Talent Development Centre

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The Talent Development Centre includes advice for independent contractors in IT from one of Canada’s top staffing and recruitment agencies. See all posts about tech jobs.

Regional Job Market Update for Montreal, Quebec

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

After some sluggish months for the Canadian economy, April saw record numbers of jobs created not seen since 1976 with 106,000 new jobs, far exceeding economists’ expectations. Canada added over 426,000 jobs in the last 12 months and though many had forecast an imminent recession, it now appears that may not be in the cards. Perhaps more indicative of a better economy is a stronger wage growth component of 2.5% increase. Perhaps salaries are finally catching up with the increase in jobs and we’re seeing the effects of an overall tightening labour market.

Panoramic Photo Montreal city fron Mount RoyalAs we look at the Quebec Employment numbers, we confirm what we have seen both operationally and practically in the market. Quebec continues its run of strong labour numbers with the second lowest unemployment rate in the country (second only to BC provincially) and, at 4.9%, it’s over a full point lower than neighboring Ontario. Montreal continues to have a lower rate of unemployment than Toronto. Drilling down further, we know that the National rate of unemployment for technology hovers at less than half the broader rate, at slightly above 2%. However, in Technology Urban Centres like Montreal with a burgeoning Video game sector, AI sector and Financial sector it is likely very close to 0% which is what we at Eagle are currently seeing play out in the marketplace.

Canada has bet big on AI with centres in Toronto and Edmonton but Montreal also has a thriving and burgeoning AI ecosystem. In addition to the Federal funding in AI investment, the city benefits from a huge Province of Quebec investment, similar to what the Province  invested in attracting big video gaming players to Montreal. Swedish giant Ericsson, French Tech Consultancy Axionable and Samsung are just some the global giants to have recently opened AI accelerator/Labs in the city of Montreal. In addition to Montreal already being a North American gaming hub, clearly it is becoming an AI hub as well. Over the past couple of years, global behemoths Google, Facebook and Microsoft have set up shop in Montreal in the hopes of taking advantage of the much sought after talent developed as a result of these new thriving hubs and tech ecosysytems.

Traditional sectors such as Telecom, Financial Services and Aerospace who are already fighting to attract the talent they need now have to out-hustle these “sexy ” giants of tech industry. Talent in Montreal have multiple options and clients now need to be certain they are quick to hire, have compelling stories to sell, competitive salaries and are working hand-in-hand with their talent partners in what is now a very heated market.

Hot roles in Montreal include Mobile Developers, DevOps/Middleware, BI Specialists, Security Specialists and all things Java.

Regional Job Market Update for Edmonton

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

City of EdmontonIn 2017, Alberta led the country in growth and I think we were all celebrating the end of a recession that decimated the oil patch and put the brakes on Alberta’s economy. While the news in 2018 was ok (growth in the 2.5% range), domestic and international forces conspired against the province and continued to stifle confidence.

For 2019, with Alberta still unable to get its oil to current and potential new markets, growth is expected in the 2% range which is disappointing when you consider that we have in abundance, what the entire world craves, energy!

So what about Edmonton? The city and region saw a challenging year but the good news is that growth is expected to come in at around 2.6% with a similar 2.7% target in 2019. The mix of public and private sector along with a more diversified economy seems to provide the city and region with a bit of insulation from the vagaries of international policy and political upheaval.

If you are an Information Technology professional, you probably found 2018 to be a decent year for finding contracts or permanent hire roles. Our clients were busy this year and we saw a number of large-scale projects initiated or moved into implementation. While the contracting market remained robust, the biggest change was in the “permanent hire” category with many of Eagle’s clients hiring for key positions after years of holding back during the recession or to address an identified shortage caused by the adoption of new business and technology initiatives.

