Is Vancouver Good for Software Engineers?

Do you know those websites that we all love? Facebook, Instagram, maybe your favorite recipe blog, a computer game, Wikipedia… The list can go on and on. Well, it’s thanks to people who work as software engineers that we have all of these amazing, user-friendly websites and apps. 

Software engineers are the masterminds behind developing all kinds of things, including operating systems, computer games, apps, websites, or network control systems. 

Vancouver is a great city for software engineers. This beautiful city offers lots of opportunities for an engineer. Whether you are looking to start your own business or join a company, there are many options in this tech-savvy city. There’s access to great public transportation, beautiful landscape and a lot of things to do in the city.

Software engineering is a highly skilled profession and is in demand. Consequently, it is a high-paying job. In fact, the average salary for a software engineer in Canada is $76,887 annually, well above the 2020 national annual average salary of $54,630.

So it looks like software engineering is a good profession in Canada as a whole, but how about the city of Vancouver? Vancouver is a desirable city with a high cost of living, so to be a software engineer in the city, you would need to be earning enough money to cover your living expenses. There also needs to be enough jobs so that you can easily get hired.

Overall, Vancouver is a good city for software engineers. To determine this, we have to look further in-depth into four factors: education opportunities to become a software engineer, job opportunities in the field in Vancouver, earning potential and the cost of living in the city, and possible networking opportunities.

Education Opportunities

Before even thinking about getting into the software engineering industry in Vancouver or elsewhere, you need to develop the right skills and knowledge. Software engineering is a highly-skilled career and needs a higher education degree. While it is possible to study coding or web development independently and get a job, a recent study shows that 75% of people currently in the field have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. 

Therefore, seeking out a formal education is likely to be the best route to the highest paying jobs. Luckily, there are a number of excellent programs in Vancouver that offer certificate and degree programs in computer engineering. 

The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University are both world-class universities that offer undergraduate and graduate-level programs in software engineering, also referred to as applied or computer sciences. 

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) is another popular institution that offers a certificate in applied software development. Though it is not a Bachelor’s degree, BCIT is very market-focused and offers excellent networking opportunities to find full-time work once graduating. Completing a formal education is the first step in a software engineer’s career and offers not only education and skills, but a chance to connect with industry professionals through networking and internships.

Job Opportunities

The software engineering industry in Vancouver is growing, and so it is an excellent place to look for a job in this field. The BC Labour Market Outlook study indicates that there is a forecasted growth rate of 1.2% over the next five years and 2.2% growth over the following five years. This translates to a total of 4,500 new jobs being added in the next ten years. 

While this information is for the whole province of BC, Vancouver is the largest city in the province, with a high concentration of technology and other companies. The forecast for the Lower Mainland region is expected to be 1.7% growth in the field over the next 10 years. 

As a large metropolitan city, Vancouver is home to a number of large company headquarters and regional offices. That means that software engineers who are looking to work for large, prestigious companies like Microsoft or Amazon would be able to find a job in their field in Vancouver, rather than moving to the United States or abroad.

Earning Potential

Earning potential for software engineers living in Vancouver is very good. The average salary is actually higher than the national average at $79,681 annually, as a base salary. The lowest end of the range is $56,000 and the highest end is $108,000. This is excellent considering that the overall average salary for all professions in Vancouver is just $64,000.

Many software engineers will level up their skills, and therefore their salaries, by getting a Master’s degree. It is also possible to earn additional income as a software engineer by using the skills towards a side hustle (i.e. a way to make money outside of your regular job). Because it’s a highly skilled profession, people will pay good money to utilize those skills!

Vancouver is known to be an expensive city – the most expensive in Canada and ranking high internationally as well. Therefore, to be able to live in the city, you do need to earn a decent living. According to this calculator, you need to earn a living of $71,772/year to live in Kitsilano, which is an expensive part of town. Therefore, most software engineers can sustain a comfortable lifestyle in Vancouver on their salary. 

Networking for Software Engineers

While it may not be important to everyone, some people really enjoy being able to connect with other professionals in their industry through networking and industry-specific events. Vancouver is a large city, so it does offer some good options for networking and socializing within the software engineering community. 

One new membership group is Devhub, which operates in Vancouver and Toronto and seeks to connect people in development, including software engineering, through events, mentorship, and community spaces. 

Another networking opportunity is with VanDev, a group of 7,375 members who organize a variety of events with the purpose of connecting on a social and professional level. They organize meetup groups that focus on roundtable discussions about the latest software developments, practices, and technologies.

Conclusion

Software engineering is a highly skilled profession that consists of coding, application and website development, network control management, and so many other things. Basically, any kind of technology or internet-based platform requires a software engineer! They are analytical problem-solvers who like to innovate and develop new ideas and products. 

When thinking about big technology cities that would be good for software engineers, you might think of somewhere like San Fransisco and Silicon Valley. However, Vancouver, British Columbia is also a very good city for software engineers. There are great educational opportunities to learn the skills, lots of job opportunities, great earning potential, and professional networking opportunities. 

If you are a professional software engineer or considering becoming one, make sure that Vancouver is on your list of cities to check out!

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Thais R

I moved to Canada in 2016. This was the best decision that I ever made. I created this website to share what I’ve learned with anyone who’s thinking of moving or travelling to Canada.

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