Iyk Azorji: I’m Iyk Azorji, I’m a full-stack web developer. I’ve been doing this professionally for the past six years. I’m currently based here in Nigeria, but I work for a nice job, it’s Vancouver based startup. It’s focused on SaaS products and application marketing products, I’m hoping to give the little guy a hand up. So in terms of repetition marketing, without having to get a full marketing company. So if there’s anything more you want to know about me, just let me know.
Iyk Azorji: Yeah. So I’ll say first off, I kind of felt like I’ve reached a stage in my career where I’ve hit a snag. I’ve hit kind of a ceiling and I needed to take the next step of my career. And I felt I wasn’t being challenged enough or I wasn’t seeing lots of growth in my career so far. So as I said, I’ve been working as a full-stack developer for the past six years. I’ve worked in various industries here in Nigeria. But it seemed to take that next step, I will see lots more great things happen overseas that wasn’t happening here. And I knew that it was a very different culture, a very different approach to work. And I wanted to experience that and I felt that that was the next step of my career. So I started looking out for more opportunities abroad.
Iyk Azorji: So my story with VanHack was pretty funny. Four years ago, a very long time ago, I think I was just in search of a job and I saw a video on YouTube about a Ghanian. I really can’t remember his name for the life of me. It’s a Ghanian who got a relocation job or a relocation opportunity to Germany from VanHack. And I saw that video on YouTube and it was pretty interesting, but the problem was that at the time I was also seeing a lots of sketchy companies. Promising the same thing of being able to connect you with foreign companies and helping to place you to those kinds of situations, but was charging to support you, asking for some money for it.
Iyk Azorji: So my mindset then was, these are scams. These are all people trying to get some money out of me and so I wasn’t taking them serious. But I’d say three years ago, a friend of mine called me to help him prepare for the time, he want to kind of give him some interview questions. And in the midst of talking about this, I kind of got to ask him a little bit more questions. And I found out that he was also with VanHack and I was like, “Oh, so this VanHack is actually a legit platform?” And then I said, “Okay, you know what? I’m going to give it a try this time.”
Iyk Azorji: VanHack helped me so much. So at first, as I said, when I started looking for opportunities to relocate abroad or relocate overseas, I taught I had a very good profile or a very good CV. And that was because of my years of experience and once I knew my skill level was at, I thought, oh yeah, definitely, this was good enough to give me the kind of opportunities I was looking for. But I’ve applied in so many different places and I wasn’t getting that results. So coming on VanHack, I created my profile, did the English test and everything. Using my same old profile I’ve been using for trying to apply in the past, but I wasn’t still getting the results I was looking for.
Iyk Azorji: I applied for VanHack Premium. I spoke with a few recruiters of VanHack and they helped me look at my profile and was telling me, “Hey guy, if you’re going to put yourself in the best position to get opportunities, you need to do this. You need to do that.” And helped me structure my profile in such a way, I never knew I should structure my profile in that manner. Try to advertise my skills as well as I should, try to put myself in the best position to get opportunities basically. So I’d say VanHack really helped me with that and also, more about, I shifted my mindset of [inaudible 00:04:37]. I think, I’ll say VanHack helped me to shift my mindset from a more, when I say, “Hey, I deserve it, I should get it.” To a more, “Hey, I deserve it, but I need to structure myself in such a way and sell myself in such a way that I can get these opportunities.” So I’d say VanHack really helped me with that and then through VanHack, I was able to get hired to the company I currently work for in Vancouver.
Iyk Azorji: The hiring process was very smooth. So my current role, this was actually my second interview I had with the VanHack connected company. The first one didn’t really go as planned. It was due to a coding test that we had some technical glitches and I think the company wasn’t patient enough to give me a second try. But with this, it was a really, really good process, because the VanHack recruiter was always trying to have a gist of where things were with the process. So was always telling me before every call I had or every interview call, I was having a call with the recruiter, trying to get me the right mind space. The kind of things to say, the kind of things to do, the way I should advertise myself the best, to get those opportunities that what I was looking to get.
