Fresh From Our Desk: What’s Hot In IT

Across Western Canada, the tech boom has given IT professionals a lot of choice in where they can work. The industry is rapidly evolving, with business needs changing, new technology launching, and start-ups taking off. IT job seekers often come to us curious about the hiring trends we are seeing and where the best opportunities lie.

Specialized IT Recruitment Consultant, Sebastian Glenn-Anderson, sat down with us to answer some questions and share his expertise on the topic. With many years of recruiting experience and a degree in Computer Information Systems, Sebastian is well versed in coaching candidates and setting them up for success.

Q. What changes are you seeing in IT recruitment?

S. Over the past year, whether I am dealing with hardware or software positions in Vancouver or beyond, there have been a few trends worth mentioning. First of all, there are great jobs out there, especially in Vancouver, where the tech boom affords some really interesting places to work. Some big names are making the move up here from San Francisco, Seattle and San Jose. But there is still a large number of small to medium sized firms that offer some really appealing alternatives to these tech giants. Secondly, there are a number of roles that are becoming increasingly valuable in organizations, namely, UI/UX Designers. This is not a new domain but is widely being recognized as a vital part of any product or service. The role bridges the gap between what a company wants to do with their product, and how a user wants that product to look and feel.

Q. Do the larger, big name companies offer more?

S. In some ways yes and in some ways no – it depends on what the candidate is looking for. Typically, the salary is a little higher and the benefits package is more comprehensive. However, there is a tendency to get into a very specific role which can lead to stunted growth in terms of skill set. Working in small to midsize companies is the preferred choice for a lot of engineers/developers/designers who like to bring their own ideas to the table. At a large firm, there are so many voices and they tend to have more hierarchical structures, so often talented people are unable to have their ideas heard. Regularly, the sacrifice for that higher salary is to let go of creative self-expression. The smaller firms are often more flexible in terms of technologies used and allowing their employees to use whatever language/framework/DB to get the job done right.

Q. What are some examples of the unique or innovative workstyles have you seen in small and mid-sized companies?

S. I recently met with a team that does not have an exact list of required technical skills. They believe that if you can grasp the underlying concepts of object-oriented programming, picking up the syntax of a language is quite simple. It allows the company to be flexible with their development by incorporating whatever languages and frameworks suit each project.

Another client has a great open office concept where the CTO, Director of IT and the development team share the same workspace. It allows the more junior staff a chance to be mentored and learn, while also offering them the opportunity to have input in a “best idea wins” environment.

Q. What advice do you have for individuals seeking to further their IT career?

S. First of all, I am not suggesting that big firms aren’t worth working for. I know people who are very satisfied at these types of organizations and enjoy the stability. However, for IT professionals who are ambitious, creative, entrepreneurial, and looking for flexibility, there is nothing better than joining a start-up. And even small/medium tech businesses that have been around for years are usually nimble enough to allow their IT professionals the scope to innovate.  I work with a lot of companies like this, and I find that the people I place there usually remain happy for a long time as they are able to advance their careers while following a “best idea wins” philosophy.