Difficulty Shaped the Resilience of This Boy from North Sulawesi

A Story of Gilbert Cefryo Palentein, Bangkit 2022 Graduate from Informatics Engineering, Institut Teknologi Harapan Bangsa

Internet users have exploded across Indonesia. According to Statista (2024), almost 73% or over 271 million Indonesians are online now. However, this wasn’t always the case. A decade ago, connectivity outside Java Island was significantly slower and less widespread. Gilbert Cefryo Palentein (23), a young man from Bitung, North Sulawesi, remembers those times too well.

Despite the vast digital divide between Java Island and his home, Gilbert remained steadfast in pursuing technology. To bridge this gap, he enrolled in Bangkit and emerged as one of its distinction graduates. Undeterred by his challenges, he eventually landed an IT Application Support job at Panin Dai-Ichi Life.

Are you intrigued by Gilbert’s story and how he against all odds to succeed in tech? Let’s delve into his story!

When Gilbert’s House Was Engulfed in Flames

Gilbert’s journey hailed from Bitung, a small town nestled in the heart of Sulawesi Utara, just an hour away from Manado. Born the youngest of three siblings, Gilbert’s upbringing was rooted in modesty and resilience. His father is a humble merchant, often dealing with fish and traditional cuisine from the region, while his mother is a housewife.

Life took an unexpected turn as tragedy struck their family home while he was still in junior high school. A fire spread swiftly from one house to another, burning Gilbert’s home and the family's livelihood along with it. Left with nothing but ashes, Gilbert’s family found themselves grappling with adversity.
“Despite immense challenges, faith and unity are the anchors that hold us steady. As my mother said, ‘With God, we can navigate life’s trials together as a family.’”
Amid the uncertainty, Gilbert found himself shouldering responsibilities beyond his early years. Throughout high school, he helped his mother sell food to his friends. Guided by his parents’ support and sage advice, Gilbert learned invaluable lessons about resilience and determination.

More importantly, his parents emphasized the importance of education and honesty. They urged him to strive for success through hard work and dedication. They also ensured gratitude remained a core value in their family, regardless of their circumstances.

Their words echoed in his ears as he embarked on his academic journey at Institut Teknologi Harapan Bangsa (ITHB), where he pursued higher education with unwavering resolve. Through hardship and adversity, he epitomized the power of faith and the indomitable human spirit.

Bounced Back as an Empathetic Problem Solver in IT

Gilbert’s fascination with Information Technology (IT) began to take root during his high school years. It was a time when he was aware of the stark disparity in technological advancement between Java and regions outside it. Driven by curiosity and a desire to bridge this gap, Gilbert set his sights on delving deeper into the tech world.

His journey led him to ITHB, where he embarked on a quest to expand his knowledge and understanding of IT. Amidst university life, Gilbert stumbled upon Bangkit. Drawn not only by its status as a partner institution with ITHB but also by the testimonials of success stories by his seniors, Gilbert found himself intrigued by the prospect of joining Bangkit.
“One of my seniors is Timotius Haniel, a Bangkit 2021 graduate who attended Stanford University as part of the University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program, and now, he works at Superbank.”
Gilbert encountered both highs and lows throughout his Bangkit experience. On the one hand, he relished connecting with like-minded individuals outside his campus, engaging in stimulating discussions and acquiring a wealth of knowledge.
“The technical and non-technical skills imparted by Bangkit’s Instructor Led-Training (ILT), including English communication and leadership, proved instrumental in shaping my development.”
Yet, amidst the exhilaration of learning, Gilbert confronted challenges that tested his resilience. The capstone project, in particular, demanded meticulous time management and collaboration as he navigated the complexities of teamwork and project execution.

Undeterred by the obstacles in his path, Gilbert dedicated himself wholeheartedly to his studies, spending 5 hours daily honing his skills through rigorous self-study and leveraging online resources such as YouTube. His mother’s encouragement fueled his perseverance and instilled in him the value of knowledge sharing.
“My technical prowess soared, but other values truly flourished. I honed soft skills, embraced lifelong learning, and became a compassionate mentor to others.”
Bangkit was more than just a learning platform for Gilbert; it was a transformative journey that propelled him toward unparalleled growth. Through Bangkit, Gilbert honed his technical ability and cultivated invaluable soft skills that would prove essential in shaping his success story in the tech industry.

Became an Application Support at Panin Group

With newfound knowledge and a steadfast passion to carve his path in tech, Gilbert set his sights on achieving new milestones. His journey culminated in pursuing the Associate Android Developer (AAD) certification, proving his dedication to the Mobile Development field.
“With my finely honed skills and AAD certification in hand, I am ready to embark on a quest to fulfill my dreams.”
The tech industry took notice of his potential, with some companies recognizing him as a quality tech talent. Within 1-2 months after graduating from ITHB, Gilbert found a job in Panin Dai-Ichi Life, an insurance company based in West Jakarta. Through LinkedIn, he stumbled upon a job opening shared by a friend who was already employed there.
“With a surge of excitement, I wasted no time submitting my application. Weeks passed until finally, an email notification lit up my screen: an interview invitation.”
Gilbert’s mind raced with excitement and apprehension as he entered the interview room. Yet, as the questions began to flow, he drew on the knowledge he had acquired from Bangkit, particularly the ILT sessions on career development.

With confidence and clarity, Gilbert navigated through the interview. His SQL and API debugging proficiency shone as he discussed his daily responsibilities and past experiences. Weeks turned into days, and before he knew it, Gilbert received the offer at Panin Dai-Ichi Life. Thrilled beyond measure, Gilbert embraced his new role as an IT Application Support.

In his daily tasks, Gilbert immersed himself in a world of maintenance and debugging, using his expertise to troubleshoot errors and ensure seamless user experiences for the company’s clients. In short, he became a problem solver at his office.
“My role as a problem solver resonated deeply within me, reflecting the core values from Bangkit and my family’s advice.”
As Gilbert reflected on his journey from Bangkit to his newfound career, he couldn’t help but feel gratitude. Thanks to both Bangkit and Dicoding’s classes, especially the “Memulai Pemrograman dengan Kotlin,” which is fundamental to mobile programming.


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