When you considered immigrating to Canada, you may not have considered the challenges of recognizing your credentials in information technology and finding a job in the field.
You may have arrived in Canada with many years of practical experience and internationally recognized professional qualifications. But after your first job interview, you probably realize that Canadian experience and international credentials are the obstacles you will have to overcome to find a job in IT. After sending dozens of resumes, browsing job websites time and time again, and after participating in a series of interviews, the world can get quite depressing.
But there is help. The following steps, taken from experience, will help you overcome obstacles and find the IT job you are looking for in Canada.
It is very important to find your profession or job title before you start the job search. Some professions have different names in Canada than in other countries. Visit the Human Resources and Skills Development website to compare your occupation to the National Occupational Classification.
Most IT professionals need the following skills to work in Canada:
• Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related discipline, or college program in computer science.
• Several years of experience in the IT industry.
• A master’s or doctoral degree with supervisory experience, if you are applying for management and engineering positions.
Some IT professionals may require special certification provided by software vendors (Microsoft, Oracle, Etc.). Requirements vary by employer. Here is a list of some professions that may require certification, education or a special license:
• IT / IT / system consultant
• IT / Business / Security / GIS / QA Analyst
• Systems auditor
• A database administrator (DBA)
• Database analyst/architect
• Computer engineers/technicians (hardware)
Get help and advice related to your career. Connect with IT professionals in your community and share their experiences.
Connect with professional organizations that help newcomers gain the Canadian experience, IT credentials and certifications you need.
Residents of Ontario can benefit from various programs sponsored by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. The following programs offer bridging opportunities:
• Linking internationally trained IT professionals to jobs in Ontario is a program offered by the Faculty of Arts and Liberal Sciences at York University. It offers internationally trained IT professionals linguistic, intercultural and technical training specific to the profession. Mentorship opportunities are also available.
• Accessible Community Consultation and Employment Services (ACCES) Information Technology Connection provides internationally trained information technology professionals with job-specific communication training and mentorship opportunities.
• The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) Canada, Inc., Work Experience Integration Strategy is a program that provides training in workplace culture and communications, as well as Mentorship and work placement opportunities for internationally trained IT professionals.
• .NET solutions for internationally trained IT professionals. This program, offered by the Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, helps internationally trained professionals with computer programming experience find employment in their field. The program includes training in job-specific language, culture and workplace communications, as well as effective job search strategies. Participants will also have access to mentoring opportunities.
• Navigating the Canadian IT Workplace – Career Transition Training for Internationally Trained IT Professionals (Ottawa) helps internationally trained IT professionals to transition to equivalent careers in Canada. It covers training in computer terminology in the workplace, networking and communication skills, work placements of various durations, referrals to employment and informal meetings with the potential employer.
Despite Canadian credentials, many organizations have their internal recruitment process to select the right candidate. The recruitment criteria are mainly dictated by the pressing need for a set of IT skills and their availability on the market. Many organizations prefer to hire internationally qualified IT professionals for entry-level jobs that compromise Canadian credentials where the employee and the employer are both in a win-win position.
Gulzar Rizvi has been serving the information technology industry for over 30 years and has earned recognition as a leader, trainer and gifted coach of his peers, managers and internationally renowned technology organizations such as Microsoft and Oracle. He has travelled extensively in South Asia, the Middle East, and North America while serving the healthcare, finance, insurance, manufacturing warehousing and distribution sectors for the public and public sectors.