A career in tech offers the opportunity to create something meaningful and make a significant impact. – Anna Nguyen

Computing student Anna Nguyen was recently awarded the prestigious 2023 BC Women in Technology Scholarship by the BC Scholarship Society. This annual scholarship is granted to 10 women who are pursuing post-secondary studies in British Columbia, with a specific focus on fields like Computer/Data Science, Engineering, or Mathematics. It’s offered to women on the basis of academic merit as well as a commitment to pursuing a career in the tech sector.

We caught up with Anna to find out about how she chose BCIT, her co-op at Absolute Software, and her advice to others. Check out her answers!

Q: What BCIT program are you enrolled in?

Anna Nguyen (AN): I am currently enrolled in the Computer Systems Technology Diploma Program at BCIT.

Q: What were you doing before studying at BCIT, and why did you choose BCIT?

AN: Prior to BCIT, I had an Engineering Degree from Vietnam National University. I also worked as a Senior Process Engineer for a Construction Corporation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

As a newcomer to Canada, I wanted to advance my education and improve my career prospects. BCIT became my top choice after countless hours of going through different college websites and Reddit threads and receiving advice from individuals working in the tech industry.

I chose BCIT for its two-year programs, hands-on approach, and reputation among British Columbia companies. -Anna Nguyen

Q: Briefly describe your co-op experience, including the location, your role, and its impact.

AN: I was a Software Development Engineer in testing at Absolute Software, a Canadian-based leader in endpoint and zero-trust security headquartered in Vancouver. I had the opportunity to participate in designing and implementing automation and performance tests for rigorous feature testing, and monitoring and resolving issues in the production environment. My contribution helped ensure the quality and reliability of our software products, thus improving security solutions for our clients.

Q: What did you like most about working at Absolute Software?

AN: What I liked most was the collaborative and innovative atmosphere that fostered personal and professional growth. I had continuous exposure to cutting-edge technology, which significantly enhanced my cybersecurity knowledge. The work environment was also positive: they treated co-op students like full-time employees, helping us prepare for future post-graduation employment. Furthermore, bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with my manager and mentor offered valuable insights into my performance, and my teammates’ support facilitated my rapid acquisition of new skills.

Q: How did your BCIT program prepare you for your co-op role?

AN: In addition to the knowledge gained from my courses, BCIT helped prepare students for their co-op experiences. There were various co-op workshops on improving resumes and cover letters, one-on-one mock interviews, and guidance sessions on interview formats and job search strategies. BCIT’s Bridge platform simplified the process of finding job opportunities, connecting students to numerous companies with open positions listed on the BCIT website. I’m grateful to Susanna Kan and Joanne Royle for their invaluable assistance in preparing me and my fellow students for our co-op positions.

Q: What excites you about careers in your field?

AN: I have a passion for new technology and previous experience in the industry. Vancouver’s growing tech sector, strategic location, and expanding company presence excite me. A career in tech offers the opportunity to create something meaningful and make a significant impact. It’s a competitive job market, but BCIT students are known to be well-equipped. I know some companies look specifically for BCIT graduates.

Q: Any advice for BCIT students or prospective students?

AN: If you have not had work experience or are new to this field, consider applying for a co-op program or seeking an internship. Some of my teammates didn’t participate in the co-op program, but they found internships during the summer, either through job fairs or by applying directly to their desired companies. Internships and co-op experiences help students develop not only technical skills but also soft skills. I recommend that students actively engage in pre-co-op or internship workshops, take part in mock interviews to prepare for their careers, and make full use of the tools and opportunities available to BCIT students.

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