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  • Steven Evraire
    April 23, 2012 - 09:40

    An additional problem is that in high school, a student can graduate without having taken even one IT course. None are mandatory; all are optional. Since Ontario did away with grade 13/OA year, there are far fewer choices that students have. By grade 10, they have to stream themselves into one area or another, and optional courses are falling by the wayside. Having said that, in a school with one or two "champion teachers", IT courses are thriving. Look at schools like Mother Teresa HS, Garneau, or Longfields-Davidson Heights as examples.

  • James
    April 09, 2012 - 15:31

    Frederic, I believe you should be reading the latest Canadian ICT Sector Profile. Since 2002, the number of workers in the computer system design industry has increased by 28,000 while it only grew by 16,500 in the whole ICT sector. Employment in the manufacturing industries has dropped by 17,000 during the same period. I'm not sure where ICTC gets it numbers, but ICT employment numbers for the last 10 years do not show the need for more ICT workers. I see the downturn in my field in 2005, two years out of the ICT field, lost the house, etc. Please don't try to paint a rosy picture of the ICT industry, with outsourcing, temp agencies, ICT sector layoffs. This is not the case. I have informed many parents, who ask me about there children getting in the ICT industry. I just tell them my life story and of a few of my co-workers. And inform them that Business degree is the way to go.

  • Frederic Boulanger
    March 29, 2012 - 10:21

    Pointing the problem is only one part of the story. There are efforts at works to reverse this trend. I suggest you do a follow up to discuss what is being done about it if you're not already on it. It's indeed correct to assume lots of parents have experienced the crash and are not encouraging their kids to enroll. A quick consulting with ICTC so they can share their numbers and perspectives and you will see that sky is the limit in the tech field. This is the message we need to get out, and people to grasp. I also suggest you speak with Invest Ottawa about their own initiatives that I have personally been a champion of, they will share with you very encouraging picture, anyway I'm personally pumped about what's in the works.

    • New Grad
      New Grad
      March 30, 2012 - 12:33

      Having just completed a degree in Computer Engineering with a minor in Business, I can say I've been through a lot of challenges. The first hurdle I came up against was high school. Yes, my high school provided opportunity for a student to grow a great foundation in computer sciences and engineering, but seemed to always push students towards the trades (carpentry, mechanics, electricians). In University, the largest challenge is the workload. You have to have discipline. I have seen many friends drop out of engineering even after the second year! Some drop out due to low grades and others just don't want to put in the effort. Don't forget tuition! It is on the higher end of the scale versus other undergraduate programs. Then there's you're career after you graduate. In Ottawa, I have found that some employers just don't pay new grads enough. I have a couple friends who make less than 50k per year (before benefits). That's not very high, especially if your job demands a lot from you. Engineers are normally on salary and work at least 40hrs per week, so there's no overtime pay. Couple this with the fact that the private IT industry tends to shed 10% of its employees each year means that job security is usually a concern. For a new grad, normally this 10% layoff doesn't worry you too much, but it's a factor any engineer should be aware of. Another factor engineers and IT professionals need to keep in mind is the global job market. We are now competing with people around the world. This is a huge factor! It affects jobs competition, salary, etc. Companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are also scooping up qualified new grads from Canada with incentives like higher salaries, bonuses, better work environments. For a country, like Canada, with an aging workforce this is a serious challenge for technology companies. Being a co-op mentor, I have always encouraged my engineering mentees to be choosy and why not? They deserve the right to choose. They've worked hard to get this far and employers should be working to attract good employees and keep them happy. This is a fantastic market for co-op students and they should take full advantage. This is a great industry to be in and it can be very rewarding, but issues with workload, pay and job security may turn people away. It is easy to see why others have no issue with getting a degree in business and going into management to get paid more for possibly the same amount of work. My interest in technology continues to fuel my passion and desire to innovate, which is why I am in this industry. I encourage others to do the same, but go in fully aware and armed with the knowledge of the challenges that await them.