job. In this country, employers don’t solely look for technical skills.”
In Navjit’s case, receiving a certificate of achievement was vital. During the bridging program, he not only gained industry-specific concepts and skills, he also acquired knowledge of labour market trends, workplace culture and communication in Canada.
Although Navjit doesn’t look back negatively on the challenges he faced in Canada, he now believes he could have done a few things differently. He recommends that newcomers become familiarized with how the Canadian job market works and what types of credentials may or may not be recognized here before making the move to Canada.