Are you interested in continuing your software developer career in Canada? The IT industry in Canada is robust and expanding. With its reputation as a technology leader, Canada stands out as one of the best countries globally for building a software developer career. Software developers are a high-demand occupation in Canada. In May 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) included this STEM occupation in Canada’s first-ever launch of category-based selection for Canada’s Express Entry system. There is a plethora of job opportunities available, and software developer salaries are attractive. This helpful overview provides information to help you research the profession, understand software developer job requirements, explore salaries in Canada, and more!
Typically, most software development positions in Canada require a university degree or college diploma, coupled with relevant work experience in a specialized field. While most software jobs are not regulated in Canada, many employers do require professional IT and software certifications, depending on the specific job requirements.
One of the great aspects of working in software development is the openness of Canadian employers to hire immigrants and newcomers. To ensure your eligibility, it is crucial to follow the appropriate steps.
- How to Immigrate to Canada as a Software Developer
- What to Expect When Pursuing a Software Developer Career in Canada
- Requirements to Become a Software Developer in Canada
- Upgrading Your Skills to Meet Software Developer Job Requirements
- Bridging Programs for Software Developer Careers in Canada
- Software Developer Schools in Canada
- Software Developer Associations in Canada
- How Much Do Software Developers Make in Canada?
- Best Provinces to Work in Canada as a Software Developer Based on Salary & Lifestyle
- Pursuing a Software Developer Career in Canada
- How to Find Your First Software Developer Job in Canada
How to Immigrate to Canada as a Software Developer
Before You Move to Canada to Pursue a Software Developer Career
The steps to secure a software developer job in Canada vary depending on your chosen career path. So, it’s vital to research the specific requirements for the job you aspire to. For instance, if your goal is to work as an app developer, you should research job requirements for software app developers in Canada.
To enhance your chances of finding a software developer job in Canada, there are general steps you can take even before your arrival:
- Attend the free Job Search Strategies and Techniques webinar to learn more about the job market in Canada.
- Take an online Canadian Language Benchmarks self-assessment to assess your language skills.
- Improve your English or French language skills (depending on your destination province). You will need to prove your language competency or be tested.
- Take language classes while you’re in your home country and continue them when you arrive in Canada.
- Understand how to practice your job in Canada and become familiar with the laws and legislation that govern it in the province where you will settle.
- Know the name of your job in Canada and learn about the specific software developer job requirements in Canada.
- Look into certification requirements and skill development options if you need to upgrade.
- Research software developer salaries and compensation information.
- Research Canadian companies and join software development groups on LinkedIn to learn about the industry in Canada.
What to Expect When Pursuing a Software Developer Career in Canada
In Canada, there are many software developer career paths with distinct qualification requirements. So, it’s important to understand how your international qualifications meet Canadian standards. Additionally, gaining insights into the Canadian labour market and workplace culture is important. Understanding the job market and employment outlook will help you to set realistic job search expectations.
Employment Outlook for Software Developer Jobs in Canada
Over 200,000 people work in software development in Canada. Even so, according to the Government of Canada Job Bank, they forecast a labour shortage from 2022-2031. This means there will be job opportunities for newcomers with skills, experience, and qualifications.
Start Your Research with the Software Developer NOC Code
The National Occupational Classification (NOC) provides a general overview and standard definition of software developer careers in Canada. The five-digit NOC code 21232 applies to:
- Software developers
- Software programmers
- Software development project managers
- Application programmers
- E-business software developers
- Multimedia developers
- Interactive media developers
- Computer game developers
You can review this information to understand the main duties and employment requirements.
Requirements to Become a Software Developer in Canada
To work as a software developer in Canada, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software development, app development, computer systems engineering, or software engineering. Alternatively, completion of a college program in computer science may also be accepted. In some cases, employers may require candidates to hold a master’s or doctoral degree in a related field. However, if you plan to work as a software engineer, you must be a Professional Engineer (P. Eng.) and obtain a license to practice from a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers. Software engineers belong to a regulated profession in Canada.
Credential Recognition to Meet Software Developer Job Requirements in Canada
There are several agencies in Canada that assess international education credentials to help newcomers access education and employment opportunities. In Canada, software developers belong to a non-regulated profession in Canada. However, some employers may require specific IT certifications to be eligible for software developer jobs.
If you want to apply to a college or university to upgrade your skills, you may need an education evaluation. But, before you pay for an education evaluation, contact the school that you’re applying to and find out what steps to follow and what credential assessment agency to use. Some schools request that you use a specific agency. So taking this step can save you time and money.