Iyk Azorji: So it was a really, really smooth process for me because of that, because the first time the process was a HR interview, you’re trying to see the cultural fits. Trying to understand if I’m someone who can fit into the company culture, because the company is just beginning to diversify, get a lot more people from different nationalities in the company. And I had to be someone of that mood, that could fit into the company in such a way. And the HR interview kind of were one of those things and I think I did very well. Then outside of that, we had the two studies of technical interviews and the first was more of a [debug 00:06:43] coding session. The interviewer gives me a test and I have to write a code to pass that test. So the more we progress with what we’re trying to build, the more tests I would write, the more I would have to make a solution to those tests. And it was a really fun experience. I’d say even just that process helped me learn lots about some paradigms and some solutions to different problems.
Iyk Azorji: And then the next interview was more about conceptualization and about being able to, a big scope thinking about solving problems. And then the final interview was a interview with the CEO. More about the company’s roadmap and the company’s plans, and how I saw myself fitting into those plans. And I think then I was able to sell myself very, very well with the things that I’ve got to learn from VanHack. So as it would be, I was able to secure the role.
Iyk Azorji: So I felt really fulfilled, because it was something that I had been pursuing for about a year. And there’s this thing that happens when you get rejected and you have so many rejections in the past, you begin to find validation in this state. You begin to find like, “Whoa, probably I’m not as good as I think I am. Probably I’m not the kind of person these guys are looking for.” I actually started getting close to giving… I was almost giving up and having the job and having the role secured, it’s given me that sense of, that validation and fulfillment that, “Oh yeah, you’re actually good enough to get this thing you deserve.” I’m also very happy because it’s a new step in my career, a new opportunity for me to advance my career, where I wanted to be. That was a very, very happy feeling and I’m pretty grateful for.
Iyk Azorji: So because of COVID I haven’t relocated yet, but I’ve had my visa approval and my passport has been sent to the IRCC and I’m just hoping to get my visa back. It was really good, I had lots of help from VanHack’s. I had an immigration lawyer who told me all the things to do. I have a communication assistant tell me all the things to do, all the information I’ll need to know and everything. Every step of the way I was guided and it’s been a really, really amazing experience so far. I’ve never been in the dark, even during COVID and there was a pause in the application process. I was told beforehand that, “Hey, you might have to wait a little bit, because of COVID. They are not going to be working or they probably wouldn’t process your visa on time. So just be patient.” So I’ll say it’s been really, really good and really seamless with VanHack.
Iyk Azorji: Like I said, being on VanHack Premium it’s helped me so much. Especially with the mindsets, changing my mindset from just, “Hey, I have these skills, these are the things I can do, hire me.” To a more, I have these skills and marketing myself in such a way that the companies will be interested in bringing me aboard to solve their problems. That was the biggest mindset shift, because most of what I learned of VanHack Premium was all about communication. Communicating your skills, communicating your background, communicating all these things.
Iyk Azorji: All the way from your CV to the interview process and being able to articulate things you’re trying to say as well as possible. Being able to find problems that the company is trying to solve. Market yourself in such a way that they can say, “Hey, this is the guy that’s going to solve our problems for us.” So it’s really helped me so much. A lot of materials, a lot of technical sessions, a lot of helpful meetings and so on. So it was really, really beneficial. I would say it’s something I would advise everyone to do, especially because of the mindset shifts that they helped me with.
Iyk Azorji: Okay. So the first thing I would tell anyone who is trying to get a job now, don’t take it so personal. Because they’re going to feel a lot, they’re going to have a lot of rejections. You’re going to make a lot of applications that wouldn’t get honored. So don’t take it to heart, don’t see it as a slight on you as a developer. I see [inaudible 00:11:21] better or to market yourself better, in such a way that these companies will be willing to get you on board. So the moment you start beginning to see things as a slight on your own skills, the more you’re harming yourself from getting those opportunities.
Iyk Azorji: So as I said, don’t give up. Failure doesn’t mean your denied or doesn’t mean denial. Just see it as a way to keep learning and keep getting better. And then also, you should be open to as much opportunities as possible. There’s no point of boxing yourself in such a way where you’re hiding from more opportunities, because of one thing or the other. Join VanHack, make sure your profile is updated. It’s a really good team. People are really willing to help you and yeah, that’s the advice I’d give.