ApplyBoard’s Software Engineering Team ensures our online platform and services are responsive to the needs of the students, recruitment partners, and schools who access them daily. In this post, we connect with Anas Jamous, whose work as a software engineer helps us connect with students and education professionals from around the world.
Through working with the nonprofit organization TalentLift, whose team works towards advancing access to global jobs and skilled visas for displaced talent, Anas applied to work with ApplyBoard from Lebanon. He secured a work permit to become part of our ApplyBoard Team, and his determination and positive energy comes through in every question below.
Note: Some of Anas’s responses were edited for brevity.
Can you share why you wanted to join ApplyBoard?
The story began when I was looking for the next step in my career. I was living in Lebanon, saw a job posting at ApplyBoard, and then I researched the company to learn about its mission and vision. This is really important for me, because before you can join any company, you need to make sure that the environment and the culture suit you. After my research, I applied and went through the interview process, which was very smooth.
How did you become a software engineer?
I left Syria around 2017 and moved to Lebanon. I really didn’t have any experience with the software engineering industry. So, I started researching how to start this career. Next, I started to realize what my strengths and weaknesses are. How I discovered that was by applying to jobs, failing in the interviews, and then trying to enhance my skills in those areas. Myself, my communication, my technical skills—everything that needed to be enhanced, I worked on.
I got my first job as a front-end developer, then I changed to full stack developer. After that, I realized I’m really into back-end development and got a position in a new company doing that.
How did you find out about ApplyBoard and TalentLift?
When I was living in Lebanon, [I learned about the] non-governmental organization Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB). TBB is a bridge between recruiters and people living in refugee status. They meet with you to find out which job opportunities will suit you, and I was connected with their partner TalentLift. TalentLift introduced me to ApplyBoard and supported me with my next steps.
Can you share more about how TalentLift helped you?
TalentLift helped me with each stage of my visa process, from reviewing my application to preparing for the interview with the [immigration] officer. They also helped me to book a flight when I got my visa. They really did a great job.
What has working for ApplyBoard been like?
My role at ApplyBoard is a software engineer. I’m responsible for the front-end and back-end. Front-end engineers are responsible for anything that users can interact with, and back-end engineers work on things behind the scenes [like a website’s databases, architecture, and servers.]
From day one, when you are officially part of the ApplyBoard family, a lot of people welcomed me to the team. The onboarding was really good. For others, it was just going to start a new job. For me, it was [starting] a new job, a new country, a new culture… It’s like a new life for me. A lot of people helped me with directions: if I did not know where to go, I always had help.
People are always happy to help at ApplyBoard. This is a great feeling.
How does working at ApplyBoard inspire you?
Even before I got a job at ApplyBoard, I believed in their mission and vision: that they are helping students around the world to educate themselves. Because at ApplyBoard, we believe education is not a privilege, it’s a right for students. In the morning, when I’m getting up to go to work, [I think]: you are making something, you are changing the world, and that’s really exciting.
What hurdles have you experienced while adjusting to life in Canada?
Since I was a child, I had a dream to come either to Canada or to the United Kingdom. The best part is I made my dream come true when I joined ApplyBoard.
One thing I was surprised about was the Canadian culture. There are some differences between my culture coming from the Middle East and the culture here. It’s not that it’s a negative or positive thing, but there are differences between the two. Also, the food. I love food, I am really a foodie. Here, the food tastes different, but I think I’ll eventually get used to it.
You’ve shared your love of learning in your TalentLift feature. How has this helped you at ApplyBoard?
The most important thing, whatever your career is, whatever the industry, is don’t give yourself a limitation, like “I just want to learn this and be done.”
My story began with really zero knowledge… It took some time to understand how to research what I was missing. Next, I started to pick up information, but I didn’t know if my knowledge was enough. What helped me was when I started to apply for jobs; when I went to interviews and discovered that what I know is not enough and I would add things to my list to learn.
My advice in general for everyone applying for a new job is, don’t ever tell yourself: this is enough for me. Don’t put limitations on yourself… Just go up, step by step, start with baby steps. Think about it as a marathon, don’t think about it as just go fast and be done, and that’s it.
What advice do you have for others looking for a job at ApplyBoard or a career as a software developer?
First of all, just be yourself. If you have the right attitude, you can often build the right skills. It’s just a matter of time. If you have that open-minded attitude, you have [the] potential to learn anything.
If you’re stressed about the interview process in general, don’t be! It’s my first time being in Canada; I lived my whole life in the Middle East and I wasn’t into engineering. Even though I went [in with] a problem-solving approach, I was training and training and training. Those are the things that helped me out with getting this job.
You might have heard this a lot, but this is really coming from my heart: Don’t ever stop believing in yourself. It was like a “Mission: Impossible” for me to find myself here in Canada. When I was living in a really bad situation in Lebanon in 2021, I couldn’t imagine I could do it. Even though it was a dream and I believed in myself, the situation around me was telling me: hey, it’s so hard to do this. So, don’t stop ever believing in yourself! Work hard towards your dream! You don’t know when the time is coming to change everything around.
Learn more about life at ApplyBoard: check out our blog archive!