My story: from gold miner to software developer

In this blog post, I’d like to describe how I transitioned from mining to becoming a software developer at Qualogy in Paramaribo. I hope to inspire everyone who is interested in switching careers to pursue their dreams and ambitions.

I grew up in a family with five brothers and four sisters. My father owned a small gold mining company in Suriname. He always encouraged my older brothers to go mining with him in the hope that one day they’d take over the family business. Growing up as the youngest of the family, I assumed that one day I would join the family business as well. But my mother had other plans for me: getting a good education and a bachelor’s degree.

Working as miner

Growing up I worked for my father, helping him with chores in and around the mining site in Paramaribo and Albina. In the summertime, I would travel to his mining site in Benzdorp, a large mining village in southeastern Suriname in the district of Sipaliwini. At that time, however, my mother and brothers were encouraging me to finish school and look for other opportunities in life.

Career switch to ICT

After graduating from Suriname’s technical school, I studied mining at the Institute for Natural Resources and Engineering. I was determined to work as a gold miner but I wanted to have the education to back it up. I also wanted to keep my promise to my mother of getting a bachelor’s degree. After earning a degree in mining, I continued studying, but switched my major to ICT.

Why did I make this big change? At the time, it was hard to find a job as a miner in Suriname. All of the friends I graduated with said that ICT was the future. And while I wanted to do everything I could to create a successful future, I also loved the idea of learning something new. It felt like a fresh start in life.

My first software development job

During my studies, I had the chance to work as a network administrator at a software development company where I honed my skills as a software developer. I wanted to learn every detail of this industry. From who invented Mac OS and Windows to object-oriented languages like C# and JAVA. I continued to work while pursuing my bachelor’s degree in applied technology, which helped me understand the basics of programming.

My Job at Qualogy

After spending two years in my first software development position, I decided to apply for a job at Qualogy in Paramaribo. I knew that Qualogy was a major software development company that customizes Oracle and Java applications for clients in Suriname and further afield. For me, this was a great opportunity to advance my career and improve my skills as a software developer.

After sending my resume I was invited for a job interview. The interview was very positive. We talked a lot about my technical skills and my ambitions as a software developer. Within a view days I received an e-mail welcoming me to the Qualogy Java development team.

Stay ahead of the game

I have worked at Qualogy for about four years now, which has challenged me to excel even more in my career as a software developer. My experience so far has been great and I’ve learned a lot. At Qualogy, we always try to stay ahead of the game. Learning new technologies and methodologies can also help you get things done.

My advice: work harder

My advice to anyone who is considering making a big career move: work ten times harder than your more experienced peers. Your boss will still expect you to perform, despite your lack of work experience. Working ten times harder will help you reach their level of expertise and prove to everyone that you deserve to be there.

In the beginning, I was afraid that ICT wasn’t a good match for a gold mining boy like me. But I’ve managed to accomplish a lot in my career by diving in head first and really going for it. This also helped me develop my soft skills, which are critical when it comes to client management and working with colleagues. And there are plenty more opportunities in store for me at Qualogy!

Jozua: “My advice to anyone who is considering a big career move? Work ten times harder!”