Roelle Kim graduated from the Computer Systems Technology (CST) Diploma Predictive Analytics Option in 2021 and works at SAP as a Full-Stack web developer. She told us what led her to BCIT Computing, and what she loves about working in the tech sector.

What do you do when you don’t like your job?

It’s challenging to start something new, and maybe even more daunting to quit something. But that’s where Roelle Kim was four years ago.

She’d earned a bachelor’s degree at Western University, specializing in consumer behaviour, and had started working in the retail business as a floor lead. She liked some aspects of the work, including the opportunity to work with retail data and the business analytics side of things. But she didn’t enjoy all the floor work, nor the strenuous physicality of the warehouse. Ultimately, she couldn’t see herself wanting to be there for the longer term. “I decided to make a transition in my career,” she explains.

From computer user to software developer

Growing up, Roelle had loved problem-solving, with math being a favourite subject.  “I enjoyed experimenting with various approaches, documenting my trials and errors, and of course, celebrating my solutions,” she explains.

“I also spent a lot of time using computers—not coding, but engaging in activities like gaming, software modification, and experimentation with programs like Photoshop and Premiere. This exposure led me to believe that I would enjoy a career working with computers.”

So she investigated BCIT’s two-year Computing diplomas. “I’d heard so many good things about BCIT, particularly about the hands-on experience,” says Roelle. “I picked CST because the emphasis on coding appealed to me. I didn’t know much about software development, but I knew I wanted to learn to code.”

Learn more about BCIT programs at Big Info on February 21

BCIT delivered the hands-on education Roelle was hoping for. “My first lab course in java we had to actually do something, a basic code. It was mind-blowing to me. I got more interested in the concepts because I got to do it and see the results so quickly.”

During her time at BCIT, Roelle jumped at opportunities. Her team won first place at a data analytics hackathon, and she took the helm as president of the Women in Computing Club, organizing events including a club visit to her future employer.

Finding a fit in tech

Roelle started her job at SAP right after graduation, having already networked with contacts at the company while she was a student.

“Networking helped me a lot; getting involved let me connect with people,” she explains. “I met my current manager through a connection in Women in Computing.”

Roelle’s software development skills now layer on top of the business insights she enjoyed in her initial career trajectory. She’s currently working on a platform that helps businesses understand their data by visualizing and organizing it using data models and predictive features.

“I like that my job is tangible,” she says. “What I work on gets delivered to a customer, who can experience the change I made or the improved logic.”

“Knowing that the client is using something I worked on is very rewarding, it’s a feature of working in software.” – Roelle Kim

She’s also happy to now be in a sector which offers flexibility in terms of hours and location, with extensive remote work opportunities and some companies allowing work abroad.

“Flexibility is one of the best things in this sector – there are lots of roles where you can basically work anywhere you have a laptop.” And she points out this flexibility helps staff balance their life outside work: “it’s good to see senior developers at my company who are also moms and able to manage that.”

Three pieces of advice for future grads:  

  1. Meet people outside school, outside your program: get involved where you can. New grads have to compete in the job market, so it’s good to distinguish yourself by joining activities.
  2. Your peers are your network, not just your competition. Collaborate and network with the people in your set.
  3. Don’t be afraid to be extra!

Join us at the next Big Info to find a BCIT program that fits.