Alamgir Islam used to work in a private company in Dhaka. His job title was ‘delivery boy’. In the day, he would deliver products at different corners of the city. At night, he would try to learn IT work on computers. Gradually, he became skilled in graphic designing. He then started working as a freelancer and found success. Alamgir, who is from Manikganj, has now become an entrepreneur and is successfully running his own IT company Discover IT Institute.
Alamgir had a difficult start to life, he said during a chat on 31 December at his institute at Singair upazila in Manikganj. At an early age, he saw his parents getting divorced. He grew up at his maternal grandparents home in Singair.
His grandparents were financially unstable. Hence, he could only study till the fifth standard before he had to begin searching for a job at just 13 years of age.
Alamgir started working as a in an electrical equipment manufacturing factory. In between, he returned to Singair once with hopes of resuming his studies but due to financial troubles he couldn’t.
In 2007, he took a job at a company that sold machine parts to readymade garments factories. The company office was in Arambagh. His job was to deliver the products to different garments factories.
Alamgir used to live in a room at the office. In that room, there was a computer. That’s where Alamgir’s life took a turn.
Alamgir aspired to get an education and then stand on his own two feet. The whole day he used to work as a delivery man. And at night, he would sit at the computer.
Alamgir would go to the adjacent office and watch the graphic designers at work on their computers. He used to look intently at the keyboard and the monitor and store in his memory what they were doing and how they were doing it.
At night, he would practice that on the computer. That’s how Alamgir began learning graphic designing in computer.
Alamgir stuns everyone with his work
One day at the office, his boss was trying to make a barcode design on the computer. Alamgir went up to him and asked, “Boss, can I do it?”
At first, his boss denied the request. But Alamgir refused to take no for an answer. In the end, Alamgir successfully completed the task on computer.
“From that day on, I haven’t stopped working on computers,” Alamgir told Prothom Alo. “After that, both my salary and respect increased in the office.” This was back in 2008.
Return to studies
Alamgir really yearned to resume his education. But what could he do now?
He was earning quite well from his job. So, in 2010, he got enrolled in the Bangladesh Open University’s SSC programme. He got admitted in the Siddheswari Higher Secondary School under business studies.
He said, “I used to cry a lot and console myself by saying that not everyone is destined for education.”
Finally, in 2014 he passed SSC. Around that time, he saw a job circular from a Canada-based oil company. He applied for the position of control room operator. He even had the visa form in hand. But Alamgir wanted to stay back in Bangladesh and do something here. So, he decided not to go to Canada.
The dream gets bigger
Alamgir was a skilled graphic designer, but he wasn’t certified from any training institute. In 2015, his friend Atikur Rahman advised him to get some sort of training. So, Alamgir got enrolled in the graphic design course at the Creative IT Institute in Dhaka. Alongside his job, he would attend classes twice a week.
While completing the course, he learnt about freelancing. That’s when he first heard that one could earn quite a lot from freelancing. He learnt about online marketplaces like Freelancer.com, Upwork and Fiverr.
He learnt the details of freelance work from his trainer. He did his first freelance work in 2015. His design came first in a logo making competition in Freelancer.com. From that competition, he won $150.
Discover IT Institute
From his experience, Alamgir could see that there are many like him who want to make something of themselves but for various reasons are not getting the chance.
For them, Alamgir established an IT company Discover IT Institute in 2016. As he had worked at Dhaka’s Fakirpool for many years, he rented a room in the area and opened his institute on a small scale. He got a decent response.
A batch of students enrolled for a course in freelancing. Through training, Alamgir gradually prepared many skilled workers. He appointed a few in his company.
Back to Singair
In 2019, Alamgir returned to Singair, Manikganj. When he returned to his village, he had 10 employees at his company in Dhaka and was earning nearly Tk 400,000 a month.
He took four of the employees with him to Singair. The remaining six are working as freelancers in Dhaka.
He said, “I noticed that in the city there is much scope for learning. But there is none in the village. Many of the youths at villages want to become freelancers or want to have a decent job and become self-sufficient. That’s why I returned to the village and started working here.”
Alamgir rented a 2000 square foot office right beside the Singair municipality office. There, he again opened his Discovery IT Institute.
Currently, there are 100 trainees at Alamgir’s institute. In the last four years, 1100 students in 45 batches have completed training at his institute. Out of them, 200 received the training free of cost.
In 2013, Alamgir got married. Now, he is a father of three daughters. In 2019, he also constructed a new house at his maternal grandparent’s home. The same year, his grandfather was diagnosed with liver cancer. Alamgir bore the expenses of his grandfather’s treatment for two and a half years till he passed away.
Though he has returned to Singair, he is still working in Fiverr and Upwork. He is one of the top rated freelancers on both platforms.
He worked as a remote worker for a US company, where he earned nearly $2500 per month. After that job agreement ended, he has joined as a remote worker at another company in the US where he is earning $2000 every month. From his company in Singair, he is earning more that Tk 100,000 per month.
Alamgir told Prothom Alo, “My wish is to make the company even bigger. Now, there are four employees at the office in Singair. I dream that one day hundreds will work in my company. Had I stayed in Dhaka, maybe my dream would’ve come true by now. But my plans are centered around my village. I want to prop up the boys and girls from my village as skilled workers. If I can do that, I will consider myself successful.”
*This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ashfaq-Ul-Alam Niloy