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Do what you love and you'll do better

Yaseir Alkhwalda, Junior Systems Engineer at Rabobank

When Yaseir Alkhwalda arrived in the Netherlands in 2017 he felt he got a new chance to pursue his passion. As an English teacher in Syria he never got the chance to work with computers the way he wanted to. Once here in the Netherlands he enrolled in a program at Hack Your Future to learn web development. After that, he landed his current job as a z/OS System Specialist at Rabobank, maintaining one of the most crucial systems of the bank.

“I arrived in the Netherlands after a three month-long journey through five countries and over the sea. Due to the Syrian crisis I had to leave my country. After a few months in Amsterdam I started a volunteer job as a computer teacher for kids at Cybersoek, an organisation helping people with computers.”

To me, being human is to be active. I don’t like to sit at home waiting for a job to come, you have to move forward yourself.
Yaseir Alkhwalda

Hack your Future

“Around the same time I started at Hack Your Future as well. This is a school that teaches computer programming to refugees. In six months I learned the fundamentals of web development. They taught us how to think like a programmer, how to solve problems, how to manage a project. They also help refugees find a job.”

I took the opportunity in The Netherlands to study computers, which I loved when I was young. In Syria I was also working with computers but as a hobby. I didn’t get a chance to study computers in Syria, but I found it in The Netherlands. It was a big turning point in my life that changed everything. I believe when you do things you love, you will do them better. Love what you’re doing is so important to move on in life.”

“Hack Your Future helped me find my first job, an internship for three months at Ticketing Group in Amsterdam. For me it was great to have a job again within a year of arriving in the Netherlands. It gave me more energy to think about my life and to move forward here in the Netherlands. To me, being human is to be active. I don’t like to sit at home waiting for a job to come, you have to move forward yourself.”

Yaseir Alkhwalda in Cybersoek

Young Professional Program

“When I walked around in Amsterdam I noticed Rabobank everywhere. I saw the offices, the advertising. Because I wanted to have a job to move forward, I decided to visit the website of Rabobank to see what’s possible. I read interviews with Rabobank employees here in GROW magazine and I read about the Young Professional Program. So even before I started my internship, I applied for the YPP IT program at Rabobank. Around the same time I started the internship, I got a call from the recruiters at the bank. I got through the first selection. After three additional interviews I was selected to start in the YPP program.This was around the same time the internship ended so this was a great next step for me.”

“I am still in the YPP program and I am working with my team on the mainframe computers of Rabobank. These are the systems that connect various crucial systems of the bank to each other. We have to make sure everything stays up and running. When something goes wrong, we can’t just turn it off and on again like you would do with your laptop. This mainframe is one of the vital systems of the bank. We have to maintain the machines and make sure everything keeps running smoothly. This is important for our internal processes but also for the service to our customers.”

Paper and pens

Fresh start

“I had a fresh start in the Netherlands, with my wife and baby. Rabobank provided me with the opportunity to do something different and they believe in me. My mentor helps me as do others in the team and outside. I am still active at CyberSoek to give computer class to children in the neighborhood which is so rewarding. Rabobank and the Young Professional Program provide me with more than just a job, they help me become the best version of myself, both professionally and personally. It’s more than just working at a bank.”

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