What can you do in 9 months? Other than having a baby in 9 months, you can also switch your career – for example, from a taxi driver to a software engineer!
That was exactly what Mr Gazali Ahmad did.
According to Straits Times, mr Gazali had tried working different jobs, including working in the education and finance sector before he became a taxi driver for six years at age 45.
Feeling unsatisfied and stuck in his career, he decided in March 2021 to enrol in a programme that promised to train him for a software engineer’s role in nine months.
Pivoting from Taxi Driver to Software Engineer
Today, the 53-year-old Singaporean is a full-stack developer working in a global technology firm who is also skilled in several programming languages. On top of that, he is also making THREE TIMES MORE than what he did while driving!
In case you don’t know hor, a full-stack developer is an engineer who can handle all the work involving databases, servers, systems engineering, and clients.
Mr Gazali, who is a divorced father of four children aged between 27 and 20, said that he has always been interested in computers but never pursued it formally. He added that he did not see himself driving until old age, so when this course came up, he told himself to give it a try. Got wawasan (vision) leh this Mr Gazali, lao niang like your attitude! THUMBS UP 👍 👍 👍
The course he enrolled in was run by Generation Singapore, a non-profit organisation that started in Singapore in 2019 and focuses on upskilling.
Generation Singapore’s chief executive Prateek Hegde said the organisation focuses on employment, and it strives in giving people just-in-time training to join organisations and contribute while continuing to learn on the job.
Founded in the United States by consulting firm McKinsey in 2014, the non-profit operates in 17 countries like Brazil, Argentina, and India. In Singapore, it runs training programmes that equip people with skills such as programming or healthcare administration and puts them on work attachments with companies that have the option of hiring them for full-time roles.
Worry that employers would not want to hire older workers like him
Mr Gazali, who has a diploma in mechanical engineering, joined the bootcamp-style course comprising three months of intensive lessons, followed by a six-month apprenticeship.
At first, he was a bit intimidated because he was surrounded by young people in their 30s in his course, “Looking around the room at my course mates, I thought they could all be my sons and daughters,” he said.
He was also concerned that employers would not want to hire him because of his age, even if he managed to complete the course.
Actually hor, his concerns were not unfounded ah. Because in one of NTUC’s #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations at Kallang Community Centre, where older workers came together to share their concerns about work as they age, one of the concerns highlighted by the participants is that they think that they are at a higher risk of job displacements, and hence have asked for more support during such disruptions.
The participants also pointed to the need for all stakeholders (workers, employers, government) to be open-minded and constructive in mindset and proactive to make or adjust policies and practices to enhance older workers’ relevance and resilience.
But Mr Gazali did not 退缩 (give up) and he persisted. He also put in extra time on weekends and after class. Soon, the results started to show and helped him get a job he finds engaging and rewarding.
Economist Walter Theseira said the labour market puzzle for older workers such as Mr Gazali can be seen as a product of a mismatch between the skills they have and those that employers now require. Some are missing something from their skill sets or have outdated ones, and would hence benefit from training courses, he added.
So ah, you seem upskilling is very important one.
Hello, September ended liao have you woken up? Or picked up a new skill like me?
For Mr Gazali, having this new job means he can now work from anywhere and interact with colleagues from around the world. He also added that: “Even in 10 years, when I’m 63 and all the technology has changed, I still want to keep up and be involved.”
SO GOT WAWASAN LEH. We should all learn from him!
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