It’s vital to emphasize your international education and skills for an education evaluation. Expand upon your existing knowledge and abilities and thoroughly explore university and college options before deciding if further education is necessary. Leverage your international credentials and experience to seek credit or course exemptions. You may have the opportunity to gain advanced standing, transfer certain credits, and benefit from prior learning assessment options. These avenues will enable you to complete your program faster, and avoid unnecessary expenses for education you have already completed.
Credential Assessment Services
Some of the assessment credential services in Canada include:
To find more assessment services here.
Upgrading Your Skills to Meet Software Developer Job Requirements
You may need to upgrade your skills, especially your soft skills, to meet software developer job requirements in Canada.
Canadian employers look for friendly and assertive professionals with strong communication skills. They also look for people who will fit into their workplace culture and will become leaders over time. In the IT field, they expect employees to have a strong understanding of the business in addition to the technical aspects of the job. They encourage employees to upgrade their existing skills and acquire new skills.
Language Training for Software Developers in Canada
Having strong skills in one or both of Canada’s official languages – English or French – is important for career success. Whether you choose to focus on improving English or French will depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you live.
You may be eligible for the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Or you can find other free or affordable classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) classes through local school boards or settlement agencies.
Bridging Programs for Software Developer Careers in Canada
Bridging programs help people with international software development education and experience meet Canadian industry qualifications. Here are some newcomer bridging programs to explore:
- GO Talent: Global Onboarding of Talent
- Algoma University: Computer Science Collaborative Online Bridging Program
- York University: Bridging Program for Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs)
- ACCES Employment: IT Connections: Digital Economy Connections
- Humber College: Bridging Program .NET Developer
- Humber College: IT Infrastructure Bridging Program
- Bredin Centre for Learning: Centre for Skilled and Internationally Trained Professionals
Software Developer Schools in Canada
Continuing your education is a great way to progress in your career in Canada. And, many Canadian colleges and universities offer software development programs. These schools offer software development programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels:
Software Developer Associations in Canada
Professional associations can be a valuable resource to help you advance your software developer career. The following associations provide information about licensure and certification and offer professional development, education, and networking opportunities.
Professional immigrant networks are organized, volunteer-run member-based networks created by and for immigrants to:
- create a forum to contribute to and enrich their respective communities; and
- provide opportunities for their members to find meaningful employment and achieve their professional goals.
These networks offer mentoring, information sessions, professional development, workshops, speaker events, and connections to jobs. Here are a few examples:
- isans: Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia: isans helps newcomer professionals integrate economically and socially in Nova Scotia.
- Hispanotech.ca: They bring together Hispanics in Canada’s technology markets, help them enter the workforce, and recognize their contributions to the technology field.
For information, tools, free webinars, and more visit our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. Get the help you need to achieve your career goals in Canada!
How Much Do Software Developers Make in Canada?
Software developer salaries can vary significantly based on your level of experience, job title, and location. According to the Government of Canada Job Bank, the median hourly software developer salary is $40.38. The median software developer salaries can range from $23.60 to $58.97 per hour.
Software Developer Salary in Canada
Alberta has the highest earning potential. Your hourly software developer salary could be up to $64.90 per hour. British Columbia and Ontario also have hourly software developer salaries that can reach $60 or more. Here are the most recent software developer salary numbers in Canada (as of November 2022):
|Newfoundland and Labrador
|Prince Edward Island
Best Provinces to Work in Canada as a Software Developer Based on Salary & Lifestyle
Like other IT careers, you can find software developer jobs in most Canadian cities, however, the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa offer the highest concentration of jobs. One potential advantage of working in software development is the opportunity to work remotely.
Other cities to consider for software developer jobs include, Markham, Kitchener-Waterloo, Montreal, and Vancouver. Montreal is the heart of the gaming industry in Canada and Vancouver has many companies in the commercial/entertainment development sector. Markham is the second-largest tech cluster in Canada.
Pursuing a Software Developer Career in Canada
To continue your software developer career in Canada, there are many avenues to explore, provided you possess the academic credentials, work experience, and a clear plan to work in your desired location.
Software Developer Employers in Canada
There are about 45,000 companies in the Canadian IT sector, according to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. 91% of these companies are in the software and computer services industries.
Some of the top software development companies in Canada include:
- Altus Group
- OpenText Corporation
- CGI Inc.
