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Canada’s top 10 highest-paying tech jobs a challenge to fill

An employee works at the Indian headquarters of iGate in Bangalore February 4, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

Gaming and animation may still be the sexiest jobs in the tech sector, but it’s the fast-moving world of big data and business intelligence that will earn you the best money, according to the 2014 Technology Salary Report.

The report is published annually by the Toronto-based recruitment firm Lannick Technology and gives us a glimpse of the country’s hottest jobs, based on changes in year-over-year pay.

Increased competition for in-demand jobs is expected to drive up salaries across much of the sector, with those employed in junior and intermediate positions, as well as roles at the technical staff level, benefiting from some of the most dramatic pay hikes.

An experienced mobile application developer can expect to earn, on average, $87,750 this year, up 9 per cent over 2013.

The average salary for a social media and marketing coordinator is expected to rise 2 per cent to $58,890, while .NET, database and IT security analyst positions will all see increases ranging from two to 10 per cent.

Among more senior roles, app development managers can anticipate the most dramatic lift, up 14 per cent to $105,000. App development directors, however, may see a modest dip in pay of 2 per cent to $128,000.

Canada's skills gap continues to challenge employers

A nation-wide skills shortage is driving much of the expected salary increases.

Igor Abramovitch, director at Lannick Technology, said certain skills continue to be more difficult to find in Canada, including candidates with proven experience in complex enterprise projects involving big data, mobile, business intelligence and ERP.

Abramovitch said many companies are doing what they can to fill to the skills gap by training existing members of their workforce.

"Likewise, IT professionals must develop their technical and soft skills to keep up with the progress of the industry, and meet the needs of their employers and the demands of the corporate user,” he said.

At the British Columbia Institute of Technology, there's no shortage of students eager to claim a spot in courses tailored to feed into the hottest job areas, including application development, database analysis and business analysis.

Steve Eccles, dean of BCIT computing, said there are about three applications for every seat available in the key diploma courses.

The school's part-time programs are similarly popular, drawing particular interest from people who are already in the workforce and looking to upgrade their skills to better match current job-market demand.

Eccles said the IT sector has changed dramatically in recent years. Before, graduates left school to find work in the dedicated high-tech companies. Now, everyone, from oil and gas companies to the big banks, is looking for specialists with the right skills to manage their business systems and data collection.

“We are seeing a big demand,” he said.

But an upgrade in education and training can pose new challenges with retention.

David Gadd, owner of Calgary-based Proxime Recruitment Solutions, a company that specializes in SAP recruitment, said many organizations have the manpower to fill vacant tech positions, but are reluctant to invest in staff training.

They are aware an employee with the right skills and experience, “can walk across the road and get a higher-based salary,” Gadd said.

Instead, employers are scrambling to take on previously experienced people.

“The problem with that is, everyone is trying to fight for the same skills pool,” he said.

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