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8 SMT Magazine • May 2017 by Stephen Las Marias I-CONNECT007 Finding, Nurturing, and Growing the Right Talent When I was in my senior year of high school in the Philippines, I wasn't sure what courses to take in college. One day, when my friends and I were discussing the issue, one of them said his uncle worked at one of the biggest telecom companies in the country, and that he would be able to help us secure a job once we graduated should we take a career path called electronics and communications engineering (ECE). There were no "career talks" in our school, so most of us weren't really aware of the courses to take for whatever career choices we might have. We also didn't (and still don't) have STEM programs, so that's another issue. Therefore, we had no clue what to do after high school. Even my parents weren't aware of my plans for college then. In the end, a friend and I took up the path that our other friend suggested. (He, on the oth- er hand, took math, and is now an educator of teachers who teach math—we're not sure what happened to his uncle.) Between the two of us who took the similar path, I became the engi- neer, while my other friend switched to indus- trial engineering (our joke is that he isn't an en- gineer because industrial engineering doesn't have a licensure exam). Over the course of my studies, I came to love my work. Although I did my on-the-job training in a telecommuni- E DITOR'S NOTE

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