Five ways mentorship can help immigrant and refugee IT professionals succeed in Canada

Published January 10, 2023.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes 

In summary: 

  • Mentorship can play a powerful role in helping internationally-trained IT professionals to succeed in their Canadian careers. 
  • Mentors can offer their mentees a stronger understanding of Canadian IT workplace norms, policies, processes and in-demand skills and certifications. 

  • An effective IT mentoring relationship can help skilled newcomers expand their professional network and learn about new employment opportunities. 

Mahynour Ahmed, a senior cloud security engineer, based in Toronto, understands the power of mentorship. 

A skilled immigrant to Canada from Egypt, Ahmed has witnessed how knowledge and experience shared between mentor and mentee can transform a newcomer’s career, for the better. She is a former Windmill Microlending client and is now a mentor within the Windmill Mentorship Program. 

One of Ahmed’s mentees, Adewale Odeja, a DevOps professional originally from Nigeria agrees. In the Canadian information technology (IT) and tech sectors, mentorship can help immigrants and refugees achieve career success. 

“Mahynour helped highlight the areas where I needed to improve my skills and helped keep me motivated as I pursued my career goals,” says Odeja. “She also helped me understand DevOps and cloud security processes in Canada, along with the Canadian IT workplace culture.” 

Want to learn more about the education, certifications or training you need to become a UX/UI designer, cyber security specialist or full stack developer in Canada? Download Windmill Microlending’s free Educational Pathways for Skilled Newcomers, found here. 

“Mentors, especially immigrant mentors, can be a great source of ideas and advice, for newcomers who are just starting their IT careers in Canada,” says Ahmed. “A mentor can help manage your expectations and set realistic, achievable goals for growing your career. If they are an immigrant themselves, then they likely understand some of the challenges you are facing.”  




From left: Mahynour Ahmed and Adewale Odeja connected through Windmill Microlending’s Mentorship Program. As his mentor, Mahynour helped Adewale better understand the Canadian IT landscape and what skills could help him to launch his IT career in Canada. 


The Windmill Microlending blog asked Mahynour and Adewale to highlight how immigrants and refugees can harness the power of mentorship to succeed in Canada’s IT sector. Here’s what they had to say: 

IT Mentorship Insight #5 – Mentorship enables immigrant and refugee IT workers to develop an action plan and set achievable career goals. 

Mentors and mentees can work together to develop a plan to help the mentee find their next career opportunity or learn what steps in terms of certifications or training they may need to help take their career to the next level. A strong mentoring relationship is guided by an action plan containing the steps required to get you to your Canadian IT career goals. 

IT Mentorship Insight #4 – Mentoring allows skilled newcomer IT and tech professionals to feel valued and their knowledge and experience recognized. 

The Canadian job market doesn’t always value international experience or training. But a strong mentor-mentee relationship is one built on mutual respect and recognition of each other’s skills, knowledge and experience. Experiencing this validation of your education and certifications from a mentor can be a validating experience and remind you that as a skilled newcomer, you bring great value to a prospective employer. 

IT Mentorship Insight #3 – It expands a new Canadian’s professional IT network. 

The benefit here is pretty clear. In a strong mentoring relationship, a newcomer can benefit from gaining access to a mentor’s professional network. Mentors, even immigrant mentors, tend to be more established in their careers and, as a result, can help connect you to people they may know in the Canadian IT or tech sectors. A connection made through a referral can help you gain knowledge about a potential employer and career opportunities within the contact’s organization. The new contact you make could also help you better understand the Canadian IT landscape and the in-demand skills that will make you more competitive in the job market. 

IT Mentorship Insight #2 – Mentors can help newcomers understand the Canadian IT and tech workplace culture. 

A mentor, particularly in IT, can play an important role in helping their mentee understand workplace norms, best practices in IT policies and processes, as well as, the ways in which Canadian IT teams collaborate and work across departments within an organization. These differ from country to country and getting this insider’s perspective from someone employed in Canadian IT can be difference-making for internationally-trained IT workers and their career success in Canada.  


HubSpot Video


WATCH: Newcomer IT professional and Windmill Microlending mentor, Mahynour Ahmed, shares her IT mentorship success strategies. 


IT Mentorship Insight #1 – Mentorship empowers immigrants and refugees who want to work in the Canadian IT sector with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed. 

Working with a mentor can be empowering for newcomer IT professionals. Mahynour’s knowledge of DevOps and cloud security practices in Canada enabled her to share this information with her mentee, Adewale, preparing him for what to expect in the Canadian IT workforce. This industry-specific knowledge transfer can be a critical part of the mentor-mentee relationship. The people best suited to help you are those working in your field, who know what the day-to-day skills and work expectations are like.  

An IT mentoring relationship can change the course of your career in Canada by offering you knowledge of the skills you need to succeed. This could mean the coding languages you need to learn or understand or the enterprise software you need to use in the workplace. When you know these things, you can come to an employer and show them you are ready to contribute and ready to succeed.  

Windmill Microlending’s virtual Career Planning and Success Centre can offer you career development, financial planning, mentorship and networking tips and advice, as well as free downloadable resources, to support your professional journey in Canada. Click here to visit the Centre today. 

Categorized in: Career Success and Planning, Mentorship, A Newcomer's Journey, Settlement and Life in Canada,