Meet Asbel Ngetich, who shares his story of joining CGI through our Apprenticeship Program after moving to the U.S. from Kenya. But first, a little background…
Three years ago, CGI embarked on a journey to build a world-class technology Apprenticeship Program, working to address a nationwide shortage of tech talent by creating new pathways for professionals from historically underrepresented communities. In May 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) designated CGI an Apprenticeship Ambassador.
Today, Asbel is a data engineer at CGI working full-time on client-facing projects in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Read on for his story, in his own words.
A computer science degree I couldn’t use
Originally from Kenya, I have a college degree in computer science. However, as an international student, I had trouble finding a job in the U.S. in my desired field. So, I pursued alternative paths for over a decade, working in the restaurant industry, a steel mill, and even as an electrician. Immediately prior to joining CGI, I was training order fillers at a warehouse.
During my break from programming, I went to local meetups in Baton Rouge. It was through one of these meetups that I met people from CGI who encouraged me to pursue an apprenticeship. I was elated at the opportunity to return to programming and get back to doing something I loved.
First stop: Tech boot camp
Once I was selected for the Apprenticeship Program, the first step was a technical boot camp, which included eight-hour days and learning three different tech stacks. I was back to programming, problem-solving and doing what I love.
After boot camp, I initially split my time between hands-on training from my manager and on-demand training through CGI’s online platform. My manager gave me small assignments so I could keep learning until it was time to start client work. After that, I spent time shadowing my teammates and learning client-specific technologies and systems. Then I became a full member of the client-facing team, and I’m still on that team today.
I have to credit the management team because they treated me as an equal from the moment I joined as an apprentice. That made a big difference to me.
Full-time data engineer
In August 2022, I graduated from the Apprenticeship Program and moved into my current role as a full-time consultant at CGI. I’m a data engineer. I create ETL (Extract-Transform-Load) pipelines—which means I write code to take data from one place, transform it, and insert it into another location. The data, now cleansed and organized, feeds into critical client-facing software solutions.
After the people, my next favorite thing about working at CGI is the opportunities. When I’m ready for something new, there are so many ways to go. But for now, my focus remains on continuous learning. There’s a lot more to learn, and I want to get better at my craft.
I’m grateful that I got this level of experience early in my career because it means I can contribute at a higher level. And that’s what motivates me—being able to contribute. If I’d taken a different route, it might have taken me years to get to the same place.
I have a daughter in Baton Rouge, but the rest of my family is still in Kenya. I was able to go back and visit them in November 2022 and again in April 2023. Finally, I can afford the ticket.
Read more CGI member stories in the Life at CGI blog series.