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UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Canada

UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Canada

Old Sep 5th 2021, 5:36 pm
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Default UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Canada

Hi Everyone!

Before I get started - I just wanted to say such a massive thank-you to all the expats on this board answering questions and giving their perspectives on everything Canada. Having all this knowledge collated on here is incredibly helpful and it has been a really fun afternoon reading through many of the posts.

I won’t go into my immigration status or background too much (as there’s no a lot to say), but my general status is as follows:
  • 28 years old
  • First Class BSc Hons in Computing
  • IT professional with 5+ years experience as a Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Engineer
  • Currently sat in both EE FSW (438 CSR) and IEC pools (although WHV isn’t currently running).
I’m more than aware that without a PNP, my chances of EE are basically zero, so my only real shot is the IEC WHV, which I am praying opens up either later this year or early next year. I’ve got just over a year until I’m uneligible - but there's nothing really I can do on that front. I would be looking to apply for an EE CEC if I gained 1 year of work experience and wanted to stay.

I’ve done a lot of research on the different provinces and cities in Canada, but I’m really trying to hone in on both an IT professionals point of view, combined with a fellow Brits take on living standards and the like.
  • IT experience in Canada - Is experience generally viewed as less valuable than Canadian experience? More valuable? Not really a factor? I’ve really heard different things on this on multiple different forums. I’m hoping that my most recent work experience, in the public sector, might help ease UK experience concerns, as it is a very recognisable institution.
  • The Canadian tech stack - From what research I’ve been able to do without having a dedicated contact, I understand Canada to be slightly further back than the likes of say the UK/US in terms of technological ability. Obviously you have certain geographic challenges with Canada, but overall I hear Canada is not always at the bleeding edge technology wise. Would this be a fair assumption? Obviously this is very organisation specific, but overall..
  • Demand - Obviously as someone looking to migrate (and especially someone who most likely would be coming over on an IEC) gaining employment quickly is very important. As I understand, Vancouver and Toronto are the main IT hubs in Canada. Am I correct on this and in general, how is the market for a generalist?
  • IT Skills - One of the good things about IT is that generally speaking, it’s very similar (a switch is a switch in the UK or in Africa). I can look on Linkedin/Indeed about job specifics but generally, is there anything surprising (technologically speaking) about IT in Canada? Are there any platforms, products or vendors that aren’t really used in the UK but are popular in Canada?
  • Salary - This one is quite confusing for me, as most job listings I’ve seen in Canada don’t stipulate salary. Excluding any OT arrangements, I currently make over £40k in the UK. I’ve never really been fussed about salary, other than what it enables me to do in life. I live pretty simply and enjoy the simple aspects of life, but obviously I do want security and to be able to afford a few luxuries in life (a few holidays, meals out etc). What kinds of salary do you think I should be aiming for (taking into consideration location)? I know this is a really hard question to answer, as it varies so much depending on location and job specifics, but a really rough overview or say Toronto/Vancouver would be amazing. I wouldn’t want to massively undercut myself and “knowing your value” is always important to avoid being sold short.
  • Location - I’ve never really been a massive lover of London (although I do live close and work is based in London) but I also have to balance that with where the best work opportunities are. If you were to attempt to find a balance between good work opportunities and cheaper areas of living, generally speaking where would one be looking? I have no issues with the cold or snow and I’m actually more concerned about summers. From what I’ve heard, places like Vancover have more light seasons than say your Toronto’s.
  • Quality of life / Activities - As said above, I’m not a massive fan of London. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoy a good gig/bar/restaurant and the like, but I’m a much more townesque person in general, than a massive city. From the outside, things that I imagine I would like doing most in Canada would be: Exploring national parks, snowboarding, local community based groups/meetups - overall generally a slightly more personal experience. In London you’re a Tadpole in a lake of other Tadpoles. Again thinking of balance with work/social, where should I be looking mostly if I’m not fussed about the city life?
Footnote: this is quite unlikely, but if anyone knows of anyone who is interested in offering a very light mentorship for IT professionals trying to emigrate to Canada, that would also be amazing!

Also any general advise is almost incredibly welcome and much appreciated.


I’m sure another 10 questions will pop into my head after having posted this, but a massive thank-you in advance to anyone who reads/provides any input.

Hope everyone has a great day,

domainnamesandwich
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Old Sep 5th 2021, 8:40 pm
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

Originally Posted by domainnamesandwich View Post
my only real shot is the IEC WHV, which I am praying opens up either later this year or early next year. I’ve got just over a year until I’m uneligible
If you're 28 you've got longer than that - it's 30 and under, so you've got at least another 2 years (until the day you turn 31).

