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All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to IT and business skills.

The Top Jobs, Tech Skills and Programming Languages

A Summary of the Most Popular Lists Featuring 2017’s Hottest Jobs

The Top Jobs, Tech Skills and Programming Languages of 2017Along with ambitious resolutions destined to fail, every New Year promises Top 10 lists published by every blog and media outlet, summarizing the top trends of the previous year and predicting new ones to come (we’re guilty of this ourselves… and have no shame about it either).

One such topic you may have seen is the hottest jobs, tech skills and programming languages. In case you haven’t been able to keep up, we compiled the lists from the industry leaders. Many are based in the United States; however, in our experience, in many industries (especially IT), employment and tech trends carry over to Canada as well.

As you scroll through the lists, you’ll notice one recurring factor — information technology is as hot in 2017 as its been for the past many years. Even in the generic employment lists, IT is in significant demand across all industries.

Fastest-Growing Skills, Q4 2016 (Upwork)

Upwork, arguably the world’s largest freelancing website, releases a quarterly list of the fastest growing tech skills. These were the fastest growing skills at the end of Q4 2016:

  1. Natural language processing
  2. Swift
  3. Tableau
  4. Amazon Marketplace Web Services (MWS)
  5. Stripe
  6. Instagram marketing
  7. MySQL programming
  8. Unbounce
  9. Social media management
  10. AngularJS

Toughest Jobs to Fill (CareerCast)

CareerCast published this list of the most in-demand positions that recruiters and hiring managers have the hardest time filling:

  1. Data scientist
  2. Financial advisor
  3. General and operations manager
  4. Home health aide
  5. Information security analyst
  6. Medical services manager
  7. Physical therapist
  8. Registered nurse
  9. Software engineer
  10. Truck driver

Technical Skills with The Biggest Increases In Demand (Forbes)

Early in 2017, Forbes revealed this list, ranking the top technical skills based on how often they appeared in job descriptions.

  1. Big Data
  2. js
  3. Tableau
  4. NoSQL
  5. Apache Hadoop
  6. HTML5
  7. Python
  8. Oracle
  9. JSON
  10. Salesforce CRM

10 Programming Languages Every Developer Should Learn (Social Hire)

Here’s SocialHire’s list of what they believe are the “crème de la crème of programming languages”:

  1. Java
  2. JavaScript
  3. C#
  4. Python
  5. Swift
  6. Rust
  7. Dart
  8. PHP
  9. Scala
  10. HTML5

Best Jobs in America (Glassdoor)

Glassdoor regularly ranks jobs based on number of job openings, salary and overall job satisfaction rating. These are their results for the United States in 2017:

  1. Data Scientist
  2. DevOps Engineer
  3. Data Engineer
  4. Tax Manager
  5. Analytics Manager
  6. HR Manager
  7. Database Administrator
  8. Strategy Manager
  9. UX Designer
  10. Solutions Architect

Most Promising Jobs of 2017 (LinkedIn)

As the world’s leading professional social network, LinkedIn may be the resource most connected to job seekers and employers alike. This is what they predict will be the most promising jobs this year:

  1. Hospitalist
  2. Pharmacist
  3. Sales Engineer
  4. Site Reliability Engineer
  5. Product Manager
  6. Financial Analyst
  7. Technical Program Manager
  8. Program Manager
  9. Data Engineer
  10. Scrum Master

Best Jobs in America (CNN/PayScale)

CNN and PayScale also created a list of the top careers, that they say have the biggest growth, best pay and most satisfying work. Here are the first 10 from their list of 100 careers:

  1. Mobile Applications Developer
  2. Risk Management Director
  3. Landman
  4. Product Analyst
  5. Information Assurance Analyst
  6. Quality Assurance Coordinator (RN)
  7. Clinical Applications Specialist
  8. Hospital Administrator
  9. Database Analyst
  10. Finance & Administration Director

Balancing Hard and Soft Skills in Project Management

In its simplest form, a Project Manager’s job is to ensure a project is completed successfully. In more complex terms, it includes managing countless aspects from people to budgets to timelines.

You don’t always need the title of Project Manager to be responsible for the completion of a project. Independent contractors are often brought into lead a specific task due to their niche skillset, and naturally end up taking on these responsibilities.

As the infographic below from Brandeis University shows, projects fail for any number of reasons. And, if you read further down, it implies that the root of these failures is lack of specific skills, both hard and soft. The infographic goes on to explain that most people excel at only one type of skill and need to work to develop the other.

Thankfully, this helpful infographic goes further to provide tips and tricks on how you can improve your hard and soft project management skills. If you’re in the profession, or a subject matter expert who gets pulled into leading projects, have a look and see how you can improve on your skills.

