Unconventional Paths Lead to Sensei Labs

Some careers follow very strict paths. Want to be a doctor? Study at med school, finish a residency, be a doctor. A lawyer? Go to law school, take the bar exam, be a lawyer. If you haven’t taken exactly the same path as everyone else, you’re unlikely to be successful in that field.

On the other hand, some people feel restricted by their past education and work experiences. Either they don’t feel like they have exactly the right degree or that their experience isn’t a 100% match for the job description.

Lucky for me, the paths to working at Sensei Labs are a lot more diverse! I started my career as a biochemistry undergraduate and worked in engineering consulting and for a biopharmaceutical company right after I graduated. But I wasn’t finding any of these options fulfilling as a career, so I went back to school and reskilled, which opened up the doors for me to now be part of the growing Marketing team here at Sensei Labs!

That got me thinking – what are some of the other unconventional paths that Senseis have taken that led them to working on the team? Turns out, there’s quite a few! This is a testament, not only to the how open the tech industry is to non-traditional backgrounds, but more specifically how much we value diversity at Sensei Labs. We’re actively looking for folks who have different perspectives and points of view which will help our team be nimble, think of problems in different ways, and open up an entirely different world of possibilities for the whole team!

Get to know the unconventional paths some of our Senseis have taken – I hope they inspire you take a look at your own experience and feel a world possibility ahead of you!

We’re always excited to meet new, awesome people to work with us as we build tools for more efficient, happy teams!

Visit our Careers page to see all the open positions!

Even if you don’t have all of the listed qualifications or you come from a non-traditional background, I encourage you to apply or connect with us. I hope this post helps to show that some of our best team members used their unique perspectives and experience to bring tremendous value to the team.

Josh

Josh

What did you study at school?

I majored in history and minored in French while studying at the University of PEI.

Why did you choose that subject?

At the time I thought that I would like to eventually become a teacher and I had always enjoyed history growing up in school. I chose to minor in French after having spent some time living in Quebec doing the Katimavik program and I wanted to continue learning the language (which I didn’t learn in school).

I think that learning French as an adult was a great primer for learning to code – programming languages are called languages for a reason, and in my experience, you can learn to work with them much in the same way that you would learn a traditional language.

What do you do now at Sensei Labs?

I’m a Front End Engineer at Sensei Labs. That means that I generally work on the things that account holders see and interact with on our product (as opposed to Back End Engineers who work more closely with databases and APIs). My day-to-day work involves building out user interfaces and working with data that’s provided by those APIs.

What skills have you brought with you from your unconventional journey?

After university I worked in a lot of roles and what all of them had in common was problem solving and working with people. Even though from the outside it seems like engineers just work with code, most of what we do daily is learning and collaborating. While I didn’t learn code syntax at university or in the jobs that followed, I did develop those other skills.

What advice would you give to folks who are coming from unconventional paths?

It doesn’t matter if you developed your skills in a traditional computer science program. Many of the most talented developers that I’ve met have come from unique backgrounds like bootcamps or are self-taught. If you have the skills and believe you can do the work then you shouldn’t let that hold you back from applying!

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Rose

Rose

What did you study at school?

I studied Nuclear Medicine Technology at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Why did you choose that subject?

I was drawn to that career because while I wanted to help people in a direct patient care role and I also liked splitting that time with lab work. I find the science fascinating – Nuclear Medicine is a diagnostic imaging technique used to assess the function of the body’s systems. How different pieces come together into a complex human body is incredibly interesting and beautiful. I also really enjoyed the interesting application of technology—in this case to improve health outcomes for patients.

For similar reasons, I enjoy working on a large, feature-rich platform like Conductor where all the system’s pieces come together.

What do you do now at Sensei Labs?

I’m a Front-End Engineer, which means I build functional and intuitive user interfaces aligned with Sensei Labs’ vision and brand. I work in a cross-functional team and collaborate with people in different roles every day.

What skills have you brought with you from your unconventional journey?

As a Nuclear Medicine Technologist, you have to be prepared for anything—hospitals can be unpredictable places! This cemented decision-making, problem solving, and time-management skills which are all extremely valuable in building software. I collaborated with a team of technologists and radiologists to ensure the best possible patient outcomes, while working with many patients who were often in a heightened emotional state. Teamwork and communication skills are essential to my job as an FE Engineer in an agile environment such as ours. I’ve had a lot of practice explaining very technical procedures in layman’s terms which now helps me communicate goals and challenges organization-wide.

What advice would you give to folks who are coming from unconventional paths?

Always be open to learning new things and be tenacious in pursuing your new goals. I think it can help to find a community of supportive people to keep you motivated—for me that was the network of current students and alumni at the bootcamp I attended. Also learn how to market yourself—publicly share the things you are learning online and work on building a portfolio where you can showcase your new skills, prospective employers will appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to learn. Remember the value of your soft skills and transferrable expertise from past experience.
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Alfred

What did you study at school?

