• Inter-Ed helps grad find the best career option

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    “WHEN you love what you do, it will love you back.”

    Marvin Roy Alvarez, an Oracle-certified Java programmer working as a senior software engineer at one of the world’s leading financial firms—Credit Suisse in Singa-pore—believed in this adage.

    His success, however, has been made possible with the help of International Education Specialists (Inter-Ed), which guides students to choose the right direction for their career or future studies.

    Inter-Ed offers a wide range of services for students who want to study abroad. Once the students have gone through the initial assessments — free counseling, career aptitude testing, and assessment of overseas study opportunities – they will be designated in a carefully chosen field, institution, and destination.

    For this BS Management Information Systems graduate from Ateneo de Manila University, it was just one step at a time.

    “When I entered ADMU in 1998, I wasn’t sure what I wanted in life so I just chose Management Engineering. This was probably one of the most difficult courses in the university with its focus on operations research and quantitative analysis. I only chose that course for the challenge. But, it didn’t necessarily make me happy,” Alvarez recalled.

    The programming class in Pascal opened his eyes. It was when he realized that he wanted to be in the Information Technology (IT) industry, and that programming is his passion. He decided to pursue his passions and shifted to Management Information Systems (MIS), a program that combined computer science and business. Alvarez learned the language of Java programming, which he has come to know “intimately”, during the last decade of his life.

    His hard work paid off when, as a junior software developer at Accenture, he was assigned to work on an offshore outsourcing project in Manchester, England for six months. He then moved to Hewlett Packard (HP) and worked with a global consumer-manufacturing corporation.

    Things went for an interesting turn when, a few years in HP, he rekindled his love for Java development work at NetSuite, a company that offers Software as a Service (SaaS) for small to medium enterprises. From being a software developer, Alvarez became an authorized Apple retail reseller.

    “It was like what Steve Jobs mentioned in his speech at Stanford about connecting the dots, where you build your knowledge of something on top of something else you already know. I would never be able to run my own business if not for what I learned at NetSuite, and I would never have joined NetSuite if not for what I did in HP. Everything is connected. You just have to keep going,” Alvarez said.

    “Everything I’ve done and everything I am doing now is in preparation for an unknown future opportunity. And when that opportunity finally arrives, I will be ready to take on those challenges,” he added, saying that the experience was not always smooth sailing, and the road was not without heartaches.

    “Back in 2007, I attended a recruitment drive for an opportunity to work as a developer in Singapore. I took the test but failed the interview. I guess it wasn’t really for me back then,” Alvarez recalled.

    But bravery reaps rewards, as out of the hundreds of applicants, Alvarez was the only Java programmer who was offered the job.

    The rest, as they say, is history.

    The Ateneo graduate is now on his second year for the degree Master of IT in Business (Financial Services) at the Singapore Man-agement University.

    “It was an easy choice to make because not many people are given the opportunity to work in Credit Suisse – especially since I did not have any investment banking experience at all. I knew that the technologist in me needed to learn Wall Street’s language quickly! Not only did I have to keep myself updated in the latest Java technologies, I also had to learn finance,” he added.

    Despite his busy schedule, Alvarez keeps things easy.

    “It’s a matter of perspective. Work is not a burden because I enjoy Java programming. My post-graduate study is not a burden either because I enjoy learning and growing. We have only one life and it’s quite short. I just want to live my life with no regrets,” he said in closing.

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