O Canadian Developers

I love Canada. Now, I know that there has been some issues of late with US-Canadian relations and it is a little awkward right now, but all in all, it is a great time to be Canadian.

O Canada! Our home and native code base!

Specifically, it is great to be a Canadian developer. The startup scene has expanded rapidly as several tech hubs have emerged. Most of the attention is focused on Toronto and KW, but Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton, Labrador & Newfoundland are all coming up strong. And of course Ottawa, home of Canadian unicorn and e-commerce powerhouse Shopify. There are certainly going to be more Canadian unicorns to come!

Curious about what the entire Canadian startup community looks like? There is a website for that, kind of like the Crunchbase of Canada. Oh, and I should probably use the proper term for Canadian unicorns, as in narwhals. While few true Narwhals have emerged, there is a healthy list of tech startups that are poised for a huge breakout.

The other big trend taking root in Canada is AI. It was only a little more than a year ago that Element AI made a huge splash with a $102 million Series A round to provide AI as a service for companies that do not have access to AI capabilities and know-how.

Why is this important? Because the big tech companies like IBM, Google, and others are owning so much of the AI research and intellectual capital. Canada is certainly benefiting from that growth however with Google Brain opening up offices in Montreal and Toronto and their DeepMind group launching an AI research center in Edmonton.

Much of this activity has not gone unnoticed by the large enterprises. They are starting to recognize the importance of technology in delivering better customer experiences to stay competitive. The “Big 5” banks are all engaged in digital transformation initiatives (with varying success) and are dipping their toes into AI, fintech and blockchain.

Of course, to drive all of this innovation you need developers. Using results of Stack Overflow’s annual developer survey and site traffic on Stack Overflow, we can positively state that Canada has a wealth of talent within her borders. Some key findings from the Canadian survey:

  • Canada is the fifth most represented country in terms of developer talent globally and Toronto ranks 13th among all cities in terms of the number of developers.
  • Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are home to 62 percent of Canada’s developers.
  • While 40 percent of Canadians are in tech, the majority work in finance, media and healthcare.
  • Developers command a median salary of C$70,000, a much higher salary than the rest of the Canadian labour market
  • Less than 10 percent of Canadian developers are female, but the ratio of male to female developers decreased from 17-to-1 in the 2015 to 10-to-1 in the 2017.
  • About 9 percent of Canadian developers are independent contractors or freelancers.
Based on the Stack Overflow Developer Survey

The market for talented developers is heating up with more demand from startups and enterprises. This gives developers greater choice and more bargaining power, focusing on the places that will give them the best career options, job flexibility and professional growth.

Curious to know more about these numbers? There are more insights in a report that Stack Overflow collaborated on with the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University. I am also often in Canada and would be glad to share insights into attracting top developer talent and increasing developer productivity in your organization.

What a tourist…

Thanks again for reading and look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks!

Can Canadian money (change) be used in the United States?


I do have a lot of change with all these trips to Toronto…

We help IT leaders in enterprises solve the cultural challenges involved in digital transformation and move towards a community based culture that delivers innovation and customer value faster. Learn more about our work here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s