Career Showcase – Jacky Lau, CD, MASc, P.Eng, PMP

Submitted by Samantha Hendricks & Michael Frankfort @mfrank_76

Jacky Lau, CD, MASc, P.Eng, PMP

E-mail: jacky@carobot.ca

CARobotix Inc. (Canada Robotix) canadarobotix.com

550 Alden Road, Unit 104, Markham, Ontario L3R 6A8, Canada

Tel.: 905-489-9888

Career Showcase – Jacky Lau from CanadaRobotix

Facebook: /CanadaRobotix

Twitter: @CanadaRobotix

Instagram: @CanadaRobotix

The STAO Elementary Curriculum Committee has had the opportunity to speak with Jacky Lau from CanadaRobotix to discuss his career path throughout his academic studies, his interest in science and the impact of some of his teachers.

CanadaRobotix is a robotics and electronics store dedicated to serving the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Canada. At CanadaRobotix, their mission statement centres around being able “to bring robotics and electronics to everyone to better the world”. Their vision statement focuses on being your “destination for new and exciting robotics and electronics suppliers at an affordable price”.

What aspects of science and technology have helped to influence you in pursuing this career path – thinking about your elementary, high school and post-secondary experiences?

I have always been fascinated by science and technology from a young age. This exploration started when I would take apart small electronic devices and not know how to put them back together. Then I slowly moved onto building remote control cars, model train sets, etc. What inspired me to pursue a career in Engineering and Robotics was being exposed to robots during Computer Engineering class in high school (note: this was back when robots and computers were not that common in elementary school). After I began my post-secondary studies, I kept pursuing my interest in robotics by joining various clubs and participating in extracurricular activities related to this area. Along the way, I also won a few international robotics competitions at the undergraduate level.

What is your job title? What career did you train for? Why did you pursue this career path? What does this job entail?

This is an interesting question because I have many job titles and most recently, I refer to myself as “Prof. Robotix” because I am currently teaching Engineering courses at a local college. I like robotics, and I also run a small business called “CanadaRobotix”. I am a Mechanical Engineer and I practised Engineering in the industry for a couple of years, then I decided to move into academia because I find inspiring the next generation of Engineers more fulfilling than just designing and manufacturing products. 

This is a quote from a wise person that I really like:

“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” – some wise person, we don’t know who

Were there any teachers or opportunities in school in general (elementary, secondary, post-secondary) that influenced in a positive way towards your career path/goals?

I will refer this back to my robotics experience in Computer Engineering class during high school, and I give credit to the teacher of that class.

What advice would you give to students in all grade levels on how to pursue their interests in working in a similar field to the one you are in? (For example: What courses should they take? What kind of volunteer work should they do?)

Taking relevant courses will always be useful, but my biggest advice is not to just focus on courses because extracurricular activities and/or relevant volunteering is a lot more important. If you are interested in something, don’t procrastinate and just do it! Start anywhere, take something apart, write a code, or build something. If an extracurricular activity and/or volunteering opportunity that you like doesn’t exist, then I recommend that you find a teacher or someone with experience in that area and create an opportunity for yourself. For example, during my high school years, I founded a few clubs. Later during post-secondary studies, I established and helped to organize a few non-profit volunteer organizations.

Are there any common misconceptions about your job/career path?

A common misconception is that only someone who is smart can be an Engineer. This is not true; as long as you are motivated, and enjoy building and problem-solving things, you can be an Engineer. But, of course, you will need to put in the effort when studying Math and Science throughout your academic career.

If there was one take-home point, what would it be?

If you want to pursue a career in Engineering, don’t just focus on the classes. Seek extracurricular and/or volunteering opportunities. There are too many Engineering students that I know of who are only good at Math and Programming, but they do not really understand how Engineering connects to the physical world. You see, the world needs more Engineers who can actually solve real physical problems.

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