We love catching up with our alumni, to talk about life after BCIT, their careers, and what tips they have for prospective and current students. In this Q&A, meet Computer Information Technology (CIT) and award-winning grad Adel Kuanysheva, who graduated with a Diploma in 2022.

Learn more about Computing full-time Diploma programs and join us for an online Info Session on Monday, February 12, at 5:30.

What led you to BCIT?

I was born and raised in Toronto, but I’ve always had my sights set on living in beautiful British Columbia. Armed with a mathematics degree from the University of Toronto, I grappled with a profound sense of uncertainty and directionlessness, standing at the intersection of academia and the real world.

Seeking purpose, I took a job at a local bike shop, but rather than finding clarity, I encountered a disheartening sense of being adrift. The contrast between the structured academic environment and the ambiguity of post-graduate life left me feeling lost until I stumbled upon BCIT.

I chose BCIT because of its strong reputation for hands-on, practical education. The CIT program appealed to me because it offers a comprehensive curriculum covering various topics, which I felt would give me a solid foundation for my career. Even now, I frequently revisit my notes. 

How did you benefit from the program?

The program has been an absolute game-changer for me, bringing immense benefits that have shaped my life. It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s been life-changing.

Thanks to this program, I’ve gained valuable technical skills and industry knowledge and formed connections with peers and instructors that have proven invaluable.

The hands-on experience through labs and projects has been instrumental, effectively preparing me for real-world challenges.

The program has undoubtedly opened doors, introduced me to a network of professionals, and connected me with my current employer, making it a truly transformative experience.

What was a highlight during the program?

The Industry Sponsored Student Project (ISSP) was undeniably the pinnacle of my BCIT experience. Crossing paths with sponsor Travis Stevenson marked a turning point in my career. Beyond being an excellent person to work for, Travis has become a guiding influence from whom I’m always learning. I attribute a substantial portion of this opportunity to BCIT.

ISSP provided a fantastic platform for honing my project management skills within a technical setting. We engaged in an Agile Methodology sprint-style project, and our team constructed a standalone desktop application tailored for efficient data entry, exclusively designed for internal use by Wattch Fitness.

Adel bottom second from left with her team and sponsor after winning the CIT ISSP Expo in April 2022

The wealth of learning from this experience has seamlessly translated into my day-to-day responsibilities, where I continue to apply the skills developed during that program.

Any other experiences that stood out?

Another highlight was receiving the 2022 BC Tech scholarship award based on a personal essay showcasing my enthusiasm for the technology sector, active participation in the tech community, and my ambition to make a meaningful impact on the future of technology.

Attending the BC Tech Awards was a remarkable experience where I connected with leaders in the technology industry. Thanks to BCIT’s newsletters, I became aware of such opportunities, and honestly, if it weren’t for that, I might not have applied.

I strongly encourage fellow students to always watch for such opportunities—it’s a great way to foster personal and professional growth!

Speaking of advice, do you have any other tips for (prospective) students?

  1. First and foremost, – prioritize sleep! The importance of maintaining good health during your time at school cannot be overstated. Get moving, exercise, and pay attention to what your body needs.
  2. Don’t hesitate to ask questions—even if you think they might sound basic. Remember, everyone starts somewhere!
  3. Stay organized; plenty of software tools are available to help. Stay actively involved in your studies, and maximize BCIT’s resources.
  4. Building connections with professors and fellow students can open doors to valuable opportunities in the industry.
  5. Proactively seek internships and co-op opportunities through your networks. These practical experiences are often a foot in the door. Don’t forget, your network is a goldmine—nurture it, seek mentorship, and contribute value in return.
  6. Never downplay the power of soft skills like communication and teamwork. These are often the skills that employers are looking for during interviews. Technical skills are necessary, but the dynamic blend of technical and soft skills shapes a well-rounded candidate.
  7. Lastly, approach your career with an open mind; it may lead you down unexpected and highly rewarding paths. Wishing the best of luck to current, past, and future students!