In January I had the privilege of  hosting a one hour talk at the Southpointe Academy, to share my excitement with the information technology world and my career as Visual Studio ALM Ranger.  Below, in italic, is an article written by Steve which summarises the event quite nicely :)

On January the 19th, young Jacques Schaub sat in a classroom at Southpointe Academy surrounded by 47 of his Grade Nine classmates. As he sat in his chair, slouched somewhat lower than usual, anyone looking at him could see he was a little nervous. Gone was his usual air of unflappable self-confidence. What was the source of his apprehension? Was it a big test? Did he not finish his homework? No, it was much worse – Jacques’ dad was coming in to speak to his class! Ever since Jacques’ IT teacher, Mr. Hilton, found out that Jacques’ dad was in the IT business Mr. Hilton couldn’t wait to get him in to share his knowledge with the Grade Nines. Willy, being an all round nice guy and very passionate about his work, was only too happy to come in and visit with the class.

The fateful day arrived and Jacques did his best to mitigate any disaster. He coached his dad carefully in the morning: “Okay, Dad, remember, don’t tell that story…Or that one! And by the way, did you know your hair would look a lot better with some gel?” Jacques need not have worried. Willy came well prepared with an entertaining PowerPoint presentation chronicling his work, in what he enthusiastically called, “The Coolest Career in the World” and with perfectly coiffed hair.

Willy began with a bit of general information about himself, and then told the students some more specifics about a career that was longer than the lifespan of his audience. He talked about how he got into IT and the somewhat unconventional path that led him to his work with Microsoft today. Willy then outlined his current responsibilities and the myriad of other possibilities that would be open to someone with his skill set. He made a compelling case for a career in IT as one with tremendous flexibility and endless opportunities, especially in a time of increasing need and diminishing graduates in the IT field. Willy wrapped things up by showing the students a video about the many world-class IT related companies that currently operate in the Vancouver area.

Following the presentation, there was time for questions ranging from: “Have you met Bill Gates?” to the more serious “What courses would you need to get into game development?” If Willy wasn’t sure, he promised to find out and get back to us, which he did. In the end, the students left with a much deeper appreciation of the many benefits of a career in IT and I am sure even Jacques thought it was a pretty cool presentation … for a dad.

Many thanks to Willy from the Southpointe Grade Nines for generously sharing his time and enthusiasm for all things IT.

- Steve Hilton, IT Teacher, Southpointe Academy, Tsawwassen, BC