Meet Noelle Smith, CFIA programmer
My name is Noelle Smith. Computers and programming have always come easily to me. In grade 7, I helped set up the school's computer lab. From that point, I was the go-to "tech person" for teachers and students alike.
By the time I started high school, my interests expanded beyond setting up computers. I wanted to create programs that these machines could execute. Joining my school's tech club allowed me to learn more and explore my passion.
In college, there were so many options to challenge myself and delve deeper into programming. The internet was becoming increasingly popular and relevant, so I decided to pursue a diploma in e-commerce and web development.
Despite having joined the CFIA only two years ago, I've had amazing opportunities to drive change within the organization and encourage others to be their authentic selves at work.
Form development as a window to the CFIA
You may be wondering who creates the more than 400 internal and external-facing forms the CFIA uses. Well, that would be me and the rest of the forms team.
One of the best things about my job is interacting and collaborating with experts across the CFIA. We support veterinarians, inspectors, human resources professionals—and just about anyone looking to update or develop an online form.
My advice to other programmers, or those aspiring to become one, is to never stop learning along your journey. Even after graduation, it's important to keep up with the latest trends to help you succeed in a highly competitive environment. Having worked in multiple industries, it has been a passion and self-requirement of mine to monitor trends, read blogs, and most importantly practice my skills so that I am prepared to jump in on new projects. On-the-job learning is also key, and I'm constantly challenged to grow my skills and knowledge.
Inclusivity and diversity through the LGBTQ2+ network
At the CFIA, I'm also the co-chair of the LGBTQ2+ network and head of the positive space committee. Working with these wonderful groups of people has truly enriched my work life.
The LGBTQ2+ network is a group of amazing people who either recognize themselves as part of the community or its allies. We organize events and mark meaningful occasions recognized within the community. We also collaborate with other networks within the Agency to provide micro-aggression training, among other topics. As a network, we also put together activities and events for the Public Service Pride Week.
The positive space committee is a new initiative led by the LGBTQ2+ network. It's a safe space that welcomes discussion and questions for anyone within the CFIA. Our positive space ambassadors, who are part of the committee, are spokespeople who help create spaces to increase awareness and openly promote, discuss and answer questions about positive space components and resources. They also offer immediate and close engagement to staff of all levels and plan local events by leveraging unique contacts and networks.
Joining an equitable team
The diversity within my own team, and the CFIA as a whole, is amazing. Each day, I connect with so many people with different skill sets and from different backgrounds. There's certainly no lack of experts to learn from.
As a visible member of the LGBTQ2+ community at the CFIA, I've experienced firsthand how individualism is welcomed. Not once have I been questioned about my identity. I've always felt welcome and received many virtual hugs in these post-pandemic times.
I've been in the tech industry for about 20 years, and the CFIA has already left a big impression on me. Everyone here has an important job, and it's a great feeling knowing we can feel accepted and welcome while doing it.
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