IT and tech are booming in Canada. Here's how to launch your career as a newcomer
Published August 2, 2022.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutesIn summary:
- Career opportunities in Canada’s information technology (IT) and tech sectors are projected to grow in the years ahead.
- Newcomers make up about 40 per cent of Canada’s IT and tech professionals.
- To reach your career advancement goals and become a full stack developer, software engineer, cybersecurity specialist or other tech-focused professional in Canada, skilled immigrants and refugees need to be open-minded. There are many possible career directions, professional development courses and companies that value your diverse experience and knowledge.
In Canada, newcomer IT and tech professionals are expected to have plenty of career opportunities open to them in the years to come.
The demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-educated workers is only projected to rise, especially in Canada’s booming IT and tech sectors. This will mean exciting career advancement prospects for skilled immigrants and refugees. According to a report by Cyberprovinces, “employers across Canada are looking for talent in big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics and other emerging areas, as well as in traditional technology roles, such as systems analyst, software developers, database analyst, programmer and support technician.” The report projects IT administrators and consultants, software engineers and user support technician positions show the greatest promise of growth.
The difference between IT and tech jobs
Employment opportunities in Canada’s IT and tech sectors are integrated but ultimately different streams of work. IT stands for “information technology” and refers to the stream of work focused on maintaining and strengthening IT infrastructure, the physical hardware and operating software that organizations run on. Digital and tech jobs often involve using IT to build, design and enhance platforms that communicate with employees, customers and other users through websites, products and apps.
The state of Canada’s IT and tech sectors
There are nearly 2 million tech professionals working at more than 73,000 organizations across Canada. In Canada’s tech sector, skilled newcomers comprise 40 per cent of the workforce. Their contributions have helped this country become a global player in technology and home to companies like Shopify, Hootsuite, Wealthsimple and Apply Board.
Meanwhile, there are approximately 1.5 million workers in Canada’s IT sector and nearly 600,000 are immigrants to Canada. These are professionals working in the IT departments of financial institutions, health care organizations and numerous other companies.
Are you a skilled immigrant or refugee looking to better understand financial planning, education pathways and how to land a job in your profession in Canada? Download our free Skilled Immigrant Career Success Guide for tips to unlock your career potential in your new country.
Are you an internationally-trained IT, web or software development professional? Perhaps, you are interested in pursuing a career in growing roles like user experience (UX) or user interface designer (UI), full stack developer or cybersecurity specialist. There are numerous education pathways you can explore to make yourself more competitive in the Canadian job market. IT, tech or digital marketing roles are not regulated professions in Canada so education requirements vary by employer and by position.
The blogging team at Windmill Microlending interviewed Jessa Chupik, Head of Talent at MobSquad, an innovative Calgary-headquartered firm focused on helping international tech professionals build a life and career in Canada. To help you better understand how to achieve career success on your journey to becoming a software engineer, UX designer or full stack developer, Chupik offers the following four success strategies to help newcomers in and out of Canada’s IT and tech sectors reach their career advancement goals.
Jessa Chupik, Head of Talent at MobSquad indicates her company values the experiences of internationally-trained IT professionals and suggests newcomers look for companies that do the same.
Success strategy: Be open
An established technology company, consulting firm or start-up are great places to work. There are also exciting roles in public sector organizations that need exceptional technology professionals – places like academic institutions, health science research centres or government agencies. It’s important to remain open-minded to different career possibilities, and industries, which can expand your knowledge and help you realize your career goals.
Success strategy: Always be upskilling
If you already hold a degree in computer science, you may consider a graduate degree or learning additional programming languages. You can do that through online learning modules and virtual bootcamps. Focus on skills that are in demand like Python, cloud technologies or programs focused on big data. As indicated earlier in the blog post, the most in-demand technology roles in Canada are full stack developers, cybersecurity experts and data scientists. Cloud skills also continue to grow in importance. Online certifications can be very valuable to your own continuous learning and career advancement. At each university, college or private educational institution, there are career advisors that can help you assess which options make sense for you.
Did you know Windmill can help you pay for the costs of your upcoming full stack developer certificate or UX design course? Our low-interest loans, of up to $15,000, can be used to cover fees and tuition for education and training on your path to become a software engineer, cybersecurity specialist or other IT professional in Canada. Find out more about how our microloans can be used on Windmill’s Frequently Asked Questions page.
Success strategy: Think about co-working spaces
In larger or mid-sized cities, there are usually co-working spaces where a lot of start-up companies are based. At many co-working spaces, you’ll find networking events which feature leaders from in and outside of IT and tech. Most co-working spaces offer free or low-cost attendance to these events. Use them to network and get to know the people and companies in your new local community.
Success strategy: Get to know people and ask powerful questions
When meeting people at networking events, it’s helpful to have questions prepared. Ask the other attendees about their own career paths, education and the companies where they work. People love to talk about themselves. Don't feel pressure to launch into your own background and career experience right away. Individuals remember those who ask insightful and thoughtful questions.
BONUS SUCCESS STRATEGY: Listen as MobSquad’s Jessa Chupik talks about the importance of finding an organization that values your skills, experiences and offers an inclusive culture.
You may be eligible for a Windmill microloan. Find out in two minutes by completing our online loan eligibility quiz. Click here.
Below you can find links to more helpful resources:
- The most in-demand tech skills in Canada
- Top skills IT professionals need to succeed
- Newcomer success tips for software engineers and other IT professionals in Canada
- Windmill’s Educational Pathways for Skilled Newcomers
- Tech skills health care professionals need to succeed in Canada
- As you consider education options in the IT and tech fields, take a look at Windmill education partners like General Assembly, Lighthouse Labs and Cydeo.
- Cybersecurity post-secondary education programs in Canada