Business Intelligence Developer
Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA)
Sector: Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security
Education: Workplace Training / University
Type: Career Profile
Computer Science, Math, Technology & Engineering
Problems at work are exactly like puzzles. Sometimes they are easy, sometimes they are super hard. The harder the problem is, the more excited I get when I figure out a solution. I honestly find that satisfying! I love how technology is constantly changing. My job will never be boring because everything just keeps getting updated or improved as the world makes advances in computing technology. I think I would get bored easily if I always did the same thing at work. Every project I work on is unique and I get to work with people from all across my organization. In this way, I get to meet all kinds of interesting people. I like having the flexibility to be able to work from home sometimes. The fact that I have a steady regular 9-5 workday lets me enjoy free time on evenings and on weekends.
I really had no idea I would end up working in computing. In high school, I made the mistake of skipping most of my homework and ended up having a hard time with math. I had no idea what I wanted to do and ended up taking all kinds of unrelated college programs. I worked in other fields before I finally realized that I wanted to be a software developer.
It was several years after high school and several post-secondary programs later (including chef training and legal office administration) that I learned about Athabasca University. Their open enrollment policies allowed me to start learning computer science without having strict requirements about which classes I took in high school.
I worked to get my degree part-time online while I worked full-time in order to be able to afford it. It was a lot of work but I'm glad I got through it. I wish I'd known earlier that it was totally okay that I didn't know what I wanted to do after high school. I now know that it is okay to take your time and explore different things and change your mind a few times! Just because you struggle with something during high school doesn't mean that you can't work at it and get better later. I was on the honour roll every year of my degree and aced all of my advanced level math courses. Back in high school, I never would have thought that would ever be possible.
Try it out first and see if you like it! There are so many free coding courses and activities online and some of them are really fun.
I was adopted into a non-Indigenous family but by blood I am part Mi'kmaq.
I love to sing and recently got the guts to actually perform on a stage with my boyfriend. We are working on doing more music stuff, which is amazing because I've always loved music (I was very involved in vocal and instrumental music in high school). Other than that, I like to get outside and enjoy nature, play games with friends, and go swimming. I volunteer as much as possible with Skills/Compétences Canada and Skills Ontario to promote careers in skilled trades and technologies. I was really proud to deliver a speech during the opening ceremonies of the 2014 SCC National Competition. I try to help out within my own community when opportunities present themselves.
At any given time, I have several projects on the go. As a result, a typical day is a bit of a juggling act for me. Most of the work I do involves using databases and computer software. I create computer systems that extract information from one place for use in another way. For example, I collect data to create reports that support business decision-making.
When I start work on a new project, I go through a cycle that starts with discovering what my clients need. From here, I design and build a software solution for them. I then work with them to test my solution, making any changes requested. The final step is releasing my solution so that it gets used. Sometimes I work to make updates or improvements to existing software. Always, I am fixing problems as they come up.
The word "solution" is a bit vague and is really a bit of a catchall phrase. Sometimes the work I do is to build the tools that will grab and store data. This data is used for reporting and analytics. Sometimes I'm actually creating the reports. When I do this, I spend my time fussing over which fonts and colours I want to use or how I want to lay it all out.
My computer science and math background is essential for what I do. This background gives me insight into how to best approach each problem I have to solve. In computing there rarely is just one solution to a problem. Having a solid understanding of how things work can allow to you build things better. Making things “better” means that programs run faster, data takes up less space on computers, and reports are authored in a way that is most helpful for the clients that use them.
I do a lot of my development work alone but I work as part of a fantastic team of talented professionals. We all have different specialties and often go to each other to work out problems or ask for advice. It's a very collaborative environment. I love that because there is always something new you can learn in technology. A lot of people think that my work means I'm just stuck behind a computer and hide from people all day. That couldn't be farther from the truth! Not only am I collaborating with my teammates but I am constantly in contact with my clients. I do my best to understand how they go about their business and what their needs are. This allows me to deliver what they are asking. It also allows me to make suggestions for improvement or offer to do new things that maybe they didn't realize were even possible. I spend a lot of time meeting with people in person or talking on the phone.
When I was
- Computer Science
- Enjoyed doing things on my own
- Liked helping people
- Organized activities for my friends
- Was motivated by success
- Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
- Engaged in volunteer activities
- Liked reading
- Played video games
- Was really creative
- Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades