Help for internationally-trained IT professionals

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When you planned on immigrating to Canada, you might not have considered the challenges of getting your Information Technology credentials recognized and finding a job in the field.

You may have arrived in Canada with several years of hands-on experience and internationally-recognized professional qualifications. But after your first job interview, you probably realize that Canadian experience and international credentials are the stumbling blocks you’d have to overcome to find employment in IT. After sending out dozens of résumés, browsing job websites over and over, and going to a series of interviews, you may find the world becoming pretty depressing.

But there is help. The following steps, gathered from experience, will help you to overcome the obstacles, and find the IT job you’re looking for in Canada.

Step 1:

It is very important to find your specific occupation or job title before initiating the job hunt. Some occupations have different names in Canada than they do in other countries. Visit the website of Human Resources and Skills Development to map your occupation against the National Occupational Classification.

Most IT professionals require the following qualifications to work in Canada:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related discipline, or a college program in computer science.
  • Several years of experience in the IT industry.
  • A Master’s degree or Doctorate with supervisory experience, if you’re applying for management and engineering positions.

Some IT professionals may require special certification provided by software vendors (Microsoft, Oracle, Etc.). Requirements vary, depending on employers. The following is a list of some occupations that may require special certification, education or licensing:

  • Informatics/ IT/System consultant
  • Computer Systems/Business/Security/MIS/QA Analyst
  • Systems Auditor
  • Database Administrator (DBA)
  • Database Analyst/Architect
  • Computer Engineers/Technicians (Hardware)

Step 2:

Get career-related help and guidance. Establish contact with IT professionals within your community and share their experience.

Step 3:

Establish contact with professional organizations that help newcomers to acquire the Canadian experience, IT credentials and certifications that you need.

Ontario residents can benefit from various programs sponsored by The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. The following programs provide bridge training opportunities:

  • Bridging Internationally Educated IT Professionals into Ontario Jobs is a program offered by the Faculty of LIberal Arts and Science at York University. It provides internationally trained information technology professionals with occupation-specific language, cross-cultural and technical training. Mentorship opportunities are also available.
  • Accessible Community Counseling and Employment Services (ACCES), Information Technology Connections provides internationally trained information technology professionals with occupation-specific communications training and mentoring opportunities.
  • Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) Canada, Inc., Integrated Work Experience Strategy Ontario is a program which offers workplace culture and communications training, along with mentoring and work placement opportunities for internationally trained information technology 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 jobs in their field. The program includes training in occupation-specific language, workplace culture and communications, as well as effective job search strategies. Participants will also have access to mentoring opportunities.
  • Navigating the Canadian IT Workplace – Career Bridge Training for Internationally Trained IT Professionals (Ottawa) assists internationally trained professionals in IT to make the transition to equivalent careers in Canada. It covers IT Workplace Terminology Training, Networking and Communication Skills, Professional Job Placements of Various Lengths and Job Referrals and Information Meetings with Prospective Employer. Details available from Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre, Ottawa and website.

Despite the Canadian credentials, many organizations have their internal recruitment process to select the right candidate. The recruitment criteria are mostly driven by the pressing need of an IT skill-set and its availability in the market. Many organizations prefer to hire internationally qualified IT professionals for entry level jobs compromising Canadian credentials where employee and employer both are in a win-win position.

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