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Inspiring a New Generation of Technology Professionals

January 29, 2020

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In January of this year, Animikii’s Lead Software Developer, Chuck Frank, and Senior Software Developer, Dakota Lightning, shared their passion for technology with the youth of Esquimalt High School.

At this event, the inspiration was mutual. Chuck and Dakota were able to offer their diverse journeys towards similar career paths while experiencing the courage and curiosity of youth as they explored their own futures and opportunities within the tech industry.

Below, Chuck shares more about this opportunity to give back.

Why did you decide to give back in this way?

I really enjoy working with Indigenous youth. I remember being curious about careers in high school. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to make an impact on adolescents that may choose a career path in technology innovation and perhaps software development.

How did you contribute?

I presented information about my history as a software developer, business owner, and innovator. I also answered many questions about my career and the lifestyle of a software developer. I presented some next steps and options for people that would like to tinker in software development. I shared a lunch meal with the youth and answered/asked questions during that time - it was less formal and very engaging.

What part of the event did you find the most impactful?

The informal follow ups—questions during lunch and afterwards—were very impactful. I think it can be intimidating to ask questions during a presentation, but plenty of youth were curious—and many questions came up during lunch and even as we were getting ready to leave. It made me aware that it is very important to provide a formal environment and to be available in a more informal setting so that people can ask questions more comfortably.

Why do you think it’s important for Animikii to reach out in this kind of capacity?

Animikii is a great working example of Indigenous Innovation as a company. Animikii makes an impact in many communities, and it is important to show good examples of a working and successful Digital Agency—including software development (my department). The next generation of innovators will have a lower barrier to entry if they can see working examples of Animikii software developers, project managers, communication managers, and business officers. In this case we had two perspectives of software developers from very different backgrounds, between Dakota and I. Yet, we came to the same point and are enjoying a fulfilling career helping Indigenous communities and peoples.

Which of the 7 Grandfather teachings was most expressed at the event?

I think Truth was most represented at this event followed closely by Courage. My hope for the event is that the Indigenous youth could see that software development is a great way to have an impact on Indigenous communities in a very direct way. I think the youth could see Dakota and I as real-world, tangible examples of this possibility, and that—to me—reflects the true possibilities for future innovators. I also think that it takes a tremendous amount of courage to open up to the possibility of a career as a technology professional.

Courage is needed to consider this type of path—so, the warm curiosity was much appreciated. Asking questions takes courage, and the youth did a great job asking wonderful questions about the lifestyle of a software developer and about the next steps for a career as a technology professional.

January 29, 2020

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