My next adventure! New job helping kids learn to code

I think I'm quite ready for another adventure Bilbo Baggins quoteIn a time of pandemic, protests, and riots, it is somewhat surreal to be sharing news that I start a new job today. But, in many ways it makes me more excited about my new role, because underrepresented and underserved communities are some of those suffering the most in these difficult times, so I look forward to a chance to try and give them some new hope and new opportunities.

So what exactly is this new job? Well as of June 1, 2020, my job title is Head of Amazon Future Engineer-Canada. I’ll be leadiing the Amazon Future Engineer program in Canada.

Amazon Future Engineer is a childhood-to-career program aimed to increase access to computer science education for children and young adults from underserved and underrepresented communities.

Those of you who know me read that sentence and said “Well that has Susan written all over it!” Yes it does! I have spent over 20 years of my career in various aspects of technical education:

  • Working as a technical trainer
  • Writing courses, labs
  • Delivering presentations at conferences
  • Working as a technical evangelist/advocate
  • Running workshops, hackathons, and coding competitions
  • Creating live and on-demand video content
  • Promoting and designing certifications

Many of you also know the last 10 years of my career has focused primarily on students. I started out teaching professional developers who were already working and just needed to learn a new technology for their jobs. I was originally assigned to work with students because no-one else on the team wanted to do it. (do you remember that conversation Ryan ?). Shortyl afterwards, my career choices were driven by the opportunity to work with students.

Working with students was the happiest accident to befall my career. I was able to teach students how code and technology opens new doors, new doors that would give them new opportunities, and they ran with it! They say give someone a fish and you feed them for a day, teach someone to fish and you feed them for a lifetime. Teach someone how to be comfortable with coding and technology and you potentially give them a career!

Am I rambling, probably, it’s just my way of saying, yes I am excited about my new job, a chance to work with organizations to give those who might otherwise never have the chance, the opportunity to discover coding and technology, the chance to discover new career options.

So off I go now, I have my first meeting with the boss in a few hours, in a time when it the news is downright depressing, and I often feel so powerless, I am going to print out the quote below and put it above my desk, and each morning I’ll be reminded why I chose this job

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” + – Nelson Mandela

Wish me luck!

(PS. at this point my geeky brain immediately pictures Heath Ledger as the Joker saying – “and here we go…” but only because I loved that movie, and Heath Ledger’s Joker)


14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Robin Andrew on June 1, 2020 at 10:19 AM

    This is awesome Susan! Congratulations, you are going to make such an impact!


  2. Thank you! That’s what I am hoping!


  3. Wow, Sue, bravo! You are perfect for this exciting and important challenge!!


  4. Posted by Aamir Ali on June 1, 2020 at 1:08 PM

    Dear HockeyGeekGirl

    Best of luck to start new job

    Regards: Aamir Ali +923003281853


  5. Thank you


  6. With you all the way


  7. Canada is lucky to have you in this role 🙂


  8. Canada is fortunate to have you in this new role 🙂


  9. Posted by Dhiraj Jaiswal on June 13, 2020 at 10:02 PM

    That’s very exciting.. good luck with the new role. And please consider children from India also.


    • The program started as US only, I am helping launch it in Canada, and its running in the UK now as well, so the good new sis the program has expanded to other countries. Fingers crossed


  10. Best of luck ma. I learnt to program from you and Christopher Harrison from the defunct MVA.

    As a matter of fact I am now a full stack web developer .

    I also run especially when I remember you also do.

    I am a great fan of yours


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