How Canadian Developers Can Remain Competitive

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

How Canadian Developers Can Remain CompetitiveLooking for new development skills to remain competitive in your field?  Perhaps Rapid Application Development and Front-End Design are in your future.

An interesting question in mapping out your career and determining what skills are most important for you involves both an evaluation, through research and data analysis, of the current market as well as what is coming next.  None of us have a crystal ball, but there are certain trends and information out there that can give us a better understanding of what is coming.

As the majority of consumers shift to their mobile devices to browse and purchase, so will employers’ demands in the skills they seek. Mobile development is one of the fastest growing environments in IT.  Skills such as Android app development, HTML5, iOS, CSS, JavaScript, and Angular are in such an incredible demand that there is simply not enough people to do the work that is already funded.

Over the last decade we have seen an incredible amount of development work move overseas.  Heavy development lifts are being completed in countries where labour costs are a fraction of what it would cost to do it here. Employers in Canada are no longer looking for consultants to sit behind a desk and code, that work has predominantly left the country.

As the Agile Methodology grows in popularity and consumers move to the mobile space, having the technical skills combined with an understanding of marketing and brand objectives of the end client will make you in high demand. What employers want now are collaborative, creative developers with an acute understanding of marketing and sales objectives who can work in a team environment.

Do you have the skills required to stay competitive and relevant in Canada’s fast-paced development space? If not, it may be time to take an inventory of your skills — hard and soft — and refresh or upgrade those that are lacking.

NAFTA Revisions and Technology Workers in the US

Frances McCart By Frances McCart,
Vice-President, Business Development at Eagle

How could trade policy impact Canada’s technology sector?  (A silver lining perhaps?)

NAFTA Revisions and Technology Workers in the USSince Trump’s announcement he will be changing the NAFTA terms, I have had many technology professionals ask my 2 cents about getting or keeping their TN work permit status under NAFTA.  It is too early to tell what changes will be made to NAFTA and the issuance of work permits under various professional categories but one thing is for sure, technology resources are concerned.

The US has had the benefit of NAFTA to hire many of Canada’s top technology talent, especially in Silicon Valley. Many corporations such as Microsoft, Facebook and Google heavily use the TN1 and L1 work permit categories to hire Canadian talent.  Under NAFTA, this was once a fairly straight forward process for technology professionals possessing the right qualifications, but it may become more onerous, highly restrictive and less attractive.

This is bad news for the US technology sector.  In a time of great growth and change, the last thing the sector needs is a government imposing restrictions on hiring technology professionals that are desperately needed.  The tech sector relies heavily on a global talent marketplace to staff projects.  Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor forecast that the US will create some 1.4 million IT jobs by 2020, but US schools will barely be able to fill a third of them.  Technology recruiters turn to Canada as the first place to recruit potential resources due to our common language, culture and schooling.  The recruiters also rely heavily on countries where having a degree in math/computer science is highly valued and youth are heavily encouraged to get into technology.

Is there a silver lining with potential changes to NAFTA and US immigration laws for Canada?  Yes, with uncertainty comes confusion and interest levels working in a country where your worker status is unknown and could change at a moment’s notice, people will rethink the US as a go to for technology jobs.  Canada definitely has the need to take on tens of thousands of new technology professionals.   In a recent Huffington post article, it was noted “Out of 527,000 students who graduated in Canada in 2015, only 6 per cent — 29,000 — graduated from an IT field, the report found. Canada would have to graduate around 43,000 IT students per year to keep up with job growth.”  So, let the hiring begin!!

Over the past decade and a half, Canada’s technology sector has been heavily impacted by the brain drain to the south.  According to a recent CBC post, between 30,000 – 40,000 professionals are working in the US under NAFTA’s TN work permit status.  A large percentage of these professionals are technology professionals.   This number does not also include those who are in the US under other work permit categories. So, needless to say, a lot of top Canadian technology talent is working in the US.

Canada’s technology industry has matured significantly over the past 5 years and many US Tier 1 technology firms have expanded their Canadian footprint.  Canadians working in the US now have more opportunities to find similar work to those located in Silicon Valley.  Canada’s technology sector would more than welcome these resources back to Canada as well as those on the global technology marketplace who no longer see the US a viable place to have a technology career.

Canadian technology CEOs and recruiters should take this opportunity to entice Canadian workers back to Canada.  Time to seize the moment!

Sources & Additional Reading 

Contractor Quick Poll: 2017 Training & Development Plans

How Much Training & Development Are You Planning in 2017?

