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  1. #1
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    Job market for programmers in western Canada?

    I was wondering if knowledgeable people could advise me on what the job market is like for programmers in Alberta and BC, and which areas have the best opportunities. I am looking specifically for programming jobs, not IT. I will be graduating with my bachelor's in computer science in half a year, and I intend to move to western Canada. There are not many good trails here in southwestern Ontario, this place is really flat and I hate a lot of other things about it too. If I could move somewhere in southern Alberta or BC (especially somewhere close to Whistler) that would be great, but it appears there are no jobs for computer science graduates in that area. From my own research, the only place I found job opportunities was in Fort McMurray, Alberta, but that is way up north so I imagine there is not that much riding going on there due to the long cold winters.

  2. #2
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    Superdude - there are PILES of hi-tech jobs in BC. There's quite a boom going on.
    www.bctechnology.com - go to the careers section
    Vancouver is the place for you - there are lots of great hi-tech companies to work for. I just spent the last 10 years in van before moving to the interior of bc.
    you'll find about 20 programming jobs in about 10 minutes

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superdude
    I was wondering if knowledgeable people could advise me on what the job market is like for programmers in Alberta and BC, and which areas have the best opportunities. I am looking specifically for programming jobs, not IT. I will be graduating with my bachelor's in computer science in half a year, and I intend to move to western Canada. There are not many good trails here in southwestern Ontario, this place is really flat and I hate a lot of other things about it too. If I could move somewhere in southern Alberta or BC (especially somewhere close to Whistler) that would be great, but it appears there are no jobs for computer science graduates in that area. From my own research, the only place I found job opportunities was in Fort McMurray, Alberta, but that is way up north so I imagine there is not that much riding going on there due to the long cold winters.
    Calgary - I hear dotnet, VB (not sure about Java) etc are in big demand here right now.
    check monster.com, careerclick.com, other search engines.

  4. #4
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    what kind of languages are you into? I am a database developer/admin in Calgary, and developers are in big demand this year. I am a total microsoft guy (.net, sql server), but there is certainly oracle/java around as well. Check out monster, workopolis, working.com for postings.

    Also, look at getting in with a recruiter, like sisystems.com which are really big in Calgary. When I came here 6 years ago from Etobicoke, I got in with a few recruiters and found a job in 3 weeks. This of course was before the IT slump that occured in the early 2000s, but today the job market is back and better than ever.

    If you have any more questions, I'll be glad to help if I can

  5. #5
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    So there are lots of jobs for me in the west... That sounds great. Here in Ontario there are too few programming jobs and too many people fighting over them, so new comp-sci grads usually have to take non-programming jobs like tech support and hope to move up to programming in a few years.

    I've never dealt with a recruiter. What are they like?

    As for what language I'm interested in, I have no preference. As a new grad I have no real work experience in any language, so anything I get will be fine.

  6. #6
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    stay away from recuiter's. Use the Calgary yellow pages, and Cagary Hearld Saturday has a careers section,

  7. #7
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    I had good luck with the recruiters in Calgary. I was subcontracted through Maxis (no not the tire guys!) and have nothing but good things to say about them, sure they marked up my services by 100%, but who doesn't? I still get emails from the head hunters in Cowtown looking for developers.

    Should have no trouble finding work in Calgary, and the riding around and IN town is great. Shame about the housing market though, hopefully rents haven't followed the bubble up.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    stay away from recuiter's. Use the Calgary yellow pages, and Cagary Hearld Saturday has a careers section,
    yeah for the most part I agree. I have always been a full-time guy, and am not interested in being a contractor so i don't deal with recruiters too often. overall I don't like dealing with them with even trying to find full-time work, but they do their job well - submit you for jobs otherwise not posted, and negotiate a good sign-on.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superdude
    Here in Ontario there are too few programming jobs and too many people fighting over them, so new comp-sci grads usually have to take non-programming jobs like tech support and hope to move up to programming in a few years.
    even in the GTA? or is it Ottawa? that's weird to hear; i would figure ontario would be booming for programmers as well; not just the west. markham and mississauga must be in need for juniors, no? there are so many companies there.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcolin
    even in the GTA? or is it Ottawa? that's weird to hear; i would figure ontario would be booming for programmers as well; not just the west. markham and mississauga must be in need for juniors, no? there are so many companies there.
    Toronto and Ottawa are pretty much the only cities you can find programming work in Ontario. I guess if you have a lot of experience in some extremely specialized skill then you might have a chance in other places too, but a recent grad with no experience such as myself is unlikely to find any work in any small city. Oh well, I'd rather live in western Canada anyways.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superdude
    Toronto and Ottawa are pretty much the only cities you can find programming work in Ontario. I guess if you have a lot of experience in some extremely specialized skill then you might have a chance in other places too, but a recent grad with no experience such as myself is unlikely to find any work in any small city. Oh well, I'd rather live in western Canada anyways.
    yeah true - that's why i moved out of ontario as well. sick of living in toronto, didn't want to move to ottawa, and those are about your only choices in ontario for programmers. good luck on the search.

  12. #12
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    Client of mine with medium size outfit in Kamloops needs dotnet programmers.
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  13. #13
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    just thought i would bring this topic back up for anyone in .net wanting to work in whistler here

    if i was a bit more mobile (ie no wife) i would be all over this - i'm guessing that wage might not get you too far in whistler, but who cares...

  14. #14
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    I agree, there's a lot of software jobs in BC. Vancouver is a major software hotspot for game development. There's tons of video game developers here, but I wouldn't recommend applying for a position at any of them until you've got some experience in developing software within another industry. You might look at scoring a progamming gig with IBM, Telus, Creo, Raytheon, any of the major corporations that offices here first. Because of the super high stress factor associated with game dev, we don't prefer to hire noobs or people with little practical programming experience; mainly just cuz there's not enough time to train anyone.
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    I was under the impression that game developers prefered recent college grads because they are usually young and single and childless so they are less likely to object to working long hours. There was a major fuss about how Electronic Arts was making its programmers work very long hours without overtime pay. Here is the story: http://ea-spouse.livejournal.com/274.html

  16. #16
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    Yeah, the whole EA Spouse thing... that's specific to a studio in the southwest US. It's true that EA generally prefers single individuals, but people without experience are sort of useless. You can't make really good video games if you've never done it before. We'll hire college grads for internships, co-ops, and remedial engineering tasks like script work for builds, cleaning up a GUI, etc. They're not very well paid either. As a programmer, I expect to be paid well for my skills. I came to EA as an experienced individual and they treat me well, as any professional organization should. We almost made a mountain biking video game once, but it got shelved for some reason a few years ago.

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