Much of this was driven by the following:

  • Move from on premise to Cloud, and integration of cloud with on premise applications and systems.
  • Continued need to manage and manipulate data in the private and public sectors as they strive to improve service delivery to their partners, clients or constituents.
  • Pressure on organizations to upgrade their business systems (and therefore their core IS) as vendors retire support for older versions and;
  • The continued advent of new products which made it easier to deploy to mobile and web platforms.

So what is hot in the market. We saw the following “Hot Skills” in 2018 and all indications are that the following will be in demand in 2019.

  • Microsoft Stack Expertise (C#, HTML, CSS etc.)
  • Infrastructure Specialists
  • Network Analysts (for cloud preparation)
  • Agile Project Managers
  • Business Analysts

The Marijuana Industry is an Exciting Place for Canadian IT Professionals

Brianne Risley By Brianne Risley,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

The Medical Marijuana Industry is an Exciting Place for Canadian IT ProfessionalsCannabis — growing, selling, legislating… as we lead into the October 17th legalization date, there has been hyper-focus on what effect this emerging industry will have in Canada. Whether you love it or hate it, the disruption in the market has created some fascinating gaps where enterprising Information Technology professionals can innovate, create, retro-fit, and grow into a brand-new field. Some of Canada’s most exciting IT jobs are in the Marijuana industry!

The rapid growth of the cannabis industry has created a network of competing, well-funded, start-up companies who are up against a time crunch to absorb people and processes to get product to market and the enabler for all of this is technology. The emerging and bleeding-edge skills that are in-demand and being implemented in this sector can fuel an IT professional across the next 10 years of their career! This industry has the exciting IT Career Buzzwords tech pros crave:

  • Automation: Automated or robotic systems are needed to fertilize, water, and control ambient temperature to maximize yield, decrease risk, add predictability to a harvest, and certainty around a supply chain. You’ve heard of Fin-Tech… this “Grow-Tech” has ramifications for all agri-food verticals.
  • Business Process Re-engineering: What are we doing today? Has anyone written it down? How can we make this bigger/better/faster? What technology hurtles are weighing us down? What can we innovate/change? Documenting and building frameworks of repeatable processes where none existed before is an exciting proposition.
  • Change Management: Disruption, M&A work, new systems, new employees, training – this is a perfect storm for helping people manage through technology and process change.
  • Data and Reporting: How can I track my supply chain? Are there predictive analytics that can help me with forecasting? How do I use reports to balance risk and the reporting requirements of a highly regulated healthcare environment? Data scientists and reporting specialists will be in demand to create models for this business.
  • ERP: There aren’t specialized ERP packages that deal with this segment of business yet. The opportunity comes from being able to retrofit mid-market packages to support the SCM, Manufacturing, and Pharma/Health aspects of the business, and customizing these elements for the future.
  • E-commerce: How do you build and deploy a scalable, user-friendly, and secure e-commerce website? The lessons learned in this space have broad-market appeal to any client in the Retail industry and is a highly desirable skill.
  • Remote Monitoring: Video feeds to control quality, control systems to adjust variables in production — the data storage systems required to track this, along with the infrastructure connectivity in field sites opens all sorts of interesting dynamics.
  • Security: Logical and physical security to ensure there is a safe product to sell to market.

Broadly speaking, this industry isn’t for everyone. Operating in “start-up” mode for companies that are going through heavy transition can create personal and professional uncertainty. In describing the ideal person for this kind of work, I would say the following: it’s your calling to build things — you see frameworks where nothing existed before. You will be at the forefront of building out a global manufacturing and supply chain network. You will customize, deploy, and adapt Cloud technologies to solve emerging issues in the ERP, E-commerce, and asset management space. You will build process and structure on demand where none existed before to become an industry leader in a burgeoning health field – Medical or Recreational Marijuana.

Eagle is currently working with several major Medical Marijuana clients who are looking to build-out their team with smart, information technology professionals. Willingness to relocate to Western Canada is key as we build-out these teams. If you are interested in finding out more about what a career in this field might entail, I would encourage you to create a profile on our job board and reach out to your Eagle recruiter.

