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New country, new career

Why living in Canada is refreshing this mature learner’s path

When Oz Salazar came to Bow Valley College’s Open House, he told us he was looking for a new career to fall in love with. 

“I’m hoping you are it,” he told our software development coordinators. 

At 54 years old, Oz had been looking for a change from his career as a project engineer. The Venezuela native had been laid off from his job in oil and gas, the sector he had been working in since he moved to Canada in 2008. But his layoff gave him a reason to pursue a career he’d like better.  

He had been interested in software development since studying electrical engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology. And he says he never shied away from going back to school. 

Thanks to Bow Valley College, he could come back quickly. “I needed to start doing things right away,” he says. Our Software Development Diploma didn’t have a wait list. He enrolled. 

Oz didn’t mind that the program was new. “The school has a good reputation.” 

Now in his second semester, he’s grateful he could just change careers. “Canada has shown my family that you can chase what you like. Here, you can do whatever you want.”

He says that in Venezuela, you wouldn’t see someone changing careers. “You die with whatever you started with,” he laughs. “So, I figured, might as well do what I like.”

Oz has a couple of ideas of what he wants to do when he graduates. He’d either like to join a company that develops software solutions and applications, or put his own ideas into practice. He knows his timing is good – after Amazon didn’t shortlist Calgary to be the city of its second headquarters, it’s clear our city is looking for more tech talent. 

Now, Oz is just happy he can give it all he’s got. “In Canada, you can achieve your potential. We don’t have that in most countries.” 


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