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Information Technology Trends and Canadian Job Market
Engr Farrukh Saleem

Feb. 2003
Pakistan
in one of the top country from where majority of professionals is migrating to Canada. It includes, doctors, engineers, information technology professionals, lawyers, charted accountants, and trades people etc. Canada is very advanced in information technology in IT, yet immigrants IT professional are facing problems in getting related jobs.
There are  many underlying reasons not being able to get the right job. One of the major reason is changing faces and the new trend in information technology.  In this article we would like to highlights some of the major trends and other related issues to help our readers.
There is a trend towards companies reprogramming their entire systems from other  languages like COBOL , RPG etc. into C++ or Java. That is one of the reason why there is always a demand for C++ programmers. Companies are increasingly reprogramming their entire software into C++. Keeping it in one language makes it easier to maintain and upgrade the applications. Many products and systems use huge amounts of software, so there is a trend towards keeping it all in one language and making it easier to maintain and upgrade. In most high value products these days, it is the software source code that is the most valuable part of the product. Making the physical product is very easy, but the software is the hard bit. The software does a lot of work in modern high value products. Protecting the source code and ensuring that it is initially designed to be easy to maintain and upgrade is very important. So if you have been involved in COBOl and RPG, this is the time to update your knowledge in C++, and Java. This additional knowledge open doors for you enter in IT field in
Canada.
These days there is also a trend towards companies moving away from COBOL programming and main frames to using Sun Solaris boxes with a UNIX operating system as servers, with an oracle or some other database. Companies are spending a lot of money on down sizing. Usually companies hire software consultants to assist them in down sizing and migrating every thing over onto Solaris boxes. Other companies also use servers running Line, Apache, php, and run a MYSQL database.
A lot of companies use Oracle Designer to help them design new databases and assist them with generating documentation. It speeds up the process of generating documentation.
Oracle Developer gets used to assist in generating Oracle Forms. A lot of companies use Oracle Forms as the interface for database applications. Oracle forms are used to generate the interface that allows users to add information and retrieve information from the Oracle database.
For the Web interface, Oracle Portal gets used to generate the web interface to allow the data in the oracle database to be viewed or input over the internet. Oracle Portal automatically generates the PL/SQL that then dynamically generates the HTML code that allows people to access the information over the internet. But Oracle Portal and forms are not very flexible.
In place of PL/SQL you could also use JSP. JSP is increasingly used to dynamically generate the HTML, XML, WML, DHTML etc. to allow the content of databases to be made accessible over the internet and on mobile phones. You could use Macro Media UltraDev 4 to generate a lot of the JSP code for you. Once it has done that, you could edit or expand it your self. JSP could be used with any database that could support JDBC.  Photoshop gets used to generate the images that go into the web pages.  Some times VRML also gets used for 3D effects. (In applications that require 3D special effects Softimage and 3D Studio Max are used to generate the 3D animation.)
Apache is the most popular web server so it is worth learning how to use, install and administer Apache. Most web servers have a Unix or a Linux operating systems because they are stable.
When companies merge they usually have different databases and IT systems that also need to be merged. In some cases RMI in Java gets used to interface the legacy databases. Or the data in one database is migrated over to another newer database.
Developing the skills for writing reports, business plans, market research reports, documentation, bidding reports for winning projects, requirements reports, specifications reports, service level agreements, system analysis reports, systems architecture reports and diagrams, database diagrams maintenance reports is also very important. If you can not win a bid and get the project, you could not develop it. So you first have to learn to write reports, and deal with customers.

Job Market

There is a growing trend in the market to outsource the work instead of keeping a regular IT staff. This is the reason that number of consulting firms are increasing these days. Around 40% of the top IT professionals do not have a degree in computing or IT. They have picked up their skills by reading books, practice, experience, working in the IT sections of companies, by playing with computers at home and by learning new skills on their own. Most leading companies are not interested in what degree you have.
They just want people ´who could do the job’. They are only interested in getting the job done, ensuring that the software that is developed is reliable, robust, well structured and programmed, with good comments and documentation and it works and they could make a good profit and gain a very favourable return on investment. So it is best to learn new skills and gain knowledge in specialist high demand, high wage areas at home in your spare time and when you are ready apply for a suitable job where you could gain more practical experience.

Knowledge Updating

Try to update you knowledge by attending short program or by self learning process. Many colleges and universities have their notes on the internet these days. There are some very good learning resources out there. Examining boards also have very good material. It is best to find out about a course from an examining boards web site and then search for its notes on the many universities and colleges websites by putting the name and number of the course into google and doing a search.
A lot of knowledge of local IT job market could be gained by looking at job advertisements. It will allow you to structure your career so that you learn the most relevant technologies and that you gain the right skills to work in the sector you want to work in. It is best to look at the job adverts before you start you studies.
These are just the few tips which can improve your chances getting into the Canadian IT job market.
                                           

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