Aboriginal People in ICT - Megan Ginnish

Written by Joint Economic Development Initiative (read original)

Megan Ginnish, Software Tester, with Keith McIntosh, CEO of PQA Testing

Megan Ginnish, Software Tester, with Keith McIntosh, CEO of PQA Testing

FREDERICTON, NB - Megan Ginnish, of Esgenoopetitj First Nation, is a committed, outgoing, and hardworking individual. She is always willing to take on the unexpected challenges that work and life bring her.

Megan works as a Software Tester at PLATO (ProfessionaL Aboriginal Testing Organization). She works with clients to solve IT (information technology) issues and to look for the source of software defects. Software testing is a process of executing a program or application with the intent of finding the software bugs. It can also be described as a process that verifies a software program, application, or product.

Megan learned how to be a software tester during 14-weeks of classroom training that was offered through a partnership between JEDI and PQA (Professional Quality Assurance). After the in-class portion, Megan completed an 8-week internship at PQA.

Once the internship was completed, Megan joined PLATO. A sister company to PQA, PLATO is a new Aboriginal business that provides software testing solutions to clients across North America. PLATO employees work on specified projects that otherwise would have been sent to offshore locations.  PLATO offers an opportunity for Aboriginal people who are interested in the field of ICT to get involved. As a new organization, PLATO is currently trying to build their leadership team internally and if Megan and other Software Testing graduates continue to work hard, they could potentially take on leadership roles.

Megan applauded the training offered by JEDI and PQA stating that, “everything you do in class will prepare you for the job that you will have to complete when you work for PQA. The class teaches you how to properly write defects and look for specific issues.”

Prior to her software testing training, Megan was an Office Manager at the First Atlantic Aboriginal Seniors Complex, however she saw a bright future with PLATO and PQA. “I honestly wouldn’t have given up the comfort of a full time job for something that I didn’t think would go anywhere,” said Megan. “This company [PLATO] started from scratch, there are going to be team leads, project managers, CTOs, CEOs, the opportunities here are endless.”

Like many of her colleagues, Megan has faced challenges with balancing childcare and work in a new city. “Difficulties can arise when you’re a parent of young children and you don’t have the support system like you did back home,” said Megan. “I had to relocate my children to a school in Fredericton that allows for transportation from school to the afterschool program, which isn’t cheap.”

She recalls receiving a phone call one morning stating that her childcare provider would be closing that day, and possibly for the remainder of the school year. “When you are an Aboriginal working off reserve, you don’t get the luxury of going home to take care of your child or children when you receive that unexpected phone call. As a working parent, as many are, you have to make other arrangements unless you have a support system in place.”

However, Megan has been able to persevere and fight through the challenges of raising children in Fredericton. When asked how she approached challenges related to her job and life in general, Megan’s response was, “bring it on!”. She attributes her positive attitude and determination to observing her mother. “Growing up, I saw my mother deal with the struggles of having to work and provide,” Megan explained. “I’m an only child and she was a single mother. She is a very hard worker, and she is a role model to me.”

Megan is dedicated to working through the challenges and shared some advice. “Don’t be afraid to take chances in life. PLATO is here, and I honestly believe it is here to stay. There will be days you will question what you want to be when you grow up, and I for one asked myself the same question until recently. PLATO may be in its prime, however, there will be endless opportunities to grow if you believe in what it is you do, I can proudly say I’m where I need to be. I’ve grown with the IT industry, and truly believe we can all grow together to be part of the rising company for all Aboriginals across Canada”.