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From co-op student to I&T manager

Published on: April 22, 2024

Meet Quyen

For Quyen, a manager in WorkSafeBC’s Innovation & Technology (I&T) division, a career in the technology industry came as a pleasant surprise. Her initial aspiration was to pursue work in the medical field, but after her first year at Simon Fraser University, she began to question whether it was the right fit. She eventually decided to change her major to Management and Systems Science — a program that combines elements of business, mathematics, and computer science.

As part of this new major, Quyen joined the co-op program, and it was during her first co-op term that her focus shifted toward the IT industry. Her work involved solving business challenges through process engineering and automation and she began developing a deep appreciation for the field.

“The work I was doing revealed parallels with the problem-solving aspect of being a medical professional — the nature of the problems I was solving had just changed from ‘debugging’ a human being to debugging a program,” she said. “I discovered I had a passion for the meaningful challenges presented by technology.”

Valued team member from day one

Quyen joined WorkSafeBC in 1992 during her fifth co-op term. Despite having job offers from other companies such as Hong Kong Bank and Safeway, she chose WorkSafeBC because of its reputation and its dedication to advancing health and safety in B.C. workplaces.

“Upon joining the WorkSafeBC team, I quickly felt a sense of comfort and acceptance,” she says. “The supportive environment made me feel like I belonged from the very beginning.”

Since her time as a co-op student, Quyen has held various roles within the software development lifecycle, including developer, business analyst, QA lead, implementation coordinator, and project and program manager. In 2017, with WorkSafeBC’s adoption of Agile, she took on a scrum master role and, in 2019, she transitioned into management.

As a manager, Quyen oversaw three teams that supported 210 production applications at WorkSafeBC and ensuring the availability of these mission-critical systems was no small feat. After a departmental realignment in 2023, her responsibilities have shifted to managing the Environment Operations team in the Platform department and leading the cloud migration solution train.

A robust technology stack that evolves over time

When Quyen first joined WorkSafeBC, her responsibilities included supporting COBOL batch programs and developing new systems using Clipper under MS DOS. She then transitioned to MS Visual Basic and engaged in object-oriented programming, including PowerBuilder.

WorkSafeBC’s current technology stack features SQL Server, DB2, and Oracle databases, along with a broad range of development and testing tools such as .NET, JAVA, Python, Angular, LoadRunner, Robot, and more. The integration of various cloud technologies has also been a significant enhancement since I&T migrated its workload to Microsoft Azure.

From a project management standpoint, she uses the suite of MS products extensively and leverages Azure DevOps to manage the product backlog and workflow.

“As an organization, we prioritize the exploration and adoption of new technologies. Given the rapid pace of change in the IT industry, we are actively seeking strategies to keep pace,” says Quyen. “Continual evaluation of industry best practices, seamless integration of new technologies, and ongoing organizational education are key elements of our approach to ensure we can adapt to industry changes with agility.”

More than just a job

Quyen’s career at WorkSafeBC has had a profound impact on both her professional and personal life. While she started out in an entry-level position, she’s been able to grow her career and explore various roles in I&T. She attributes these opportunities to leadership’s unwavering commitment to investing in its employees.

And this investment goes beyond the actual job, she says. WorkSafeBC’s diverse health and wellness offerings have enabled Quyen to pursue her personal interests — such as her passion for badminton — alongside her professional interests. “WorkSafeBC places a high value on fostering a diverse work culture,” she says. “Working here not only supports my professional growth, it allows me to foster my love for badminton and, crucially, care for my family of six.”

Paying it forward

In addition to the personal and professional benefits, Quyen also appreciates how fulfilling the work has been in each of her roles here.

As a programmer analyst, she enjoyed being able to solve clients’ problems and ensure their satisfaction with the provided solutions. As she transitioned into leadership roles, collaborating with clients to understand their requirements, proposing solutions, and coordinating with developers became a source of personal satisfaction. As a manager, it’s been rewarding to pay forward the support she’s received to her team members so she enthusiastically does what she can to foster their growth and career progression.

Even though she’s now been with WorkSafeBC for 32 years, Quyen says she’s still constantly learning — and grateful for it.

“There’s never a dull moment here,” she says. “The organization’s commitment to continuous learning keeps me consistently engaged and challenged and stands out as one of the most valuable aspects of working here.”

To learn more about opportunities in our I&T division, visit our careers page.

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