Find a job in IT in Canada: how to retrain and what are the salaries

Find a job in IT in Canada: how to retrain and what are the salaries

If you want to change careers and start working in IT or advance your career in this field, this information is for you.

I talked to Luda, who works as a product manager at a company that deals with artificial intelligence. Luda told me how to find a job in Canada, whether it is possible to move from other countries, how much they pay for different positions, which professions are more in demand, how well you need to know English, and many other things. And also Luda shared some tips from her own experience. We asked subscribers to send in their questions and answered the most popular ones.

Is it possible to get a job without majoring in education just by completing courses in my country, or do I need to retrain in Canada?

In brief, you can. It really depends on the field and the position. Maybe if you don't have enough skills, you need to take additional training, but there is no course without which it is impossible to get a job.

Who is given preference: a Canadian citizen, a temporary resident, or a new immigrant?

There is no preference, as long as you have legal status in Canada. It is not important whether you are an immigrant or a citizen, but your experience and skills.

Is it true that Canadian companies do not work with employees from Russia?

There is no prejudice about nationality in Canada. If you are in Russia, there may be problems, but some companies relocate employees to other countries, or you can move yourself.

Where can I find out the volume of the working market by country or city?

The main source is LinkedIn. You can also look at Glassdoor.

Product— and project-managers: what is the difference?

The Product-manager is responsible for what the company has to develop, what kind of product. The project manager is responsible for how to do it: coordinating employees, planning tasks, setting deadlines, and so on. There are now more than 500,000 project managers and more than 100,000 product managers on LinkedIn across Canada, but there are the same number of openings for them: about 27,000 each. Nevertheless, in practice, project manager is a more "endangered" profession because companies are starting to replace them with technology.

What a product manager does:

  • sets the tasks for the programmers;
  • works with the marketing department when the product is ready and it's time to sell it;
  • communicates with users to understand their problem, what they need;
  • analyzes data and more.

What are the stages of interviews in Canadian companies?

First, you must have a quality resume written according to Canadian standards. The interview usually takes place in several stages:

  1. Screening with HR for 15-30 minutes. The recruiter makes sure you fit the position.
  2. An interview with the hiring manager, the employee whose team needs an employee. There are exceptions when a large company hires at once and then assigns them to projects.
  3. Interviews with colleagues or employees from parallel departments with whom you will be interacting. They see how well suited you are to work on their team.
  4. Interview with senior management — depending on the position.

There are fewer steps in smaller companies or if the company needs an employee right away. You may also skip some of the steps if you are recommended — for example, by a former or current employee of the company who knows you.

In addition to your skills themselves, so-called "soft skills" are very important. If you have problems with these, there is a high probability of rejection.

Is it true that data scientist jobs in Canada are only for senior level?

There is some truth here. It is not only possible to get a senior position, but some companies, such as startups, cannot afford to train an employee, they need a specialist. Large companies can often hire a person with a lower level for simple tasks. Often people who want to become a data scientist in the future come to a company as a data analyst and then move on to another role within the organization.

Do you work more remotely or in an office now?

Now they are more likely to work at home, although some companies are moving employees into offices, and a hybrid model of working some days at home and some days in the office has also emerged. But statistics show that about half of Canadians plan to change jobs immediately if a company forces them back into the office.

What salary can I count on in IT?

Average salaries can be seen on Glassdoor and Payscale. Examples (per year):

  • product manager — $90,000 CAD;
  • lead product manager — $116,000 CAD;
  • product director — $135,000 CAD;
  • tester — $60,000 CAD;
  • test automation specialist — $90,000 CAD.

You can be guided by these figures if you have an entry-level or intermediate level, then they are about the same as reality. Higher as well as unique positions earn higher than average.

Salaries are always given before taxes. Taxes depend on the province, it is about 25-30% of your salary, and the higher your income, the more you will give to the state.

Do Canadian companies often hire foreign employees and help with relocation?

In the field of IT in Canada right now there is a big shortage of employees, specialists are very valuable. Companies are ready to transport workers, but there are nuances, for example, the employer must prove that he has not found a suitable candidate in Canada, and everything is also complicated by the pandemic and the need to be vaccinated to enter the country. Therefore, it is unlikely that a foreigner will be hired for a junior position, while it is more likely to be hired for a more serious position. But there are companies that are actively recruiting people from other countries for various jobs, such as Amazon.

It is possible to immigrate through employment, but you should not consider it as a main option, it is better to look at immigration programs and try to get a permanent residence in Canada first, and then look for a job. You can start your search while you are still in your country, when you have already received confirmation of your status, but have not yet arrived in Canada.

If you are still looking for a job with relocation, it is better not just to look for vacancies, but to contact specific companies that often hire foreigners. Better yet, have someone recommend you to them.

Change of specialty in IT: at what age is possible, how to move from different professions to product-manager?

There are no age restrictions. Life expectancy is increasing, and in Canada it is becoming the norm that a middle-aged or even retired person can retrain for a new profession.

The most important thing is the desire. First, to work in Canada it is worth learn English, and second, analyze your skills and, if necessary, take training. It is possible to start by finding a remote job without being in Canada, or a contract job for a certain period.

If you already work in some kind of IT specialty, you can start studying the work of a product manager. It is not necessary to know thoroughly all the areas with which a product-manager interacts, it is enough to know them superficially. In general, in order to move into any profession from a related field, you should first understand what skills you already have and what you lack. It's helpful to even write these out. Most likely, something will have to be learned.

A good option is to switch within the same company. In most cases it is easier to do this than to quit your job and find work in a new specialty. You may have to take on extra responsibilities or do something for the company for a while, but you can find a way.

How much does it cost to study IT in Canada?

If you already have a permanent residence in Canada, you can find training for $2,000 — 3,000 CAD per year, not including accommodation. For foreigners it is much more expensive — from $15,000 CAD per year and even higher. The University of Waterloo is considered a good option for IT.

What is the minimum level of English?

It is not possible to work in Canada without English at all. If we are talking about product managers, the optimal level is C1 (Advanced), because specialists have to communicate a lot. Your accent is not important, but it is important to understand and be able to express your thoughts.

Alex Pavlenko, founder of Immigrant.Today

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