Alternative Careers May Be the Answer to the Question


Are you a technical person who’s having trouble finding work in your field? We have what you need.

In our latest webinar, we looked at alternative careers in Information and Communication Technology. Our guests discuss their insights in networking and working in the field. Mahtab Nazari, a sales professional from Iran, describes her experience finding her job after moving from an engineering research career.

Manny Masongsong, CEO and President of Basilica Software, describes his insights into the opportunities for work in the ICT sector. Dr. Linda Manning talks about the benefits of joining an organization like MAPLE 2.0 that offers mentorships to newcomers to gain Canadian experience, references and knowledge about local work culture.

You can watch it here on YouTube.

The webinar is one part of ISSofBC’s Alternative Careers project, which has uncovered surprising information about occupational possibilities for newcomers with backgrounds in regulated fields.

The biggest surprise is how confusing the term “alternative career” is and how many people share differing ideas about it.

In our project, we started with the idea that an alternative career is mostly opting to do a job that’s not regulated. It may be very close to the job that you did in your home country, but now you are simply doing without a professional designation.

Project coordination, leadership, design and sales jobs may all require some knowledge from regulated fields, but not necessarily membership in a professional association or license.

Regulated field occupations include engineers, biologists, doctors and many more technical jobs in which public safety is at risk if workers are not highly knowledgeable about their fields.

These jobs require licenses or designations, such as the Professional Engineering designation or membership in a professional association or college.

For newcomers who arrive with experience in regulated occupations, there is a choice: do the testing and possibly re-learning to work in a Canadian regulated job or try something that’s not regulated. Often choosing the second means being able to find work sooner.

Some newcomers arriving in B.C. make dramatic changes. Others make smaller changes, but they may seem big if some aspect of identity has been lost, like not being able to call oneself an engineer or a biologist anymore.

For some internationally-trained professionals, it’s often very troubling to make that shift. For others, it’s no problem. The individual responses to alternative careers make them interesting and dynamic conversation topics.

If you’re having trouble finding your first choice for work, then consider an alternative career. It will get you using at least some of your technical or professional skills, even if you are in an unregulated jobs. As Dr. Manning says in the webinar, an alternative career may be a move up the corporate ladder.

Gwen PawlikowskiAbout the Author:
Gwen Pawlikowski is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who has also worked as an ISSofBC employment counsellor with newcomers. She lives in New Westminster and loves the diversity of the Lower Mainland. Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.


2 thoughts on “Alternative Careers May Be the Answer to the Question”

  1. I have talked with many friends of mine who have trouble finding work in their field. I realize that the most important issue is not how professional you are but if you have any Canadian experience.
    In my opinion, the majority of employers prefer to hire employees who are familiar with Canadian culture.

  2. Here in Canada are many engineers newcomers. I am on of them. I know how I am struggling to get in a field were I am educated. If you want to be engineer, on of the options is to start working as technologist and find company where you fit, then slowly move up. I went to couple job interviews and understand, that it is not difficult to fiend entry level position, but you need to understand, that you need just put your foot in door. If you are already there, all is up to you.

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