I studied Physics at Yangon University. My interest in programming grew after taking an introduction to programming course in C and C++.

Why did you choose that subject?

As my interest in programming grew, I started learning programming from a bootcamp and tried to get more and more experience while still at school. After taking a basic database course, I realized the career path that I wanted to pursue.

What do you do now at Sensei Labs?

I’m a Back End Engineer responsible for designing and building new features, building microservices, collaborating with the Front End Engineers, improving existing features, and learning new technologies.

What skills have you brought with you from your unconventional journey?

I’ve seen a lot of people who come from different backgrounds, including me, so the most important thing is to have these skills: communication, teamwork, collaboration, time management, and problem solving.

What advice would you give to folks who are coming from unconventional paths?

According to my experience, moving to Toronto from another country wasn’t easy, but because I had programming skills and experience, it was a lot easier for me compared to some other people. Having strong skills and experience will get through all the obstacles easily.

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Michelle

What did you study at school?

I majored in neuroscience and psychology at the University of Toronto

Why did you choose that subject? What did you like about it?

I had planned to go into mental health counseling. I liked a bunch of things about the subject, but especially how it helped you be more aware and understanding in the differences in people’s behaviors and methods of communication.

What do you do now at Sensei Labs?

Senior Customer Support Specialist

What skills have you brought with you from your unconventional journey?

A whole lot of empathy, perseverance and knowing and appreciating the value of good teamwork and communication as well as the ability to take whatever happens in stride.

What advice would you give to folks who are coming from unconventional paths?

Your experiences are your strengths. Embrace and utilize them.

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Peter

Peter

What did you study at school?

I graduated from York University with a Specialized Honors Health Science degree specializing in Clinical Biomechanics and Clinical Sport Physiology.

After university, you served in the Canadian Army – what did you like about that experience?

Being in the Army was a unique experience and taught me that teamwork and communication are important in accomplishing complex tasks.

What do you do now at Sensei Labs?

Senior Quality Assurance Engineer/ Release Manager

I make sure that our application has outstanding quality.

What skills have you brought with you from your unconventional journey?

University made me question the sources of information and gave me great research skills. Also, the courses in computer science that I took planted the seed for my passion for technology.

Volunteering at the University Health Network’s palliative care unit made aware of what patience and compassion are all about and my previous work experience helped me develop leadership skills.

The Army taught me how to handle stressful situations and make decisions under pressure.

What advice would you give to folks who are coming from unconventional paths?

Everything is in your hands! Be open minded and think outside of the box!

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Dani

Dani

What did you study at school and what was your first job?

I did a Bachelor of Business Administration at Laurier and specialized in Marketing and International Business in my fourth year.

My first job after graduating was as a recruiter with at a recruitment firm that specialized in filling digital media, marketing, and development positions.

What did you like about working in Recruitment or studying Marketing and Int. Business?

Studying Marketing and Int. Business really helped me learn how to collaborate with people who all have different approaches and different ways of thinking when it comes to working together on a project and problem solving. It was also interesting to learn about the nuances in doing business from one country to the next. It opens your mind and helps you take a step back before diving right into making assumptions and problem solving.

As a Recruiter, I really enjoyed getting to know the candidates I represented on a deep level; both personally and professionally. It was extremely rewarding when you were able to successfully match a candidate with an open position because you were able to fulfill the needs and aspirations of the candidate as well as the business that was hiring.

What do you do now at Sensei Labs?

I’m a Director of Customer Success and manage a team of three Customer Success Coaches.

What skills have you brought with you from your unconventional journey?

My university studies really challenged me to think outside of the box, feel comfortable and confident presenting important information to large groups of people, work hard, and know how to work effectively and efficiently as a team all while working towards the same goal.

My background in recruitment and sales taught me the hustle! I learned that things won’t just fall into your lap and if you want to be the best or succeed, you must work for it. My curiosity in learning about people and confidence in building relationships with new people that came from these roles has also played a huge part in my success at Sensei Labs.

What advice would you give to folks who are coming from unconventional paths?

Embrace your unconventional profile, leverage the soft skills that you’ve developed to help you succeed in something new, and don’t be afraid to bring your ‘outside-of-the-box’ thinking to the table!

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Chelsea Lefaivre

By exploring the impact that our everyday work habits and processes have on us all, Chelsea seeks to create a more harmonious working experience.

Innovation, Sensei Labs

Our innovation commitment to our partners and customers as we together emerge from COVID-19

Leading a modern collaboration means playing the role of conductor in an orchestra-sized jam session, welcoming agility and collaboration, and fostering creativity and innovation. Our ecosystem encourages both, taking inspiration from our partners and customers back to our Product team as seeds as well as embracing the complete plants that sometimes appear in new business models or opportunities. We’re deeply committed to that role, working to redefine the future of enterprise work and to build the tools that will enable enterprises to innovate at tomorrow’s rate of change.

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