There are many ways an independent contractor can improve their skills. From working on certifications to staying up-to-date on the latest trends to networking; every little bit counts. Recruiters at staffing agencies keep a close eye on this section of an IT professional’s resume as they want to know they’re presenting clients with the top skills available.

The reality is, though, finding time for these activities isn’t the easiest thing for an IT contractor to do. Especially when you’re already juggling projects, managing business tasks, and keeping up with finding your next contract, this can be a major challenge and may not always be top priority.

In this month’s contractor quick poll, we’re asking how much training and development you plan to do in 2017. Perhaps it was a higher priority last year than it will be this year, or you’ve set a goal to improve in a specific area. We won’t judge, we’re just curious…

Nothing Happens if Nobody Buys Anything

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Vice President, East Region & Government Services at Eagle

Nothing Happens if Nobody Buys Anything In the late 90’s and through the Tech Boom of the early 2000’s, Ottawa was a hot bed of technology and technology startups. Burgeoning companies like Cognos, JDS Uniphase, Corel,  and NewBridge Networks were full of world class engineering and R&D talent, many of whom came from Nortel. And still, other small companies sprung up around them, led by some of the brilliant engineers from those early breeding grounds of Nortel. All of these organizations were very much technology driven; similarly, all were severely challenged in bringing their “game changing” technology to market, in short, selling. Companies would evangelize to investors their incredible technology but the vision required to market it and the talent to sell it was as rare as Haleys Comet. That skill was and is a continued obstacle for IT companies both big and small.

Flash forward 15 plus years and global technology heavyweight based out of Ottawa, Shopify, have voiced their concern about hiring new recruits or graduates in Sales to support their coming growth plans. The Conference Board of Canada notes Sales has one of the top 5 specializations in highest demand, consistently in the last decade. Companies like Dell Canada, IBM, and Google Canada all are participating in a Canada-wide program to promote Sales to students as a viable and rewarding career choice. For most companies, sales are the proverbial “front-end of the ship” yet we continue to see people who backed in to Sales because they were a big personality, or were a really “likeable” individual. Sales is a far more sophisticated and evolved profession that is no longer 3 parts personality one part product knowledge. With newly empowered buyers (see: the Internet!), successful sales people now require an ability to consume data and analytics, be critical thinkers and problem solvers, forecast correctly and more than ever have advanced business and interpersonal communication skills both verbal and written.

So the question begs: Why, in an era of literally hundreds of college and university programs and in a struggling economy that tells us how critical developing tech companies need sales people, are we slow to getting on board in terms of educating and developing sales as a skill? Most of the top universities and even most MBA programs offer few sales- related courses. Additionally demographics tell us the same story we have heard across many functions in the business world — 40% or more of senior IT sales talent is set to leave the workforce, putting significant strain on companies to recruit a declining supply of sales talent. The academic world is now waking up to this realization and has begun to instill in their Business programs at the undergraduate level and beyond sales courses befitting the requirements of a modern sales professional. The days of glad handing your way to a successful sales career are in the past as we realize how critical revenue generation is for companies. After all… “nothing happens if nobody buys anything .”

The Most Loved, Dreaded and Wanted Tech

We referenced the 2016 Stack Overflow Developer Survey a couple times this month, using its findings to back-up some claims. The survey is filled with knowledge and trends about top technologies and pay rates, and some fun stats like preferences over Star Wars and Star Trek.

One set of charts we found particularly interesting is about the most loved, dreaded and wanted pieces of technology. It seems the most loved are Rust, Swift and F#, while developers on Stack Overflow dread Visual Basic and WordPress the most. More importantly for an IT contractor looking to keep skills up-to-date is the most wanted technologies, where Android, Node.js and AngularJS top the list. Have a look at the charts below and feel free to leave us any comments.

Most Wanted Tech

Most Dreaded Tech

Most Loved Tech

Growing Tech Skills and Programming Languages

According to Dice, These are the Fastest Growing Tech Skills and Programming Languages of 2016

Last week, we shared an infographic about Hadoop and provided some references showing the rising popularity of the technology, and Big Data in general. Obviously, this isn’t the only realm of technology that’s growing and it’s important for any independent contractor to be up-to-date on the current trends. Here’s a summary of a couple helpful articles we found by Dice.

Fastest Growing Tech Skills

Chart: Salaries of Fastest Growing Tech Skills (by Dice)This article summarizes the salaries of the fastest-growing tech skills. The image to the right gives a visual of those particular skills and shows the percentage of their year-over-year growth in job postings.

As for the salaries, they’re relative to the US economy, but the list below orders them from the highest to lowest. If you’d like more details, the original article contains specific numbers and a background of each.

