The Survival Drive Can Always Be the Best Motivation

A Story of Hanifan Rizki Nurahman, Bangkit 2020 Graduate from Statistics, Universitas Padjadjaran
“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.” – James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits
Everyone has dreams, but not everyone has a smooth path to achieving them. Hanifan Rizki Nurahman’s (25) story falls under the second category. Being partially colorblind posed challenges to his wishes of studying in a vocational school.

However, the condition didn’t stop him from pursuing his dreams. Although he had to attend a regular high school due to his condition, his enthusiasm for learning remained bright. He believed those who embraced the process and rose from setbacks were likelier to achieve their dream.

This is the story of Hanif, whose commitment to achieving his dream can inspire us.

Nothing Could Limit Hanifan’s Steps Toward His Dreams

Hanif–that’s what he’s called, is the second son of three siblings from a pair of self-employed parents who have always supported his dream. From a young age, Hanif showed a spirit of independence, preferring to earn rewards rather than rely on handouts. The seeds sown in childhood blossomed into an unwavering resolve, allowing him to overcome the adversities that came after.

Back then, Hanif wanted to study chemical analysis at a vocational school. Unfortunately, when Hanif took the vocational school’s admission test, he discovered he was partially colorblind.
“I never knew that I was partially colorblind before. Given my physical condition, I couldn't enroll in vocational school, so I studied in a regular high school in Bandung.”
When he studied at high school, Hanif was hooked and wanted to learn more about the web. The reason was simple: He was interested in blogs and loved exploring HTML and CSS. From this, his passion for tech started to bloom.

After graduating high school, Hanif took a gap year because he had yet to pass several university admission tests. During the gap year, he kept learning and exploring tech. Once his gap year was over, he continued his higher education at Universitas Padjadjaran (Unpad). Initially majoring in Physics, Hanif had to change to majoring in Statistics because of his color blindness.

When Hanif’s life as a Statistics student began, career opportunities in the data science field boomed in 2017. It prompted him to start learning about Python, Deep Learning, and other data-science-related material. He also participated in several courses and was involved in tech communities such as Data Science Indonesia, and even became the leader of the Statistics Research Forum in Unpad.

Participated In the Bangkit Pilot Program

While Hanif was engaging in his independent study about Data Science, he discovered Bangkit on LinkedIn. From his research, Hanif found out that Bangkit is a career readiness program initiated by Google and supported by well-known tech industries such as GoTo, Tokopedia, and Traveloka.

Feeling fascinated with this program, Hanif signed himself up. Finally, Hanif was accepted as one of the 300 cohorts in the Bangkit pilot program in 2020.

It was a “fresh start” for Hanif. He officially became the Machine Learning cohort who attended Bangkit offline learning at the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) until the pandemic hit in March 2020.

Even though it was challenging because the learning process changed to entirely online, Hanif could still overcome it. However, one other thing became an obstacle for him: communicating in English.
“At that time, cohorts were encouraged to communicate in English. I tried so hard, even though I was shaking. Nevertheless, it was one of those unforgettable experiences. I was not so fluent initially, but I got used to it after a while. Now, I’m more confident when using English.”

Establishing a Career in an AI-Related Company

After graduating from Bangkit, Hanif highlighted his Instructor-Led Training (ILT) session about critical thinking. Learning about critical thinking made him understand seven problem-solving methods that could be used in everyday life and his first job interviews.
“Bangkit’s hard skills training is the golden standard for boot camps and off-campus courses. What distinguished Bangkit from others was the capstone project that could be used as a portfolio. Moreover, the soft skills, critical thinking, and English communication training were also practical.”
Having a learning experience in Bangkit boosted Hanif’s confidence. Although he had already worked at Indosat as a Data Engineer, Hanif challenged himself by joining Jasa Teknologi Indonesia (JTI) Top Gun, an internship program at IBM Indonesia. After several recruitment processes, Hanif was successfully accepted as a Data Specialist.

At IBM-JTI, Hanif and his team support IBM’s needs, including projects with clients related to Data Governance or Machine Learning. Besides that, he and his team focus on managing internal systems such as the Data Warehouse, creating dashboard visualizations, and initiating AI-related projects.

Since the AI scene is currently a hot topic, Hanif also explained several works in AI sectors as well. One of them is Optical Character Recognition (OCR) or Image Processing.
“OCR or Image Processing is similar to my capstone project in Bangkit, which automated image captioning. Text processing is also there, and there is a lot of buzz about Large Language Models (LLM), so I’m exploring that too.”

Tiny Habits, Big Changes

Now, Hanif has become the Lead Data and AI Services at IBM-JTI. Of course, this is a significant achievement if you look at his long and winding journey. So when asked about what inner drive to keep going, Hanif immediately explained it enthusiastically.
“If we talk about motivation, maybe because of the pandemic, I had to graduate quickly and help my family. Even though it sounds cliché, the survival drive can always be the best motivation.”
He added that to become a top digital talent, we must have a growth mindset and cultivate self-confidence. Hanif also felt inferior before because he couldn’t speak English fluently. However, his will to grow was bigger than his insecurity.
“Never be afraid of other people’s opinions if you like a certain tech field, whether Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, or Mobile Development. There are many resources, and Bangkit is one of the best places to hone your skills from a good mentor.”
The point is that as long as we try, we can get what we want, although sometimes, the journey is difficult. Hanif believes in this, too, that if we keep trying and harness our abilities, there will be a way.

Luckily, Hanif shared his secret to achieve this. What’s that? James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. When he had difficulty speaking English, Hanif pushed himself to make small progress every day. In this case, he reads English novels, makes a daily journal in English by recording himself for 15 minutes, and solves leetcode problems every single day.

Not only that, but Hanif also learns programming, contributes to the open-source community like the Qiskit library, and translates the Quantum Computing Book GitLocalize every day. The result? Extraordinary. Forbye, Hanif was invited to Singapore to attend the Quantum Conference.
“In the end, we don’t rise to the level of our goals, but instead fall into a system that we create ourselves. So, create some habits ‘system’ that you can enjoy doing every day, and believe that the result will be compounding in the future. Someday, you can look back to the past and be thankful that you started those habits.”
More stories about Bangkit Alum and Cohort:
  1. Roissyah Fernanda Khoiroh - My Physical Condition Is Not a Barrier to My Ambition
  2. Rini Aprilianty Riadi - Take a Leap of Faith, Rini!
  3. Nuril Hidayati - Don’t Let Self-Doubt Hold You Back from Pursuing Your Dream


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