STOP Comparing Yourself to Others - How International Students Rise

Landing your dream job starts from within. Being an international student is not easy, many students said it takes a lot of courage to be in a new country and build their life from the grounds up.

We had the opportunity to get to know, Firda Wijaya, a Junior Software Developer at Operto Guest Technology. She shared her story in breaking through her own fear and how she landed her dream job.

EMPOWER: What is the most challenging aspects of being an international student?

For me personally, I think one of the most challenging aspect comes from myself in which whether or not I believe in “me”. “Me” that can do, try, fail, get up and learn then succeed to land in my dream job.

EMPOWER: What is your story, can you share how you get to where you are today?

This is a journey of me in learning how to encourage myself to keep believe in me:

I came to Canada as an International student in 2015, started my education at Fraser International College, continuing my degree in Simon Fraser University a year after pursuing Bachelor of Applied Science major in Mechatronic Systems Engineering. My journey started when I chose engineering program in SFU.

In the program, students were required to complete a one-year cooperative program. I still remembered questioning myself, will I be able to do it? Do I have enough experience? What makes them (industrial companies) to hire an international co-op student? I mean, one thing I know for sure that there is more paperwork for the company to hire international students than Canadians. Moreover, everybody in my university, studies the exact same thing, what makes me more stand out than other students?

Those questions always lingered in my head, up to the point I realize, I need to better prepare for this coming storm. I started to think that I need to get more involved and be more experienced in what I do. I took my first step by joining the IT Squad Team at Fraser International College (FIC), there, I gained my first technical related experience as a volunteer.

Firda Wijaya

I also believe that developing non-technical aspects such as professionalism and integrity are as important as having technical skills to develop my confidence level.

Thus, I decided to join FIC Act, as well as Simon Fraser University Indonesia Association in 2015, which I became the president from 2016-2017. My journey in finding the right career path did not stop there, I have to delay one semester to get my first co-op work term.

  • I first get hired by Shield-X Technology (a research company by SFU) as a prototype intern. There I learned how to develop my hands-on skill in which made me very handy in dealing with machines.

  • After working with Shield-X, I got hired by General Electric Digital as Cloud DevOps intern, in which exposed me with the cloud IoT technology.

  • After my 8 months internship with GE Digital, I decided to pursue my career in cloud architecture after graduation, though cloud architecture is fairly new in tech industry, I believe that the power of cloud infrastructure will become the core of automation in the future. Moreover, after doing many volunteer activities within the organizations, it helps me a lot in adapting to new environment, especially in working with different personalities at work.

  • I finished my bachelor degree in Applied Science on August 2019, and currently working as junior software developer at Operto Guest Technology.

I always believe that

I am the only person that can motivate me to conquer my problems.

Life is dynamic and everyone has their own rhythm, I don’t want to waste my time comparing myself to others and don’t complain. Also, it is important to always have a faith in yourself to create your own wonder. I believe that self-confidence and success comes one after another. I always think that no matter what obstacle I may face, there will be one way to solve it, either it became a successful story or it becomes a part of successful journey.

You can get in touch with Firda on Instagram: @wijayafirda

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