Friday, July 22, 2011

The Inside Scoop on IT Jobs in Toronto

According to Stats Canada, over the month of June 2011, there were 28,000 new jobs created in Canada versus 18,000 new jobs created in the United States. In a recent quarterly survey, the Bank of Canada reported that 57% of Canadian companies surveyed are looking to hire over the next year. These stats are great news for the Canadian workforce, and particularly exciting if you are involved in the IT sector of Silicon Valley North, a.k.a. the tech hub of downtown Toronto.

Tech startups in Toronto experiencing fast growth
As an IT staffing agency in Toronto, we have the pleasure of seeing many startups reaching lift-off status, first-hand. Many of our clients recently ranked on Deloitte's radar, and one company was recently acquired by a prominent game manufacturer:
  • Nexj Systems: placed fourth on Deloitte's 2010 Canadian Technology Fast 50 Ranking. Out of the 50 companies on this list, 11 were from Toronto.

  • Polar Mobile: was awarded Deloitte's 2010 Companies-to-Watch award. Out of the list of 10 companies, 4 were from Toronto.

  • Five Mobile: a mobile development company from Toronto, was recently purchased by Zynga, a social game development company, for an undisclosed amount. They are now known as 'Zynga Toronto.'

Access to refunds and tax credits make Toronto attractive to tech start ups
Part of the reason tech business is booming in Toronto is due to a government initiative called the Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) program. SR&ED provides millions of dollars in cash refunds and/or tax credits for small business expenditures on research and development work done in Canada. Companies such as Polar Mobile are happy to take advantage of these credits rather than outsource work to India or China, creating job opportunities for local technology professionals.

Lucrative tech careers at the moment
It's great to see companies investing in local talent, and it's great to see that IT professionals have more options today. Many developers and programmers we've placed are reluctant to take contract positions for less than three months as they know their services are in high demand at the moment, and they're right for thinking this way. It's a profitable time to be in an IT profession.

To give you a range of salaries for hot tech jobs in Toronto at the moment:
  • Mobile App Developers: We're seeing people with J2ME skills, Objective C, and Android developer skills that have been placed at companies for an average salary of 60k+ starting salary as a Jr. Developer, and upwards of 80+ with about 5 years experience. These developer skills are in high demand at the moment.

  • M-commerce or Mobile Commerce: Experience with this as a developer will easily net 70k+. Leading companies in this field include PayPal, Square (started by Twitter Founder, Jack Dorsey), and local Toronto company, EnStream.

  • Object Oriented Programming Skills in Banking or Software (OO): These skills almost guarantee you are going to get a job in Toronto right now. With 5-7 years experience, you could earn an average of 60-75k a year.

  • Banking Skills in Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Business Analyst Derivatives, or Derivatives Programming: This area of IT is experiencing a lot of growth right now. You can net about 80k+ with less than 5 years experience at the moment.

  • Regulation Processes (Sarbanes Oxley & Basel I, II, III): This is another growing market. This is quite an advanced field in Canada at the moment, so if you go into this profession, it's not unusual that you would be asked to travel all over the world.

If you're in college or university at the moment, and you want to make money quickly out of school, one of the jobs mentioned above might be just what you're looking for. Whether you're just entering the workforce as an IT professional, you've built a startup, or you're part of an established company, this is an exciting time to be part of Silicon Valley North.

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Written by:
Tim Collins, President and Owner, Stafflink Solutions

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Future of IT

My daughter is 6 months old. When I was her age, my favourite toy was a stuffed Bert from Sesame Street. Not my daughter, though. She was born with a passion for technology. The first time she crawled, it was to get to my iPad 2. Forget about toys, she wants to play with cellphones, iPads and any kind of digital gadget she can get her tiny hands on.

I recently read a tweet from CEO of Polar Mobile, Kunal Gupta, who mentioned, "your children are in two states...sleeping or online," and I couldn't agree more. Born into a culture of technology, it's no wonder our kids are so tech-savvy.

Growing up, my first computer was a Commodore 64, and I dreamed of colour graphics and not needing 9 floppy disks to run a program. Computers today run on terabyte hard drives and are much more advanced, allowing kids access to technology, information and opportunities to learn that in my time simply didn't exist.

One such opportunity is an elite camp known as Shad Valley, a summer enrichment program for students currently enrolled in or finishing high school. Open to both Canadian and international students, Shad takes a passion for technology and fuels it into a prominent and driven career path. Students spend a month living on campus at one of the host university campuses across Canada, studying business, science, math, engineering, technology, and entrepreneurship. Some of the top young CEO's and founders of technology companies have attended this camp.

In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell speaks of the rule of 10 thousand hours. He believes after 10 thousand hours of practice or study on a particular topic, you become an expert. Imagine the potential our children will have if they become experts in technology while they are still in high school. By university, they'll be ahead of the curve, and by the time they reach the job market, they'll have a competitive advantage, a vision, and no ceiling on where they can go, and what they can accomplish.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Win a Sony Laptop in Our Best Office Staff Party Photo Contest

Summer is here, and that means office parties, company barbecues and team building events are in full swing. In the spirit of the summer party season, Stafflink Solutions has partnered with, a serial photo contest site, to bring you the Best Office Staff Party photo contest. If you have a great picture from your latest office party or work retreat, submit it and you could win a Sony laptop!

We want to see your office in action, unwinding and relaxing. If you've got a photo of the sales and marketing teams, mingling with the IT staff of web developers, IT programmers and business analysts, submit it with a creative caption.

To enter, visit, submit your photo and get your co-workers, friends and family to vote for your picture. Get you photo submitted as soon as possible. Voting starts July 15th and closes on July 25th. On July 25th, the photos with the most votes will move into the top ten, where the final winning photo will be decided by the Lenzr judges. The winner will be chosen based on the photo quality as well as the most imaginative description provided. The contest closes August 1st, so get your photo posted soon!

We've already had a number of great submissions. Click here to check them out.