Hot Job! Software developers are in demand everywhere, but don’t fake it if you don’t know the code

Major tech companies from Amazon to Shopify, Google, Twitter and Pinterest, have announced hiring plans in Canada this year

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that the entire world is functioning digitally, and even more so 16 months into a pandemic where large swathes of people worked from home, there is a hot demand for software developers.

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How hot? According to Statistics Canada’s job vacancies report for the first quarter of 2021, vacancies for computer and information systems professionals were up 11 per cent, or 2,100 positions, over the same period last year.

Indeed Canada, however, is reporting a 14 per cent increase in job postings for software developers from May 2021 to last week, and a 73 per cent increase from February 2020.

But given that major tech companies from Amazon.com Inc. to Shopify, Google, Twitter and Pinterest, have announced hiring plans for software developers in Canada this year, not to mention the growth of e-commerce, and technology-enabled remote work, it’s safe to say that pursuing or pivoting to a career in software development is a good choice.

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Here’s what you need and what you will earn if you do:

Salary

It’s tricky to give a salary range for software developers, given it’s a broad category that can vary widely depending on whether you are working at a startup enterprise or a multinational conglomerate. That being said, payscale.com lists the average salary as $67,525, based on 6,498 salaries. The site’s research was last updated on July 14 of this year. One recruiter places the average at around $80,000.

Who the role suits

Most tech companies require a university education, and an undergrad degree. And that’s just for starters. The path to an actual software developer role can take many directions, and isn’t limited to just one degree. You can take computer engineering, computer science and, obviously, software development courses, among others. The formal education is important, but Karen Tang, a recruiter in Toronto, said there are other critical skills recruiters look for when it comes to the best candidate.

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Common coding languages such as Java, C, SQL and Python, to name a few, are often advertised in software development job postings. But don’t try to fake like you know them if you don’t, she cautions. “If you include a tech stack, or language on your resume, it’s fair game for an interviewer to ask you about it,” said Tang. “So you better be careful about how you include the language on your resume if you’ve only worked on it very briefly because otherwise, they’re going to potentially grill or test you on it.”

And while knowledge of coding is obviously important, there are also some soft skills recruiters look for in software developers, she said.

“We’re primarily looking for students or new grads who have the interest to grow within that industry, grow with the company, people who are trainable leaders and will eventually become long-term assets to the organization,” she said. “So people who are great communicators, team players and also demonstrate leadership qualities with an interest in tech.”

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Where the jobs are

Really, they’re everywhere a company has a website or digital operations. But if you want to go where they’re hot then your best bets are Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Toronto alone accounts for 26 per cent of the country’s tech talent and employment, and in 2018 saw $1.4 billion invested into its tech sector.

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But they aren’t the only hiring markets. Last month, Mphasis Ltd., a provider of IT outsourcing services, said it plans to create 500-1,000 tech jobs within the next two to three years in Calgary. Meantime, Edmonton is one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in Canada and Kitchener-Waterloo in Ontario is also an established tech hub. And when the Amazon (1,800 positions), Google, Shopify, Twitter and Pinterest jobs come on stream, there won’t be enough software developers in Canada.

Financial Post

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In-depth reporting on the innovation economy from The Logic, brought to you in partnership with the Financial Post.

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