Pivoting Paths: Kareem's Journey from Engineering to Software Development
Kareem's transition from petroleum engineering to software development underscores the importance of adaptability, networking, and community support in career development. His involvement with CITI highlights the value of meaningful work aligned with personal values. Kareem's journey reflects resilience and the significance of professional communities in achieving career goals.
His Professional Story: A Shift in Career and Purpose
Kareem started his career journey by studying petroleum engineering in university but soon after made the decision to change his plans when COVID-19 hit causing oil prices to drop drastically and layoffs to be more common than ever. Making the change to software development soon after and has been working in that field ever since. Kareem believes his purpose is giving back to the community as much as possible whether that be through traditionally building software development or teaching others what he has learned throughout his career journey. Building connections, hard work and authenticity are all things that he values in and out of the career sphere of his life.
Career Advice: Embracing Confidence and Networking
Kareem knows from experience how scary it can be looking for a career especially if you are right out of school or pivoting industries. He believes that having confidence in yourself is an important aspect to a successful career journey. Being bold enough to start conversations with people and network as often as possible helps increase the likelihood of being referred back to in the future when the people you have networked with are looking to hire.
Lessons Learned: The Importance of Networking
The biggest regret of Kareems in terms of his early career search was not networking enough. He thinks the best way to learn about a possible career is by simply talking to people who already work in that area.
“I went to this conference a few months ago, and it was about technology and medical health and so on, and the panel speakers were talking about their experience in the medical industry. I don’t know anything about the medical industry, so I could search things up online, I could try to read some articles or watch some videos but hearing them talk about theirs stories in their careers, their ups and downs, and just life day to day is so much more useful to because now I know if I wanted to get into the medical industry these are the types of thing I would be dealing with.”
Joining CITI: Seeking Community and Opportunity
Kareem was looking to expand his network when he first came across posts about CITI through Zac Novaks LinkedIn. He was intrigued by the many events hosted by CITI encouraging engagement and building a community as well as assisting members in their search for a meaningful career. He also saw an opportunity when posts popped up discussing looking to expand more in the Toronto area and has since thoroughly enjoyed his time at CITI.
The Impact of CITI: Beyond Just a Job
The greatest benefit Kareem has been given by CITI has easily been the community aspect. “I think what distinguishes CITI from other communities is the fact that CITI is focused on helping you find a meaningful career. –I think that that is one of the most important things because it's not just about getting a job.” “Finding a meaningful career, something you are proud (of), something you like to talk about, something that resonates with what your values are is extremely important and it's not that easy. –And I think CITI fosters that ability for you to learn about people's stories, learn about their experience, learn about their careers and helps you get closer to finding a meaningful career.”
Future Aspirations: Continuing the Tech Exploration
Kareem is not sure where he wants to go next with his career as he is very happy with the position he currently holds. “Right now I'm working as a software engineer and I’m also teaching on the side.”
He hopes in the near future to be able to go back to school in a software related area or possibly get another role in a different sector from what he currently does in the medical tech or in educational tech but he does still want to continue his exploration in the tech industry.