Ashiq Rahman

PBSCU began its journey on January 28, 2012 and is now the largest non-profit academic peer to peer discussion platform in Canada with more than 135,000 Bangladeshi members. From its inception, PBSCU is helping Bangladeshi students who are adamant to pursue their higher studies in Canadian Institutes at all levels: undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral. The admins/moderators and advisors, mostly current students and alumni at different Canadian Institutes, have been trying their level best to advise and guide these prospective students without any monetary benefits. PBSCU/CAAB touched the lives of more than 5000 Bangladeshi students since 2012 who are doing amazing things and we would like others to know about them and motivate prospective students.

An Interview with Ashiq Rahman (Master of Software Engineering, Concordia University)


Short Bio:

Ashiq completed his Masters in Software Engineering from Concordia University in Montreal. Currently, a Certified ScrumMaster and working as a Senior Software Engineer in Tucows Inc. which is in Toronto. Before moving to Toronto in 2019, Ashiq was in Montreal, Quebec since September 2014 till April 2019 where he worked in the Tech industry after completing his Masters in 2016. Ashiq loves networking, socializing, soccer and his family. Been a PBSCU member since 2013 and joined the PBSCU Advisory Panel in 2016.


Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. Could you please share your experience as an international student in Canada?

Thank you for letting me share my experience. Canada is a land of golden opportunities with diverse cultures and people. Canada is the second largest country in the world with a population of only 36 million people. Since I moved to Canada in Fall 2014 and till date, except harsh winter and hearing sorry too many times, I love everything about Canada! Jokes apart, the Canadian people are really kind and helpful. Let’s be more specific about my experience.

I came for my Masters in Montreal, Quebec. Quebec is a French-speaking province of the country. But Montreal is a very student-friendly city, even for only English-speaking students. Concordia University and McGill University are the English-speaking universities of Quebec. At other universities, there are certain programmes in English as well, but French is the primary language. What I meant by saying Montreal is very student-friendly is: the STM transportation system covers all of Montreal pretty brilliantly. The city is not big like Toronto. The rental is affordable, and enough part-time job opportunities for students.

Now coming to my personal experience, the day I landed with high hopes and a crying heart while missing my loved ones and family, I was truly amazed by the welcoming nature of the Canadians in the airport. They were super friendly, welcoming and processed my study permit. One of my friends received me at the airport and took the bus to Montreal NDG. I stayed in a furnished apartment for 4 months. I made a checklist of things to do in my first week. I went to the University to enrol in the courses for the current semester, went to Service Canada for getting my SIN number, and got the health insurance card from the International Student Office of Concordia.  On my second day, I went to TD bank to open my bank accounts and got my cellular service from Fido.  And I was all set for my classes.

Few tips for current and prospective students:

How did you get connected with PBSCU/CAAB?

Back in 2013, when I was about to finish my undergrad, I always wanted to pursue a higher degree from abroad. To be honest, my primary choice was always Australia. Little did I know about Canada. By the end of 2013, I already got offer letters from Uni of Melbourne, Uni of Sydney, and UNSW from Australia. I joined PBSCU in 2013 and started reading about experiences from Canada. It’s such a helpful group with beautiful people. Then I started double thinking about Australia and decided to give a shot in Canada. As I was already late for Fall 2014, I just chose one university and applied right away. I had so many silly questions regarding the application, and then visa processing. All questions were always answered by members of PBSCU. Even, I reached out to Dr. Maruf, the founder of PBSCU and CAAB on multiple occasions.

It’s brilliant and so generous on how they encourage everyone to apply on their own and not get deceived by agencies! Once, I got the visa, I joined CAAB for all enquiries for students in Canada. Since then, I try to visit PBSCU and CAAB groups every once in a while and try to answer people’s questions. Finally in 2015, Dr Maruf Bhai approached me if I wanted to be a moderator and then later advisor of PBSCU and CAAB. It was such an honour for me! I am glad that I chose PBSCU and CAAB family and trying to make an impact for all the students who are in Canada already and also thousands of brilliant students who want to come to Canada!

You have done your master’s in software engineering degree in Canada. Do you have any advice to prospective students interested in this subject?

When you come for Masters, the tutors expect you already know a lot from your Bachelors! The first semester will be definitely overwhelming. Do not crackdown under pressure! Many will suggest you for an easy way out, like changing programs, or getting admission in college! Trust me, if you stick to it, you will figure it out.

Also, the world is running on Information Technology, so to shine, you have to work hard!

What are the pros and cons of pursuing a M.Sc. vs M.Engg.?

I will make a chart to make the comparison easy.

At the end of the day, it depends on your interests and career goals. Both MSc and MEng completion will award you Masters degree. 

Did you do any co-op during your studies? Are there any benefits of doing co-op?

No, I did not. But I wish, I did. Co-op opportunities are limited in the master's Program. I didn’t know a lot about Co-op when I came to Canada. It’s a brilliant thing about Canadian Universities. It prepares a student for the industrial challenges. So, I would like to recommend you to get into co-op and internship programs available. However, if you already have world-class industrial work experience, you won’t need co-op or internships.

What’s the current job prospects in your field? Do you have any career tips for current students in your field?

With the upcoming future prospects of AI, NLP and Data Science - information technology field will sustain and in fact be the soul of every business around the world. And the best part of the tech industry is it’s never too late. You can go for self-learning courses, certifications and learn it by yourself.

Few tips:

Can you share you journey getting your first job in Canada? Any tips for current students?

I used to work as Tech Support while I was a student. Many of my classmates, friends started working full time as Tech Support once they graduated. I always had different plans. I took some time off after my graduation and visited my family.

Once I came back, I got in touch with the Career Advisors and Coaches at my university. They advised and worked on my resume. Shared my job boards, references. Eventually, I got my first one in a reputed AI-based home care company in Montreal called AlayaCare. Then after 6 months, got approached by a recruiter from Bombardier, where I worked one year before finally moving to Toronto to join Tucows - an Internet company.

Few tips:

You lived in Montreal for a long time. How was the experience?

Beautiful, vibrant city except for the harsh winter! (joke, only a few days are harsh)

My 5 years in Montreal were wonderful. The city gave me a lot. It’s wonderful, the people are really nice. The Tech industry is booming. The accommodation is very reasonable compared to other major cities in Canada. If you are a tech enthusiast, love vibrant cultures, Montreal will be like heaven! I loved their poutines, their festival throughout the year. The only drawback was I didn’t speak French. Well, I worked in the Tech industry so I was good. We decided to move to Canada as my wife who has a business background needed to speak French in order to work in the banking or accounting industry.

So if you are from any other industries, other than Tech, you have to learn French or move out of Montreal. I love Montreal and their poutine! and I think it’s one of the best cities in Canada to raise your family.