Anatacia Cabral, Software Engineer-Planit Software, Sydney, NSW
BS in Information and Computer Science, 2001
“Are you from UP? La Salle? Ateneo?”
“Ah, the one in Intramuros?”
“No, the one in Batangas”
This is a common scenario during my entire career in IT back in the Philippines and I won’t deny the fact that it was indeed a difficult journey before I got to where I am today.
I witnessed how the IT job market has evolved over recent years. Employers now are hiring attitude over skills or over a fancy diploma from well- known universities or colleges. You can even land a job in IT even without a college diploma nowadays as long as you have the right attitude and the passion to improve and learn.
But this was not the case when I graduated back in 2001. It was disheartening to have your profile being set aside just because you are not from any of those big universities in Manila. And on one or two occasions that I got lucky to land myself an interview, the hiring managers asked really tough questions. How can they expect you to write a code in a programming language that was not even in your college curriculum? Obviously, I failed on those occasions because I would say an outright “No” when asked if I know “this and that language”.
However, I have always had that persistent attitude. The more I fail, the more I want to succeed and prove myself. I kept on trying until I found this job advertisement from an IT company in Ortigas that accepts fresh graduates from top universities to undergo a boot camp or training program. They were using a programming language that I have absolutely no knowledge of. During the interview, I changed the way I answered questions. Instead of saying “No” without any follow through, I answered with conviction “No, but I am willing to learn as I know the basic logic of programming. “Apparently, that was the key as I got accepted to their boot camp program. But that was not the end of it. The boot camp itself was really challenging and daunting. But the best part was, I was in the same boat as those other fresh graduates from top universities. And surprisingly I found out that we almost have the same curriculum. They only studied c, c++ and Visual Basic back in college. Same as I. At least, I know Pascal, which by the way is my favorite programming language to date. Three months of hard work and late nights during the boot camp and we all passed with flying colors. We are still very good friends to this day. They were the first ones who were surprised to hear that I am a “probinsyana” college graduate. They said that I do not look or act like one. And the rest was history…
Over the years I tried to pay it forward. When I had a chance to be at the opposite end of the interview table, I hire attitude and I usually disregard where the candidate graduated from.
Somebody once asked me if I would still choose to study in LPU-B if my circumstances were different back then and I consistently answered YES. Lyceum of the Philippines University Batangas equipped me with the right tools and knowledge and since I didn’t get influenced by the notion of graduating in a well-known university that sometimes make fresh graduates a bit arrogant and overly complacent, I have the right attitude that helped me get where I am today. I am thankful and grateful to my Alma Mater along with all my teachers and professors who helped build that strong foundation of knowledge. Finally, I will always be proud to say “buti na lang nag Lyceum ako”.