Persistence pays off for Kamrul.

In 2019, Kamrul Islam was working part-time in a car rental company. He was new to Australia and struggled with the challenges of a country so different from his homeland of Bangladesh. He remembers his then manager, Artur, encouraging him. “He said, ‘You’ve got this. Keep going,’ He inspired me more than anyone. We’re still good friends – more like brothers now.”

Soaking up knowledge

Kamrul’s persistence has paid off. Despite setbacks that included Sydney’s lockdowns during the pandemic, he completed his Diploma of Engineering at UTS College, followed by a Bachelor of Software Engineering (Honours) at UTS. He’s now a consultant front-end developer for prestigious professional services network, Deloitte.

“I feel great about where I am now,” he says. “It’s incredibly rewarding. You can see the impact of the work you do – projects which people use every day. With big consulting firms like this you have an opportunity to soak up knowledge. There’s no other way you can pick up so many skills in such a short time. In consulting you have clients from different spaces and different industries: Banking projects, real estate, transport. It’s a wide variety of experience.”

Kamrul arrived in Australia in March 2018. He says, “I had just one friend here, but he was studying at another university. No relatives, nothing. I won’t lie. There were some gruelling years – 2020 was incredibly difficult. But I was like, ‘You know what? I’ll take this gamble.’ And despite everything I really enjoyed my course. Even now, working as a software engineer, I really enjoy what I do.”

Inspired by his software engineer uncle

When Kamrul was young, a software engineer uncle sparked his interest in the profession. “He worked on cool projects – this was back in the MySpace days – and that kind of inspired me,” he says. Having always intended to study abroad, he researched his options before choosing UTS. “From all the information I could gather, UTS looked like the best for me,” he says. “Other courses looked more theoretical and software engineering is a very applied field. I think you can read all the books in the world and not know how to code a single line.”

Fast track to second year at UTS

Kamrul began with a Diploma of Engineering at UTS College. He says, “It absolutely prepared me for my degree. UTS College gives you the knowledge and skills to set you off on your way. It gives you the tools you need. My courses were fantastic. And because my diploma covered first-year engineering subjects I went directly into second-year software engineering at UTS.

Looking back at his journey through UTS College and then UTS, Kamrul struggles to single out a ‘best’ experience. “Honestly, every time I got a pass was the best day ever,” he says. “I had a distinction average, but to this day I don’t know how I did it. I think really, one of the happiest moments was when I completed my degree. You get that guttural instinct to just shout out, ‘Yes! I’ve done it!’ It can also bring on fears like, ‘Okay, what’s next?’ and I understand that, but fortunately for me, I was already in a software engineering role.”

During his final year at UTS, Kamrul had a job as an in-house software developer for a barbeque company in Sydney, working on global applications. “As soon as I graduated, I got the job offer from Deloitte,” he says. “I missed my graduation ceremony because I was working, but I mean, that makes me a fortunate soul.”

The importance of teamwork

Kamrul says things he learnt at UTS and UTS College help him every day in his professional life. “Teamwork is number one,” he says. “I remember we had a software engineering studio subject every semester at UTS, where you had to work in a small team. We’d question it, like, ‘Why are we working in a team?’ But now I can see it was vital because in the industry you’re never working alone, whether you’re developing software or preparing slides for a meeting.”

Working in groups also helped Kamrul pick up new technical skills. “I picked up tips on programming, version control and some languages from my teammates. I remember near the end of my second year there was a guy, Sebastian, on my team and he knew how to build interfaces in React. I was blown away by what you can do and immediately started learning more on my own. That’s the advantage of being in groups with people who are smarter than me. It’s a chance to pick up skills,” he says.

Looking ahead

Kamrul’s plans for the future include a dream to have his own IT company. “That’s maybe in 20 years or so,” he says. “Career-wise, I’m doing okay right now. I was promoted in December, so I’ll keep at it and focus on gathering as much knowledge as I can.” For now, Kamrul’s exactly where he wants to be. “Australia is a big, beautiful country and I’ve seen a lot of it already. In 2018 I drove 5,000 kilometres in one go, but I still have plenty of places to see.”

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