  1. Cassandra
  2. Hive
  3. Big Data
  4. Spark
  5. Cloud
  6. JIRA
  7. Azure
  8. Electrical Engineer
  9. Salesforce
  10. Juniper

Programming Languages

If we want to look at programming languages, this Dice article uses the TIOBE index to identify those rising in popularity the most. These include:

  • Ruby
  • Swift
  • Assembly Language
  • R
  • Groovy

Again, to get more details about each language and how much they rose in the rankings, have a look at the original 5 Rising Programming Languages.

Improve Your Job Search Chances as a Developer

Here Are the 5 Key Skills Hiring Managers Look for in a Developer

Smiling software developerIf you’re a contractor in development, you already know that competition is high in your profession.  In fact, “Software Developer” is the second most clicked IT job title on Indeed. What’s the best way to get ahead of your competition?  Know exactly what your client wants, and show them that you are better at it.

In a recent article from Inc., John Rampton explained to hiring managers what skills they need to look for in order to find the best developers.  By understanding these top five priorities, you can better frame your resume, cover letter, and interview responses and position yourself above the other applicants.

Language-Specific Skills

Obviously, a specific project requires specific coding skills, and clients will be seeking to make sure you have the necessary knowledge and experience in that language. Rampton also points out, though, that languages can be learned and encourages hiring managers to investigate professionals who have the ability to expand their skills quickly and easily. You should only apply to jobs where you are fluent in the primary code being used, but if you’re currently enhancing a language or are willing to commit more time to perfecting one that would contribute to the project, be sure to let the client know.

Passion for Coding

Some of the best programmers live and breathe IT.  Clients like to know that their contractor isn’t just doing their job, but are living their passion.  Point out any apps or websites you’ve built in your free time, memberships you have to industry associations, or even some of your passions that relate to the client’s industry.

Problem-Solving Ability

Rampton highlights problem-solving as an important skillset, but also admits that it’s difficult to determine during an interview process.  Consider this an opportunity in your resume to give great examples of problems you have solved in the past.  Remember to explain your process and the outcome.  With any luck, this may help you avoid awkward problem-solving trivia questions during an interview because the client will already have checked Problem-Solving Ability off their list.

Communication

As the article says: “Developers can spend a great deal of time seated in front of a computer, analyzing and creating code. However, the ability to interact with team members and communicate with supervisors is essential to ensuring your projects progress smoothly.” From the second you submit your resume to the end of the interview process, you’re proving that you have these abilities.

Dependability

The best way a hiring manager will judge your dependability is to look at the past and call references. Since you can’t change your past, it’s crucial that you always think of the future while working in the present.  Create great references by always being dependable and this skill will be a no-brainer for future hiring managers.

You may notice that most of these skills, especially the final two, can relate to practically any job and there’s a high probability that hiring managers are looking for these in all contractors.  Regardless of your specialty, take a look at the above points.  Is there anywhere you can improve?

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Gilbert Boileau By Gilbert Boileau,
Vice-Président, Québec at Eagle

What’s on the horizon for Technology Professionals??

If you’re considering upgrading or refreshing some skills that will be in demand in the next two years, look for Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) as opportunities currently in the making. Projects are starting, or will start soon, that require specialists with BC and DR knowledge and experience. Why?  Because as most companies are looking at introducing cloud into their environment to add flexibility, contain cost or convert Capital Expenses (CAPEX) to Operational Expenses (OPEX), cloud for disaster recovery is becoming a viable option for a lot of clients.

For small and medium-sized business, the cloud gives the same capabilities that larger companies have had for years. Many big companies have secondary data centers they can use for data back-up and recovery, whereas smaller companies don’t.  The cloud, however, gives those small and medium-sized businesses more possibilities with its ability to back up data or replicate servers to a remote site, and then failover the servers and network to the remote site in the event of a disaster.

For larger companies with elaborate disaster recovery environments and strategies,Cloud Technologies introducing the cloud can be beneficial from a financial and control perspective.  These organizations need to create an integrated strategy of processes, architecture, and the reporting necessary for audit and governance purposes. The flexibility to test more frequently and the ability to scale up or to scale down if needed are examples of reasons they are trying to introduce cloud into their environment.

What does this mean in terms of market skills needed?  Well, reviewing DR and BC strategies, from small to large size companies, means the start of a new cycle of projects where DR and BC skills will be in demand.  2015 should see an increase in demand for DR specialists, starting with project managers with extensive knowledge in that field.

Are you up-to-date on your business continuity and disaster recovery skills?  Would you like more information about these potential opportunities?  Let us know, we’d love to help you prepare!