The following speech was delivered by Information Technology alumnus Jeffrey Villamor during the 36th Commencement Exercises on June 9, 2018. Jeffrey is currently the research and development manager of Nokia Networks.
Executive Director, Engr. Ruben Laraya; Education and Training Unit Director, Engr. Reuel Zapata; Development Office Director, Armand Millan III; Formation Director, Dr. Faustino Langahin Jr., Engr. Perpetuo C. Echavez, Academic Director, faculty and staff, eachers, parents, friends, graduates, good afternoon!
Graduates, Congratulations! You have made it!
I can see the excitement that you have while sitting there. The sense of joy and pride that your parents have, while sitting there on the bleachers. As you go through this well-deserved milestone that we are culminating right now; It is now time to open another.
You will now embark on a new journey to the corporate world! Are you ready? Are you very much eager to make your mark to the world? Establish a wonderful career? I bet you are!
Let me share something about myself. I am currently working as a Research and Development Manager for Nokia Networks. Who of you here knows about Nokia? Want to know how I got there? 15 years ago, I was also sitting there where you are right now. I can still remember clearly the sense of fulfilment, the joy, the excitement that I am already graduating! From the STOP, early morning climb to the school, rigorous trainings and examinations! The values formation, cleaning the classrooms, the school grounds, the work cons! It was hard! It was tough! But all of it was worthwhile because it helped me to be prepared on my journey to the corporate world!
I consider myself very lucky to be graduating from CITE because I was already employed before I graduated. The curriculum here was designed to address the mismatch of the needs of the industry and the graduates from the academe. The first years of my career was a Software Test Technician of NEC. It was very challenging and difficult, but I was prepared. the trainings I got from CITE, the OJTs made me capable to work on that tough environment! We had to undergo 6months of bootcamp like trainings.
Learning different programming languages, Object Oriented Concepts, Data Structures, etc2x. As a software test technician, we need to ensure that the software product that will be delivered to the customers will be of good quality, easy to use, and not crash. You have to think of all the use case scenarios, measure the performance, the load, its usability, etc2x. I was also given the opportunity to travel overseas for work and trainings. It was there that I was able to hone my skills and grow exponentially. Then I thought to myself, I want to try something more challenging. I want to do SW development which I did, and started creating, delivering and maintaining software. Then became a team leader. Things then became a routine and I was no longer growing.
On my 9th year I decided that why not work on a new startup company? So I took the risk and ventured out. I was now working with Tieto Global a European company as an Adaptations Development Engineer, I was so immersed in gaining new competencies and was so engaged in learning new things and delivering excellent results that I was later on promoted to an R&D Manager after 6months! There I continued to securing project contracts to customers. Ramping up my team by hiring more engineers. Training my team to deliver good quality software and delivering it fast! However, not everything will go accordingly as planned. Our major client Nokia Networks decided to insource all software development activities. That translated to losing our biggest client. Since it’s no longer sustainable to maintain a site in the Philippines; Tieto shareholders decided to close down the site. It was a nerve-racking experience. The anxiety that I had to go through, the thought of my fellow employees losing their jobs, how will they feed their families! We tried everything we could by inviting other software R&D companies for an inhouse job fair so that when the company closed down they have somewhere to work. Thankfully 90% were able to secure jobs! But what about me?
Nokia Networks then gave me an opportunity to be part of their company, together with the best guys from my team. There were specific competencies that Me and My team have that they could not find elsewhere without sacrificing delays on their deliveries. I then relocated to Manila in 2016 and currently i am now working on another project for a base station. When one door closes, another opportunity opens when you keep yourself up to date with the current industry trends. That sums up my career to date. I know there will be many more challenges to come, opportunities and new areas for growth. The only way is to embrace change and move forward.
Now I would like to share to you the principles that I follow that enabled me to reach where I am now.
1. You are the captain of your ship,
o Be Bold! Charter your course/destination
o Set Challenging Goals (SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable. Realistic, Time-bound)
o If what you are doing does not bring you closer to your goal, by all means stop it.
• Procrastination is your biggest roadblock.
• A minute wasted is something that you can never get back.
o Take a massive determined action to realize the goals that you have set. Because no one else will except you.
2. Strive to become a better person each day
It will come to a point in your career that growth seems to plateau. Things become routine and it gets boring. You will then have to ask yourself what should I do to get out of this cycle.
There is a Japanese word that I always remember: Kaizen – “continuous improvement”, or “change for the better”.
• Each day on your job try to think of something what you can improve. If I do this task in 1 hour, what can I do to finish it in 45mins. Observe, Improvise, Innovate.
• Do not stick to the status-quo, challenge the current situation propose new ideas if the current process can be further improved to achieve more efficiency and productivity.
• When you are already able to optimize your way of work, then you have more time to learn new things.
3. There is no such thing as job security.
Strive to be valuable, keep yourself up to date to the current trends.
o Continue to learn new things, unlearn the old way of doing things, re-learn.
o Take courses, certifications, learn new programming languages, read on what are the new trends.
o And to fully utilize the new learning that you have apply them to your job!
4. Do not be afraid of Failures.
If you are not failing fast enough then you are deciding or doing things slow. It will be tough to fathom, you will be dis-appointed, you will be mocked upon but do not let those things affect you. Take a step back, do a retrospect think of the areas what contributed it to fail. Learn from it. Then try again. Do not be afraid to ask for help too!
FAIL = “First Attempt in Learning”
5. Be one with the TEAM!
Organizations right now are producing products that cannot be done by a single person. You must learn to collaborate, do your part and follow through your commitments. Learn from your colleagues; leverage on each of your strengths to achieve full efficiency and productivity.
TEAM = “Together Everyone Achieves More”
The most important part! -> Learn to love what you do! Understand the purpose and the why you need to do it! Quoting from the teachings of St. Josemaria Escriva
Chapter 15: The Furrow 527:
“I have seen many people live heroic lives for God without leaving their own place of work, and I have come to this conclusion: for a Catholic work is not just a matter of fulfilling a duty — it is to love: to excel oneself gladly in duty and in sacrifice. ”
Be thankful to GOD for every morning you get to wake up! For another opportunity to become better. Offer each day to GOD by performing your duties well, being disciplined at work, and helping your colleagues. Seek help for the challenges, and difficulties you will face. And be thankful for the successes and blessings that you received.
Now it’s time for you to move on to what’s next. Do not let anything deter you from taking those first steps that will kick start your career. Recognize that there will be failures, and acknowledge that there will be obstacles. Learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others, for there is very little learning in success. Be aggressive in growing your career. Be Resilient when things get tough. Be Patient, there is no elevator to success you have to take the stairs, one step at a time.
Good luck on your careers! Hope I was able to share some insights how to tackle the next journey that you will embark. Thank you.