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IT and Computing Careers in Canada

Most people agree that information technology careers are the wave of the future. According to Canada's Best Career Guide, "Careers hitched to computers are sizzling hot. There are 500-million computers in use worldwide and the number is growing by 20 percent annually. There are 20-million in Canada alone."

Author and business futurist Frank Feather predicts that computer-related jobs will explode by 40 percent or more. "Canadian companies will need another 50,000 computer engineers of various kinds by 2010 and the demand by American firms will be 500,000."

The majority of Information Technology jobs are in software engineering, network engineering, database administration and web development or production. Canada's Best Career Guide ranks programmer/analyst as the no. 3 job of the future, with other IT positions including database manager spread throughout the top 60.

According to Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) the unemployment rate for IT and computer graduates was significantly lower than the average and the lowest of the physical science programs. A solid 85 percent of undergraduates and 93 percent of Master's level grads were employed full-time compared to less than 80percent for the average from all fields of study.

The HRDC survey also showed that computer science graduates did not change jobs frequently. The majority of those employed as programmers or analysts two years after graduation were in the same jobs three years later, although some had become managers or administrators.

And career satisfaction seems to run high. HRDC's last published survey showed that 95 percent of IT and computer program graduates were satisfied with their work, with 78 percent saying their work directly matched their training.

Only 14 percent of computer and IT undergraduates thought they were overqualified for their work -- significantly lower than the 28 percent average -- however, 54 percent of Master's level graduates thought they were overqualified -- but even this was only slightly higher than the average at that level, which was 49 percent. Around 90 percent of computer and IT program graduates said they would make the same educational choice again.

HRDC predicts that the growth in demand for IT and computer personnel will exceed the supply, and that indications show that competition among new graduates for jobs will be weak. Canada's Best Careers Guide predicts that by 2010 more than nine million Canadians will be working with computers, and that 900,000 will be working directly in computer areas.

The "best bets" in computer and telecommunication careers according to Frank Feather are (in no particular order): website managers; database managers; data security officers; information officers; graphic designers, imaging specialists and animators; network technicians; systems analysts, integrators and engineers; programmers; software support experts; GIS specialists; cable and alarm installers; fibre-optic technicians; and wireless specialists.

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