Join us as we assist in creating the foundations of a lucrative new IT vertical!

Top Tech According to Stack Overflow

Once again, Stack Overflow has put together one of the most comprehensive surveys of developer trends in their annual Developer Survey. There are a plethora of results and insights in there, from demographics of developers around the world, information on how developers think and, of course, leading technologies being used today.

On top of general popularity of various languages and platforms, the Stack Overflow survey is unique in that it looks at the most loved (technologies being used where the developer expressed interest in continuing to do so), dreaded (technologies being used where the developer has no interest in continuing) and wanted (technologies developers aren’t using but expressed an interest in using it) technologies, as well as the top paying ones.

Top Programming, Scripting and Markup Languages

It’s no surprise that once again JavaScript is the most commonly used programming language, nor should anyone be shocked that Python continues to rise and this year became more popular than C#. Interestingly enough, those are also the top to languages developers most want to work with and also make the top 10 list of languages developers want to continue using.

Top Platforms

There also isn’t much surprise in the most popular platforms used among developers, with Linux and Windows Desktop or Server being the ones where most developers have done work in the past year. The difference is that more than three quarters of the people currently using Linux want to continue doing so, where as Windows didn’t even make the top 10 most loved platforms. It’s also worth noting that although WordPress makes the list as one of the most popular platforms, it’s also one of the most dreaded.

Best Paid Jobs

Perhaps you don’t care about what people use and enjoy using, you want to know what’s going to bring in the most cash. For starters, especially if you’re joining the workforce and planning your career path, here’s a look at the top paid developer types around the world and what they make in USD:

Top Paying Job Titles According to Stack Overflow

More specifically, these are the technologies making money…

Top Paying Skills According to Stack Overflow

BC Technology Jobs Aren’t Only in Vancouver

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

Vancouver Victoria, Canada’s Newest Tech Hub!

Victoria, Canada’s Newest Tech Hub!Who knew? Ask anybody about Silicon Valley North and they will very likely mention Vancouver and the well-established and recently emerging tech sector that is driving a great deal of the city’s business environment. And they wouldn’t be wrong. But Victoria — “home of the newly wed and nearly dead” — is not just managing to sneak into the conversation, they are earning bragging rights of their own with nearly 900 tech companies, 20,000 workers and close to 4 billion generated in economic impact. While they won’t challenge Vancouver when it comes to sheer size and muscle power, Victoria is punching well above its weight.

On a recent trip to the provincial capital, I had the opportunity to speak to a number of clients who talked about the importance of the industry and how it has helped to revitalize the city, including the reestablishment of the downtown core area and the development of tech nodes such as the Vancouver Island Technology Park which shares space with Camosun College and Fort Techtoria. Fort Techtoria is the brainchild of VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council whose stated mission is “to serve as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector”. A visit to the webpage gives the following quote from Dan Gunn, Executive Director of VIATEC.

Fort Tectoria Logo“We built Fort Tectoria to support entrepreneurs, creators and innovators throughout Greater Victoria. Much more than just well-appointed offices housing 35 early-stage tech companies on the upper floors, our main floor was designed to provide a gathering place for hackers, makers, movers and shakers to host meetups, workshops, networking sessions and events. We look forward to hearing what you have in mind.”

Why Victoria? A few common themes came to light. First, Victoria isn’t Vancouver. The cost of doing business reflects life in a smaller community. Space is certainly cheaper and workers who can’t afford or are otherwise allergic to the price of real estate in Vancouver, find Victoria to be a bit easier on the paycheck. Accordingly, demand for new office space from within the tech sector has now outpaced government in the downtown core, and interestingly, in a city as old as Victoria, this demand has specifically targeted older character buildings giving new purpose and life to the city’s historical assets. The sense of support in the community was also mentioned. The idea that VIATECH exists to help get industry together to solve problems and share ideas is a powerful magnet for startups and tech enterprises. And what about attracting applicants for work? It is a challenge but the same sense of community, decent weather by Canadian standards and a conglomeration of tech business means the word is getting out and the same workers who may have once targeted Vancouver are now starting to take notice of Victoria.

