Aboriginal People in ICT: Reyna Ferris

Reyna Ferris

Reyna Ferris

Reyna Ferris, from Big Grassy River, finished the Big Data/Data Mining program put on by JEDI and the College Communautaire du Nouveau Brunswick (CCNB) with a new job and a new baby. Completing a 62-week Big Data/Data Mining program is hard enough on it’s own but Reyna persevered even after she found out she was pregnant.

“I didn’t miss a lot of time,” Reyna said. “I had my son around Christmas time so I just took a couple of weeks off plus we had a couple of weeks off for Christmas break. My teachers were really great and let me catch up with assignments and do them later and my family was really supportive. My classmates too, they really helped me. I did consider not finishing at one point but I felt like it would be in my best interest in the long-run to graduate and be able to work.”

It did work out for the best for Reyna. Upon graduation, she was hired at NB Power to work as an analyst within their customer care infrastructure. 

“JEDI found me a work term at NB Power and then NB Power hired me on after the work term which was amazing,” said Reyna. “I feel pretty welcome here, everyone is really nice and my manager is really helpful. I’ve started working on their automated voice system. When you call in there is an automated voice system and they have me analyzing that data to make sure that it’s going good and to see what areas they need to improve upon in there.”

Reyna shared that there is plenty of opportunity for advancement at NB Power and that every employee is eligible to access an education fund for additional training throughout the year.

“I’ve applied to the business program at UNB, I believe my data background will mesh well with a business degree,” said Reyna. “There’s a lot of room to move around at NB Power. I’m not planning on any other kids in the near future, I want to get my career settled first.”

Reyna was very frank when we asked her about having a new career and being a new Mom at the same time. “It’s overwhelming, it’s a lot of change at once and I find I struggle a bit with trying to find that balance between being a good mom and trying to also focus on my career. I think I’m doing ok. I want to be a good mom so I try to keep work at work. My partner is a great dad. He’s still going to university but he’s super supportive, we both get our son ready for daycare in the morning. He’s just super helpful.”

Reyna says that taking the Big Data/Data Mining program at JEDI and CCNB changed her life. “Taking this course set me on a career path, I was just kind of floating around university and then I took this course and it gave me a direction. It was also a super great learning environment. They really give you the tools to succeed and they want you to succeed. Everybody that I’ve encountered at JEDI, they want the students to graduate.”

Reyna offers some great advice for those considering a career in Information Technology. “There are a lot of opportunities in ICT and there’s a lot to learn. It’s ok if you don’t know everything at first, you can always look it up or ask somebody.”