- Descartes Systems Group Inc.
- Constellation Software Inc.
You can also learn about Canadian companies by visiting Canada’s Best Diversity Employers website. These employers have been recognized for diversity, inclusion, and equity programs in the workplace.
How to Find Your First Software Developer Job in Canada
How you search for a software developer job will change based on your chosen career path. The job market in Canada is competitive for software developer careers. Here are tips to help you find your first job in Canada.
Job Search Techniques for Software Developers
You may need help with your job search, especially since finding a job in Canada may be different than in your home country. Fortunately, there are settlement services to help you search for jobs, update your resume, write cover letters, and prepare for job interviews.
There are many ways to search for software developer jobs in Canada:
- Broaden your search and include cities across Canada, alternative careers, and companies outside the sector, as most will have IT departments.
- Join job-finding or networking groups in the software development sector through settlement agencies.
- Attend career/job fairs, info sessions, and related conferences.
- Browse online jobboards to understand job requirements and current skills that employers are seeking.
- Volunteer to gain Canadian work experience.
- Seek out a mentor who could give you valuable advice and introduce you to their professional network.
Click here to find immigrant services in your area.
Networking for Software Developer Careers
Networking plays a crucial role in finding jobs and gaining insights into companies and the IT industry in Canada. Often, many companies do not advertise job vacancies, so networking is an effective way to tap into this ‘hidden job market.’ Connecting with fellow software developers can help you discover jobs in the hidden job market.
Conferences, association events, and social mixers are great venues to network and meet other professionals, build relationships, and exchange information.
LinkedIn is another valuable tool for networking. It allows you to reconnect with former colleagues and employers, search for companies and job openings, and receive introductions to professionals in the field. Joining relevant software development groups and participating in group discussions can further expand your network.
When networking, it’s better if you avoid asking directly for a job. However, if your contacts are aware of any job leads, they will likely share that information with you. Your network can serve as a valuable resource to learn about software development jobs in Canada.
Informational Interviews Can Help You Learn About Software Developer Job Requirements
Initiate contact with people who work in software companies and organizations that align with your career interests. Politely inquire if they would be open to connecting you with someone in the company who works in your field of expertise. Once connected, reach out to that individual, and request to meet with them at their convenience.
By meeting with others in the industry, you’ll expand your professional network, gain valuable insights into their company, and develop your understanding of software job requirements in Canada. It’s important to note that the purpose of an informational interview is not to secure a job, but rather to assess whether a specific position or employer aligns with your skills, experience, and interests.
An informational interview with a contact from your network can serve as a valuable source of career information. In addition to gaining insights about the software development industry, you will also benefit from their firsthand work experiences and guidance for your career path.
Resume Writing Tips
When crafting your resume, it’s helpful to keep the needs of hiring managers in mind. Your resume should demonstrate your ability to participate in project planning activities, collaborate effectively within a team, and engage in peer reviews to achieve common goals.
Additionally, emphasize your ability to design, develop, and release software updates for products. Consider these resume writing tips to showcase your qualifications and stand out as a strong candidate:
- Highlight both your technical skills and soft skills such as teamwork, leadership, and communication skills.
- Ask someone to review your resume and provide constructive input.
Here are some examples of phrases that you might include in your resume:
- Develop and analyze technical designs and requirements to fulfill functional specifications.
- Review programming code to ensure adherence to software development standards.
- Adapt to evolving technologies by acquiring and applying new methodologies to achieve organizational objectives.
- Provide technical support to maintain network and application stability, and promptly address user issues.
Interview Techniques for Software Developer Jobs in Canada
Software developers have diverse roles and can work in many fields, which means that preparing for a software development job interview will depend on the specific position you are seeking.
When applying for software developer positions, employers expect candidates to have relevant experience and demonstrate their software development skills. This may involve presenting a portfolio of your work as part of the application process. This is a good strategy to set yourself apart from other candidates and showcase your skills and accomplishments in a tangible way.
In addition to bringing your portfolio to the interview, you can also provide the interviewer with a link to your portfolio beforehand. This allows the interviewer to review your work in advance, fostering a deeper understanding of your capabilities. During the interview, you can discuss your portfolio projects and achievements and highlight your expertise and suitability for the position. Highlighting your practical experience and technical expertise can enhance your chances of securing a job offer.
Interested in learning more about working in Canada? Check out our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. We can help you achieve your career goals in Canada.