Friday, October 31, 2008

From the WISE Guy: I work for the Feds

This is a guest post written by a male who supports the cause of getting more women interested in working in science and engineering: Jeff Gordon. He wants to let us all know why working for the government in these fields is such a great opportunity!

I remember the day in second year when my classmates and I learned of our first co-op assignments. Many were off to companies with cool names like Ramius and Magma. Others had positions with well known companies like Adobe and Nortel. However, I ended up at some place called Public Works and Government Services Canada. Yuck! Clearly I had failed the company name awesomeness test. Was I about to become a drone in some stuffy cubicle sitting next to a Dwight Schrute clone?

Well, I later found out that this Public Works organization was one of many equally-boring named organizations that make up Canada's federal government, also known as the public service. Seriously if you ever have trouble sleeping at night, just keep repeating "Receiver General of Canada" over and over again. Nyquil's got nothing on that phrase. Thankfully, the work itself was far from boring. In fact the government does real work! I was so thankful because as a computer science student, I was not used to doing imaginary work. Virtual work yes, but not imaginary. Or is virtual a kind of imaginary? I digress.

During my co-op term, I got to research and create open source software for the government, a hot trend in computer science. My research became some of the basis for the current policies and initiatives regarding open source in the Canadian government today. I thought that was pretty neat for a "student". Maybe this whole government thing wasn't so bad after all.

In fact today, I still work for the government. I can't tell you which department though because it's a secret! But I know what you're thinking. I'm a spy. Working alongside the likes of James Bond and Sydney Bristow. Kicking ass and taking names! I'll bet you forgot from TV and movies that the government fictionally hires spies! But I'm not a spy. I'm just a web developer from a security conscious department. But the web is my passion. And the public service has allowed me to explore that passion in ways I could never have imagined before.

As a young person, I've noticed that there aren't enough young people starting a career in the public service. You know that there also aren't enough women in science and engineering overall. That means that the public service wants and needs young women like you in science and engineering type jobs. That's right, Uncle Canadian Sam needs YOU! It can be an amazingly rewarding experience with awesome pay, real job security, and the mobility to move around to different jobs and departments. Plus, the government will never go out of business!

So why not have a look at a career in the public service by visiting Get involved in Canada's future. The public service hire thousands of students annually through the university's co-op program and the Federal Student Work Exchange Program (FSWEP). So go have a look! And for fun, tell them Stephen sent you. They'll know what that means.


Melany Gallant said...

Hi Gail - we at Ramius are glad you think highly of our company name. Fun fact - our CEO came up with the name from Sean Connery's character in the Hunt for Red October. Connery played "Captain Marko Ramius"of the Russian submarine Red October.

Like you I hope more women do become interested in science and engineering. There are tons of exciting career choices out there in both the public and private sectors.

Gail Carmichael said...

Melany - I actually never saw this comment until today! I'm glad you are enjoying our blog. I should point out that this post was actually made by guy who works in the government, and I posted it on his behalf. It's always great to show the support men have for our cause.