Today, in the “Life as a Canadian Immigrant” Series, we featured Tolulope Ibiyode. He shares his story of how he defied all odds to switch from fisheries to becoming a Senior Developer in one of Canada’s largest organizations. He attributes his success to his passion and tenacity.
Hello, please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Tolulope Ibiyode. I am Nigerian from the Yoruba tribe. I work as a Senior Web Application Developer at one of Canada’s largest organizations. I am also a Poet who writes to inspire and spread positive messages. For fun, I like to hang out with friends or play squash.
What part of Canada do you live in, and what’s particularly interesting about the city?
The city that I live in is Toronto and it’s in the province of Ontario. Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world. So, you get to meet people from different countries and cultures. I find it interesting when I connect with people and they tell me how things are done where they are from. It helps me broadens my view of the world.
Apart from meeting people, Toronto is a very active city, you can always find something fun to do, whether it is going to eat, play some games or visit attraction centers.
What field of work are you in, and how has moving to Canada impacted it?
As I mentioned earlier, I work in the tech industry as a Senior Web Application Developer. Actually, moving to Canada launched me into this field. I graduated with BSc in Fisheries Management from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. I will speak more about this below.
What field of work do you think is most successful in Canada?
That’s a tricky question, I would say that Canada is a land of opportunities and people excel in different fields, it depends on how informed one is and how hard one is willing to work. I’ve seen successful people (in terms of money) in different fields, ranging from trades such as plumbing, landscaping, etc. to other fields like real estate, medicine, I.T, retail, etc.
I think the most important thing is to do what one is passionate about. With time, money will come.
For someone in your field of work, what would you say is most important? Choice of city, certification, or skills?
For someone in the tech industry, I think skill is very important because the tech world is a rapidly evolving space. There is always something new to learn and a lot of companies would prefer to hire someone who is proficient in whatever the new trend is.
However, having certifications could help position one for interviews and one’s knowledge or skill seals the deal afterwards.
The city might not matter that much because a lot of companies are choosing to work remotely lately.
Finally, what do you miss the most about home?
The first on my list is family. No amount of voice or video calls can replace holding hands with your loved ones. I definitely miss my mum, wife, and grandparents the most. Second would be food, even though there are Nigerian restaurants here, the taste is still not up to par with the food you eat in Nigeria, maybe because the foodstuffs are not as fresh as what you get back home, I don’t know but I miss Nigerian food.
Your story is inspirational because you switched from Fisheries in Agriculture to become a Senior Developer in one of Canada’s largest organizations. How did you achieve this feat? And what would you say is your greatest motivation?
I started developing an interest in websites and software in my final year as a Fisheries Management student. But I didn’t have time to learn it then because I was also working on my final year project. I knew from then that tech was the next direction for me.
Luckily, I had the opportunity to travel to Canada to study and I had no doubt that I was coming to study Software development and that was exactly what I did.
At the start of my study, it felt like the hardest thing that I had ever done but I was too passionate about it to quit (even though I felt like quitting many times). I continued to learn and build tools with the knowledge I was acquiring.
After my program, I got into this same corporation as a Co-op student. I worked hard, contributed my best to my team and I never stopped continued. I did this and 2 years later, I became a Senior Web Developer. My motivation then and now is the passion to build useful tools for people to use.
What’s that important information that you were not aware of, that you would advise intending immigrants?
It’s important to note that information runs in Canada. My advice to intending immigrants is that they shouldn’t run with any random information they hear flying around. If there is something they need to know, they should seek the appropriate authority in charge. It’s not hard to contact offices or visit official websites to get accurate information.