Learning the Ropes at the BCTIA

Learning the Ropes at the BCTIA

By: Layla Clarkson
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SFU Communication Co-op student, Layla Clarkson, has spent the Summer as a Junior Marketing Coordinator with the BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA). Below, Layla reflects on her time with the BCTIA and what she has learned about herself and the world of work.

This article originally published on the BCTIA blog.

There are some things I have known for a long time, such as what toppings I like on my pizza and which Backstreet Boy will always be my favourite. With that being said, I am still continuously learning new things through the different experiences I take on. 

When I began my first co-op through Simon Fraser University in early May at the BCTIA, I had a lot to learn about BC and tech. Perhaps my technical skills needed a reboot as well… Was that really me who crashed part of the BCTIA website in my first week?

I can now proudly say, however, four months later as my co-op comes to an end, that I feel much more confident about what I know of the tech industry in BC and how to have a conversation about it.

In fact, I am now ready to tackle the big question: Why is it that BC and the tech industry go together so well? After all, the BC Technology Industry Association is certainly not built upon a false assumption.

To help guide me I went straight to the man who knows it all, Bill Tam, the President and CEO of the BCTIA. I warmed up with some very important tech questions, such as would he rather have a robotic arm or a robotic leg? Bill’s answer – a robotic arm, naturally. I raised to him another important one: What wins, his cell phone or his computer? After some contemplation Bill chose his cell phone. I’ve always admired the weight he puts into decisions.

Now that I’ve started wearing blazers and have my own desk with a personalized name plate, we were also able to have a more mature conversation on the subject. In one word, Bill described the BC Tech industry as “hot”. Compared to other parts of Canada and North America as a whole, Bill mentioned that BC has a lot of startups and proportionately it has more entrepreneurs than anywhere else in the country, which makes room for innovation and great possibilities. And so we agreed that BC and tech go together like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

But it is important to acknowledge that there is still a future to work towards and that there are still challenges to work out. Don’t we all have growing up to do? For example, many of these startups mentioned are still working towards flourishing into full scaled businesses, and haven’t reached adulthood yet so to speak. How can we tackle this and make the industry even hotter? Bill says, “It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a community to grow a tech company." This is what the BCTIA or initiatives like the #BCTechChallenge are all about, helping companies reach their full potential by creating community.

Why is it that BC and the tech industry go together so well? This is what I’ve learned: beyond the resources, location and people, it is the will to keep growing that makes the province and industry unique.

So thank you BC tech companies and the BCTIA for teaching me all that I have learned. And as the industry keeps on moving forward, it’s my turn too.

Posted on August 22, 2014