A look at Canada's booming IT industry, and the demand for professionals that it creates.We open with some promising news for those of you who are experts in the field of information technology: according to the Montreal newspaper, The Gazette, Canadian IT workers can expect starting salaries to increase an average of 6.7% this year as compared to last year. Those computer experts specializing in such tasks as Internet security, Web Development and electronic commerce are especially fortunate and may well be granted increases up to 13.9 per cent.
In Montreal alone, high-tech firms employ an estimated total of nearly 300,000 skilled professionals. Jobs in the sector are growing at an almost unprecedented rate of 20 per cent per year. Despite high tech firms in Montreal having recently gone on a "hiring spree," about 10 per cent of IT jobs still remain unfilled at present, and thus the law of supply and demand is forcing salaries to go up in order to attract the best and brightest.
Richard Donovan, a lecturer on information systems at Montreal's McGill University, asserts that McGill students who major in management information systems (MIS) can take their pick of numerous job offers immediately upon graduation. Even more astonishing is the fact that some IT consulting and software development firms are offering degree programs in Information Systems in partnership with Canadian universities. The first part of the program consists of academic instruction combined with actual assignments for clients; the final part is spent working full-time. The employer usually pays for tuition and books and pays each student a salary.
And opportunities for such grads are limitless, because in the words of one vice president of marketing for an IT recruiting company, "Start-up companies need them to understand and turn a technology innovation into a business. On the flip side of that, venture capital companies need them to analyze a start-up's technology and judge its business potential. Banks need them to assess the risk in financing a company's expansion based on new technology. And stock market analysts need them to understand both the technical and business side of investments."
The sky is the limit for IT specialists and government forecasts indicate that this trend will continue well into the new millennium.
If our reports on Canadian quality of life and its present economic boom have not yet convinced you that Canada is a place of nearly unlimited opportunity for qualified professionals, this should at least suffice to persuade all those of you involved in IT that Canada is the place to be!