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This Software Engineering student did what no other college student could

Sahil_Sachdeva

Sahil Sachdeva is doing something no other college student could. While still in school, he got accepted into RBC’s ‘Amplify’ program, a summer internship where students from across the world work in teams to solve real problems faced by Canada’s largest bank. It’s a competitive program, and it usually only accepts university students. But through determination and Centennial College’s help, Sahil got in.

One of the most important reasons to come to college is how it can connect you to a successful career. To make that connection, you need a school that can enhance your skills, and serve as the launching pad for you to do great things. Centennial College doesn’t just give you those connections, it sets you up with the skills you need to make the most of them, as Sahil did. Here’s how he did it, and how you can follow in his footsteps:

Turning a hobby into a career

“I started coding early, somewhere around when I was 16,” Sahil says. “It seemed really cool to me how all those fancy websites and computer games that amazed me were nothing but a bunch of if-else statements. It’s funny that I never really thought of having a career in software development, and always looked at it as a hobby, and when I got to know that I could make money doing it, it seemed pretty obvious what I would like to do for the rest of my life.”

To turn it into a career, Sahil started with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science Engineering in his native India, followed by embarking on a career as a Software Developer, before deciding to come to Canada and further his education through Centennial College.

What he loved about studying at Centennial

Sahil enrolled in the Software Engineering Technology Fast-Track  Co-op program and was even able to use his past education to skip ahead to the second year of the third-year program.

 “The best thing about my program is that it is heavily hands-on,” he says. “You are valued for your ability to write good code, and not just for being able to remember concepts and frameworks.”

It was one of the program’s co-op placements, which have you taking the skills you’ve learned out into the real world, which led Sahil to Amplify.

“I did two back-to-back co-op terms with RBC,” he says. “Towards the end of my eight-month tenure, my manager suggested I should aim to get into RBC Amplify. That was the first time I heard about it, and I completely fell in love with the program. It was the only thing I wanted in 2019 from myself!”

So, what is Amplify?

“RBC Amplify is one of the most prestigious tech internships in Canada,” Sahil explains. “It’s a four-month-long hackathon – where a team of four students with diverse backgrounds are given a challenge that the bank sees value in. The challenges are complex and need innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. During the summer, the students are given top-notch training, mentorship and access to any resources they ask for. Towards the end, we get to present our solution at AMP EXPO to the top executives at the bank and have a chance to get sponsorship for our vision to be converted into a production application, ready to face the market!”

How he got into Amplify

“Getting into Amplify is pretty intense,” Sahil says. “Thousands of applications are received, and only a select few across the globe manage to get an interview request.”

In short, Sahil credits getting involved with campus life at Centennial College for having gotten him into the program.

“The most useful skills that I’ve learnt at Centennial have been the soft skills,” he says. “I’m pursuing an amazing program that’s called the Leadership Passport, offered exclusively at Centennial College – wherein students take up volunteering and leadership activities throughout their program to graduate with a distinction in Leadership. All these activities have shaped me into who I am today and have helped me to grow as a person.”

“I believe when you give back to the community, the community gives back to you,” Sahil says. “Most of my major successes and personal developments have come from the people I have met during these volunteer experiences.”

Where he’s at now

“I simply love each and everything about the Amplify program,” Sahil says. “My teammates, the Amplify program team, my mentors, the amazing RBC culture, the student community, the way my learning curve grows every day, those bouts of frustration when I get stuck at something, those feelings of happiness when I figure my way out of them, the excitement with which I get up daily, the payday and, of course, the free snacks.”

Where he’d like to go

“Honestly, I’m still in that celebration mode for making into Amplify,” Sahil admits. “Having said that, all of my focus right now is to prepare for the Amp Expo and work on coming up with a solution to my challenge that I would be proud of. The beauty of the Amplify program is that getting into the program is just one small achievement. The big things are yet to come.”

“For my long-term goals, I would like to see my solution being incorporated at RBC, and best-case scenario, I would love to take a full-time role with the team developing it,” he says.

So, how can you make it happen?

Sahil has plenty of advice for how other Centennial students can get to where he is, and they all involve getting involved in what the school has to offer.

 “Believe in yourself and be open to anything and everything that comes your way,” he adds. “Write down your goals and create an achievable plan towards fulfilling those goals. Create your story, connect the dots and always be ready to impress people. And most importantly, if you are not where you want to be – take action! I used to aim for a lot and ended up procrastinating. It didn’t help me. Small steps will take you a long way.” Centennial College is the first of the small steps that put him where he is and can put you there, too.