Are you interested in working on the island? If so, Eagle is always looking for great candidates for a variety of roles with great clients in Victoria.

The Best IT Career Advice from 111 Industry Gurus

Neil AndersonFlackbox Logo runs the popular Flackbox blog, a resource providing advice for IT professionals to build their cloud and data centre career. He was recently a guest on the Packet Pushers Datanauts podcast where he had the opportunity to talk about Career Advancement. As Neil mentions on his blog, searching for a job in IT has changed dramatically over the years, so this is an important topic to him. Wanting to provide the best advice possible during his podcast appearance, Neil decided to expand beyond his own knowledge and sought IT career advice from 111 of the top experts in the industry.

Neil spoke with a wide range of professionals, including industry experts such as leaders, authors and bloggers, as well as CTOs, CIOs from the world’s top universities, HR directors and recruiters, and his loyal Flackbox readers. After the podcast, he generously summed up the advice from all 111 experts in one extremely valuable blog post.

Two of the people who provided IT career advice and were featured in the blog post are Eagle’s very own Kevin Dee (Chairman of the Board & Co-Founder) and Morley Surcon (VP Western Canada). Here’s the advice they provide:

IT Career Advice from Kevin Dee

  1. If you are choosing a tech career then you already made a great choice.  The future will belong to the knowledge worker, and tech will only play a bigger and bigger part in our lives.
  1. I am often asked about the problem of getting hired without experience… “How do I get experience if no-one will give me a job to get experience?”

Getting that first job is huge… then taking full advantage of it is critical.  Once you have a couple of years’ experience you are probably well established on a tech career.  So… do all the right things to get the job, and don’t underestimate what it will take to excel at it.

  1. Be prepared to start at the bottom, be humble and have the right expectations … look to the future!
  2. Companies want a great attitude even more than they want skills … bring a great attitude and some entry level skill and you improve your chances.
  3. Get experience wherever you can… volunteer with charities/not for profit organisations, get Summer jobs, take an extra course in “in demand” skills.
  4. Big companies hire a lot of tech people… banks, oil & gas, retail, telephone companies, big consulting companies (Accenture, Deloitte) etc.  If you can find ways “in” to those companies it is a great way to start a career.  (Summer jobs there, people you know, people your family knows, people you cultivate etc.)

IT Career Advice from Morley Surcon

“Old Chinese (I think) proverb…  Q: When is the best time to plant a tree?  A: 10 years ago.  Q1: When is the second best time?  A2: Today.

The IT industry is going to be going through an “experience crunch” as baby boomers retire over the next decade… the people with the knowledge capital will be leaving and there won’t be others with enough experience to step in behind them.  This is going to cause some strife for organizations… especially the ones that haven’t migrated to newer technologies.

There are industries out there that are still heavily reliant on mainframes and systems built on old code (like Cobol)… and there aren’t new people training on this old technology.  For example, there are many in the banking industry suggesting that their mainframe infrastructure is going to have to carry them for another 10 to 20 more years… they are looking at alternative staffing strategies in the attempt to acquire and train new employees to help bridge that gap.

There may be a “contrarian opportunity” for younger IT professionals to build skills in some older technologies… even if they combine this with some newer capabilities so as not to put all their eggs in a dying basket.

… or if they want to stay “mainstream” then choose to study technology relating to mobile, web based technologies and/or security as they are “hot” and likely will be for a time… or focus in on embedded programming or any of the building blocks of IoT as that appears to be the direction of things if you can believe the rhetoric.”

All of this just scratches the surface!

Check out Neil’s complete blog post for all of the best IT career advice from 111 Industry Gurus