Jan 24, 2022
Welcome to Invest Ottawa’s Taking Root segment.
Each month, this reoccurring article will highlight a driven tech or business professional who took advantage of Invest Ottawa’s talent program and successfully landed a role at a star technology company in Canada’s capital city! Through Taking Root, you’ll learn the ins and outs of their new position and hear firsthand what it’s like to relocate to Ottawa.
Jason Chen is passionate about making websites more accessible for users who are visually, physically or audibly impaired. With a computer science degree from the University of Waterloo, Jason worked for many years as a software developer. However, in late 2020, Jason decided it was time for his next challenge and started looking for new opportunities.
After a quick LinkedIn update to let his network know he was looking for new opportunities, Jason was soon contacted by an Invest Ottawa talent sourcer who connected him to a position pairing his passion with his education and professional background. Successfully landing a position as an Accessibility Auditor, Jason is now working for T-base, a technology company focused on improving and simplifying the fast, secure delivery of accessible communications.
Read on to hear from Jason what it’s like to find and land your dream job during the pandemic through zoom interviews and a digital hiring process.
I started looking casually while I was still working at my previous job in 2020. It was clear to me at that time, that not many places were hiring. I kept applying in 2021 and found many more positions began to open up, so much, that it felt like it was easier to get an interview for a possible job than it had been in the past five years. Due to the pandemic, more and more jobs are opening around the world for international applicants to apply. You no longer need to be located where your company is at the time of hire, which means you have many more options when it comes to job applications. I found this really helped me with my search as I was able to apply and find more positions that I am truly passionate about. It really does feel like a candidate’s market. I recommend applicants make it known to their LinkedIn network that they’re job searching. More opportunities will arise once you let your network know you’re looking.
The position which I was hired for is called Accessibility Auditor. Its focus is quality assurance testing to make sure that websites are accessible to people who have disabilities. T-Base is an amazing organization that works with its clients to simplify access to accessible communications on all different types of platforms like PDFs, audio, HTML, websites and more. In my position, I’m responsible for making sure accessibility guidelines are met, and if they aren’t, I will identify any issues that can be addressed and updated.
My position allows me to be quite creative and I truly feel like I’m making a difference at the end of the day. It’s really interesting, because you have to think about people from all walks of life and their ability to access the website or products you are providing. Some individuals can’t use a mouse for example, so the website must be usable with just a keyboard. It’s a lot of problem solving and thinking outside the box.
I am proud to work at an organization like T-Base. I feel the work we do is extremely important as we represent an underserved and often overlooked community. It is so essential that web developers and organizations make their products accessible to all individuals.
The team at T-Base has also been so welcoming since I have started which has also made the transition much easier. Since my job is fully remote, you don’t have the opportunity to grab a coffee or go out for lunch with a co-worker. Luckily, we have endless opportunities for virtual meetings and although you have to put a little more effort in to get to know your colleagues, you can still create the same bonds and relationships with them. I am thankful T-Base prioritizes this for its employees.
The first piece of advice I would give is to make sure you have a solid office space wherever you live. I know it can be tempting to set up a workspace on the couch or kitchen table, but investing in an at-home office will amplify your productivity and make the experience more enjoyable.
The second piece of advice I would give is to make sure you prioritize breaks and physical activity. Because you work from home, it’s easy to sit at your desk all day and not move. You’re actually more productive if you get up and go for a walk or do a quick stretch, so be sure to make time for some movement in your day.
Right now, my position with T-base is fully remote, however, I’ve heard that Ottawa is a great place to live for individuals in the technology industry. I have noticed in the last five years that more and more tech companies are moving and opening offices in Ottawa, so I think it would be a great place to be located as I get further along in my career. The cost of living is also much cheaper than Toronto, where I live now, so I’m open to moving should the opportunity arise!
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