Saturday, May 15, 2010

Future of Quebec Software Engineer

Currently, new Software Engineer have an easy live. With a shortage of resources, you don't have to be good to find a job. When employers are desperately looking for people, they take what they can and don't complain too much about it (in this context, they feel lucky). As an example, ETS Software engineer students can choose between 17 intern offers. Will the situation change in the future?
  1. For a long time, Canadian dollar was low which makes Quebec and Canadian Software engineer pretty cheap, unfortunately it is changing and it is already not true anymore. They are starting to be expensive. Many software jobs in Québec are related to US company having an office in Canada and many others rely on US clients.
  2. Easy tax credit for experimental development and scientific research will be harder to get since Canadian governmental is back to deficit and Quebec is facing aging population and reduced number of tax payers. For more info, check this post.
  3. Outsourcing, a cheaper and more accessible alternative. As a example, when more Indians will be able to speak comprehensible English, they will become a real danger. Many companies start using cheap remote resource or use outsourcing service like rentacoder to lower down their cost.
  4. Due to globalization and near US market, many companies will prefer perfectly fluent English average engineer as oppose to great engineer with lack of English skills.
  5. Due to globalization and near US market, many companies will promote perfectly fluent English average engineer as oppose to great engineer with lack of English skills.
Unlike Doctors with powerful Professional College, software engineer don't have reserved acts that reduce competition and provide job security, they don't have the luxury to not be competitive.

What should future Francophone engineer need to success and be more competitive in this changing landscape?
  • They need to be fully bilingual (btw, many company don't consider Francophone university because they know that most of their software engineers aren't bilingual)
  • They need management skills. Ability to manage technical people is rare and critical to the success of projects, company are more aware of it and are desperately looking for it. Increase success rate of project is critical.
  • They need leader and decision maker, not only a work force.
  • They need writing and communication skills. Technical people who neglect this will pay the price in the long run. Without those skills, it is hard to evolve in the upper level of a company.
  • They need conflict, negotiation skills. Engineers forget that their job is on average 20% technical and 80% HR related. Resolving human related problems is important part of software engineer work.
But the most important is that companies need decision makers who see the big picture, not only throw-able/easy replaceable work force.
Outsourcing is out the door and software engineer have to better understand the idea of comparative advantages because their cheaper advantage is getting away.
Too expensive non perfectly bilingual engineers with lack of management and communication skills jobs will face increase outsourcing pressure.

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