Becoming a Software Engineer

Software engineers are in high demand in Canada and work in fields such as data science and machine learning, infrastructure and cloud, mobile, and test and quality assurance. Those who wish to pursue a career in software engineering usually need a degree in Computer Science, Computer Programming, or a related field.

Programs and Degrees

Top ranking universities that offer Computer Science programs include the University of Calgary, University of Ottawa, and Simon Fraser University. The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa offers Computer Science programs with different specializations, including Data Science Option and Management and Entrepreneurship Option. Students explore a host of different topics such as algorithm design, distributed computing, computer graphics, artificial intelligence. The University of Calgary also features several degrees in Computer Science, including BA and BA Honours and BSc and BSc Honours. Students gain knowledge across a variety of topics such as programming style, modularization, algorithms for sorting and searching, information security, and many more. Simon Fraser University features a program in Computing Science which is designed for students who wish to pursue a career as a web developer or designer, interactive media developer, or software developer or engineer. Students are offered a wide selection of courses such as database systems, principles of computer design, and user interface design. They also explore topics such as computability and complexity, data structures, operating systems, and networking.

Other institutions that offer programs in Computer Science include the University of Waterloo, University of Alberta, University of Toronto, and University of British Columbia. The University of Toronto is a top choice of many young Canadians and ranks 22nd worldwide. The University of British Columbia ranks 28th and offers double majors, minors, honours, and other programs. The University of Waterloo ranks 33rd worldwide and 3rd in Canada.

Salary, Career Paths, and Major Employers

The median salary of software engineers is around $71,660. The total pay ranges from around $50,460 to $102,200, including profit sharing and bonuses. The majority of IT professionals also enjoy dental, medical, and vision health benefits. Salary ranges vary by location, years of experience, and skills and languages /i.e. JavaScript, SQL, C++, Python, etc./

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There are plenty of career options for engineering professionals, among which information technology manager, software architect, and software development manager. Other options are information technology consultant, software development director, and business analyst. Employment opportunities are also plentiful in Canada. Big tech companies operating in the country include Enghouse Systems, Points International, Mitel Networks, and Constellation Software. The OpenText Corporation is another company that is based in Ontario and offers solutions and services such as web content management, experience analytics, marketing optimization, and digital asset management.

Job Description and Responsibilities

Engineering professionals are tasked with programming and development, design, and installation of software solutions. They also develop documentation, layouts, and flowcharts to find working solutions and record applications' functionality. Software engineers also evaluate feedback and upgrade and debug existing solutions. They are tasked with developing multi-platform versions and systems' analysis to improve functionality. Employers usually look for qualifications and skills such as problem solving, software testing, documentation, design, programming. Additional requirements include analytical skills, web development skills, ability to work independently, and proficiency in JavaScript, Objective-C, and C++.

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The Importance of Teaching Canadian Kids to Program/Code

Teaching Canadian children how to code is investing in their future and helps them master essential skills.

Benefits for Children - Problem Solving, Logical Thinking

Coding helps improve computational thinking, boosts creativity, and enhances logical thinking. Children use conditional statements, iteration, and expressions that require logical thinking. Coding also helps boost creativity as there are countless possibilities to approach a problem and find a solution. Programming also helps develop problem solving skills. Researchers approach phenomena by developing and testing a hypothesis. Programmers also use hypotheses to fix bugs and errors and find the best solution. Other benefits for children are that coding helps enhance their algorithmic and structural thinking and math skills. It also improves structural thinking in that kids learn how to create games and apps by putting different elements together. This is precisely using different pieces and bits to create something big, equipping children with skills to enable them to see the big picture. Students master skills that go well beyond coding such as presentation skills, teamwork, and resilience and perseverance to build things from scratch.

Making Friends

Programming courses help meet other children and make friends. While some kids are into soccer, ballet, or skiing, not all children are. Courses offer great opportunities to work on a project together, have fun, and learn something new.

Career Opportunities

An obvious benefit is also the fact that computer science professionals are in high demand in Canada. Demand for software designers is high and growing in territories and provinces such as Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and British Columbia. The highest-paying jobs are in British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta. The salary ranges from $48,000 to $153,000 a year, and the average salary is $90,000. IT project managers are also in demand, and the average salary is $100,000 a year. Other career paths include professions such as user experience designer, web designer, information systems manager, web developer, and database and system administrator. The average salary of web developers is around $51,000 while the salary of system administrators is at around $58,540. Web designers are paid between around $33,550 and $63,300. Other hot positions include mobile developer, database developer, programmer analyst, and quality assurance analyst.

Programs for Children

Courses and programs are available to help children learn how to code without getting bored. Courses teach children how to use programming languages and create visual effects, animations, and games. Kids create clones of Pac-Man, Duck Hunt, Flappy Bird, War, and other games, design graphic user interfaces, draw shapes and spirals, and learn the basics of coding. Children create shorts and videos, code bots, and create models by using surface modelling and digital sculpting. Courses also help children to learn how to use functions, loops, and variables, create interactive applications, and modify and run programs. The goal is to teach children programming languages such as JavaScript, CSS, and HTML by making learning fun.

Teaching Kids to Code to Close the Gender Gap

With so many benefits for children, it is important to encourage both boys and girls to learn programming languages. In fact, only 30 percent of graduates in Information and Computer Science and Mathematics programs are women. Inequalities can be observed in the workforce as well. According to Statistics Canada in 2014, 42 percent of women worked for technical, scientific, and professional services. The median salary of female computer science and mathematics graduates is $54,900 while the median salary of male graduates is $60,800.

The good news is that many organizations and institutions in Canada actively work to close the gender gap, among which Dames Making Games, Chick Geek, and Ladies Learning Code. Canadian institutions such as Queens’s University, University of Waterloo, and Simon Fraser University have women in computer science organizations and groups that feature social events, outreach programs, workshops, and networking events.

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