From Refugee status to IBM and beyond

Mutual learning and more fascinating Somali immigrant tales emerged at the November 30th, 2015 tech talk co-sponsored by Jewish Family services and Somali Center for family services of Ottawa.

Asad Sheikh, Ottawa-based, of Airbus Defence and Space:

“I arrived to Canada as a refugee in 1995 with a high school diploma, very basic English and no money. While earning a Canadian high school diploma, I worked at ‘Sellers’ (pronounced Zellers), attended ESL classes and went to the library to read as much as I could in English.

Sometimes my meals in those days consisted of pita because that’s all I could afford. I felt I had to achieve more so I applied to Carleton university and earned a full scholarship. Four years later I graduated with high honours in software engineering.

I’ve worked for IBM, Qatar national bank, halogen software, had an interview with Apple, opened my own consulting services and currently travel to Nashville, Tennessee to meet periodically with my current employer Airbus DS communications (defence and space).

When I travel for business I seek out the Somali restaurants and Somali people. My colleagues join me for Somali food. I keep ahead of industry trends by taking new certification every 6 months”. asad sheikh


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