DefineExperience is our new bimonthly campaign where we interview interesting and successful people about their experience. We ask them not only about their professional experience, but also about the more personal side of things.
It’s a pleasure to introduce to you our second interviewee – Sage Franch, the writer, stylist, editor and primary photographer at Trendy Techie.
1. Hey Sage, what’s your story?
I am a developer, technologist and educator at Microsoft, a senior undergraduate student studying Computer Science at Dalhousie University, and the creator of TrendyTechie.ca. Within the span of my time at Dalhousie I’ve completed 3 major tech internships and secured a full-time position on the Microsoft Learning Experiences team, where I now work as a Content Developer, creating highly technical online training for developers around the globe. In 2013 I started TrendyTechie.ca, a life and style blog about my experiences as a young woman in tech. My mission is to empower others through technical education and digital opportunity.
2. Sage, please define experience.
A person’s experience is the amalgamation of their accomplishments, their failures, and their interests. Experience is not just what you’ve done, but who you are and your unique perspective on the world.
3. What do you consider as your most significant accomplishment in your career so far? What about outside of your career?
I don’t like to think of my life as being divided into career and non-career, so I’ll instead share my two most significant accomplishments overall. I would say my first is working full-time while finishing my undergraduate degree. I am fortunate to have been hired full-time while still being a student, and have learned so much during this experience. My second significant accomplishment is delivering a keynote address at the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics’ 2016 Inspiring Future Women in Science conference. I started Trendy Techie in 2013 as a way to reach youth and women in STEM fields, and it was such an honour to be invited to speak to future female leaders at the prestigious institute.
- Do you think failure is part of experience? What was your biggest failure?
There’s a reason the startup world loves the phrase “fail fast, fail often.” Failure is not only a part of experience, it is the most important part. If you never fail at something you can never improve. But I don’t like to think of it as “failure,” because that word is discouraging and is associated so strongly with the grading system in school, which absolutely does not reflect the “real world.” Instead I choose to think of it as opportunity for reflection and improvement.*
5. What life-hack tips would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Say ‘yes’ to opportunities that are beyond your skill set and put in the work to prove that you can do it. It may seem counter-intuitive or daunting, but this is how you build knowledge and confidence and prove yourself in a competitive industry.
6. Would you do something differently if you had the chance?
Not a thing. I am very happy with my adventure so far and, despite hardships and difficult times, I would not go back in time and make any decisions differently.
*7. This is not from the questions list, but can you tell us how you feel about women in tech and what we can all do to encourage girls even more to be in technology and entrepreneurship?
It’s all about providing opportunities for youth to explore tech and business. The biggest problem is that youth today aren’t introduced to technical and entrepreneurship skills until later in high school (if at all), by which time they’ve already made a lot of key decisions in their educational paths leading to other careers. It’s not about forcing kids to code, but making the opportunities available to everyone just like we do with gym, art and literature classes and extracurriculars. Even before coding becomes mandatory in schools, parents can start by introducing their kids to the many online coding resources like TouchDevelop, Scratch, and Kodu Game Labs. These activities teach computational thinking to kids of all ages (even toddlers!) and can make a huge difference in setting youth up for more technically-oriented careers.
We want to thank Sage for sharing with us her story. It’s always very inspiring to learn about someone’s lessons and achievements. And we need more women like her in tech!
If you enjoyed reading our second #DefineExperience interview, then stay tuned, because we’re just getting started. Moreover, if you’d like to be part of our #DefineExperience project by doing an interview yourself or recommending someone to get interviewed, then write to us.