A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable, and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.
Our community is strong and growing with record speed, and maintaining connections through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic. We’ve got a plan.
This is “The Faces of #OKGNtech,” a showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth and more excitement. Follow along on the blog and on Instagram at @OKGNtech to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.
Meet Micah Joyner, a user experience designer and frontend developer at Acro Media. When he’s not optimizing user experiences, you can find him pursuing one of his many hobbies, including camping, making music, mountain biking, woodworking, gardening and beekeeping.
Why did you choose the Okanagan to call home?
I was born and raised in Kelowna, but I spent about a quarter of my life in Vancouver and Victoria chasing opportunities. While Vancouver and Victoria were valuable places to gain experience working in tech, they never truly felt like home. Eventually, an opportunity led me back here, where I enjoy a relatively less chaotic life in West Kelowna. Most of my friends and family are also located here, and I had established roots in the tech space, so it was a fairly natural transition back into the community while still being able to further my career.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I work for Acro Media as a user experience designer and frontend developer hybrid. In my role, I design and architect web based solutions for our clients with a focus on e-commerce. I had previously worked for Acro Media twelve years ago, and they have been instrumental in paving the way for my career as both a designer and developer.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
About two years ago, I followed my heart and went back to school for graphic and user experience design. I wanted to have more control over how people experience and interact with the things we build online. Going back to school allowed me the opportunity to tailor the experience of a solution to the needs of the end users. One of the best things about my role is knowing that I’m building something that is easy and intuitive for people to use, effectively making their lives easier. A side bonus is that I am now able to pass this knowledge on to others through training and mentorship, which is perhaps an even better perk.
How did you get into this kind of work?
Growing up, I was obsessed with the internet and I immediately started building websites—with dialup, of course. I have always had an intense fascination with form and function, and in particular the art and ingenuity that goes into combining both. Additionally, I have always had a strong interest in psychology. I find that UX design is the sweet spot between all of those things, so getting into this kind of work felt like a natural progression for me. After years of continuous learning and skill improvement I realized I could dramatically change how people experience what I built in a positive way, and therefore I could positively impact their lives.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
If you stick with something long enough you can be great at it. You have to be passionate in what you do, because if you don’t care then you’re not being fair to yourself or anyone that you do it for. Embrace difficulty and be patient with yourself. Focus on the reasons why you’re interested, your reasons have to be motivating and inspirational enough to not only take you where you want to be, but to also to show you where that is.
What is something that people don’t know about you?
I’m partly Norwegian, and my ancestors were Viking blacksmiths. While I do love metal work, I simply don’t have enough space for a forge and the rest of the required equipment. If I win the lottery I will definitely honour my ancestors and become a blacksmith—on the side, of course.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“If you’ve found what you’re looking for, keep looking, because you never know what was meant to be.” While this may seem counterintuitive to maintaining things like loyalty and consistency within a company, it’s incredibly important to keep learning about yourself, improving and discovering who you really are. I made a career change 20 years into my professional life because I realized what I actually wanted to do, and it was one of the best decisions in my life.
Is there something you want to be remembered for?
The coffee I bought someone the other day. The hug I gave to someone who really needed it. The joke I made, even if it was a terrible dad joke. I’m not really about some legacy that I need to leave behind. If I am going to be remembered, I hope it would be for being a kind and compassionate human being.
All People in Business Stories