Can't help with any other info as I know nothing about IT, but just thought I'd mention that…….and say welcome to the forum.

Good luck.
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Old Sep 5th 2021, 8:50 pm
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

Originally Posted by christmasoompa View Post
If you're 28 you've got longer than that - it's 30 and under, so you've got at least another 2 years (until the day you turn 31).

Can't help with any other info as I know nothing about IT, but just thought I'd mention that…….and say welcome to the forum.

Good luck.
Thank you for the welcome! Great to be here.

Oh really - are you sure it's 31?

I was led to believe the moment you turn 30 you are automatically removed from the pool. So are you saying you can apply for an IEC if you are 30?

I hope I've been missinformed on this, as having more time would be great!

Do you have any documention for this?

Many thanks in advance
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Old Sep 5th 2021, 11:42 pm
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

Originally Posted by domainnamesandwich View Post
Thank you for the welcome! Great to be here.

Oh really - are you sure it's 31?

I was led to believe the moment you turn 30 you are automatically removed from the pool. So are you saying you can apply for an IEC if you are 30?

I hope I've been missinformed on this, as having more time would be great!

Do you have any documention for this?

Many thanks in advance
Christmasoompa knows her stuff - you can trust what she says
https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/i...gory_name_cont
be between the ages of 18 and 30 (inclusive)
Which means up to the day you turn 31, you are eligible.




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Old Sep 6th 2021, 12:37 am
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

Originally Posted by domainnamesandwich View Post
IT professional with 5+ years experience as a Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Engineer
I'm a computer person in Canada. I have vast experience in hiring/placing/managing contractor relationships. Last Wednesday I became an employee of a client after many years of contracting and on Friday I made my first offer of employment on behalf of the organization. I can say definitely that the whole "Canadian experience" thing is bollocks. It's routine to hire people while they are still in their home countries. Sometimes people start work remotely, that's ok if they have paperwork for Canada. Some people were at that stage when the pandemic kicked off so I work every day with people who are in the US or in India who should have been here by now and never made it. It's not an issue.

Technology behind in Canada? Well maybe in specific sectors but most everything is in the cloud now so the supplier doesn't even know where the customer is. The software is the same across the world.

I don't know what a Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Engineer is. I can't be your pimp because I don't know what I'm selling and I'm not going to hire you because I never thought "what we need now is someone who can do Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Engineer stuff". What do you do?

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Old Sep 6th 2021, 8:54 am
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

Originally Posted by Siouxie View Post
Christmasoompa knows her stuff - you can trust what she says



Which means up to the day you turn 31, you are eligible.
Well, I am incredibly happy that I was wrong!

Thank you very much for this information.

That actually makes a big difference, knowing that I have a year more than I thought.

Really appreciate this.

Sidenote: My mistake really reminds me of an episode of 'The Thick of It'. "Up to and including..."
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Old Sep 6th 2021, 9:19 am
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
I'm a computer person in Canada. I have vast experience in hiring/placing/managing contractor relationships. Last Wednesday I became an employee of a client after many years of contracting and on Friday I made my first offer of employment on behalf of the organization. I can say definitely that the whole "Canadian experience" thing is bollocks. It's routine to hire people while they are still in their home countries. Sometimes people start work remotely, that's ok if they have paperwork for Canada. Some people were at that stage when the pandemic kicked off so I work every day with people who are in the US or in India who should have been here by now and never made it. It's not an issue.

Technology behind in Canada? Well maybe in specific sectors but most everything is in the cloud now so the supplier doesn't even know where the customer is. The software is the same across the world.

I don't know what a Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Engineer is. I can't be your pimp because I don't know what I'm selling and I'm not going to hire you because I never thought "what we need now is someone who can do Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Engineer stuff". What do you do?
I can say definitely that the whole "Canadian experience" thing is bollocks.

Yeah - There is much debate on this from what I have researched. Perhaps the truth is that it is very dependent on industry.
Technology behind in Canada? Well maybe in specific sectors but most everything is in the cloud now so the supplier doesn't even know where the customer is. The software is the same across the world.

Indeed. There are, however, vendors that operate in certain countries or continents that do not have much of a reach outside of their base. That was really more what I was getting at.
In regards to the “technology behind”.. It’s something that I had just come across a couple of times. As I mentioned, it can be a very company/industry specific question and not reflective of the industry as a whole.
I don't know what a Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Engineer is. I can't be your pimp because I don't know what I'm selling and I'm not going to hire you because I never thought "what we need now is someone who can do Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Engineer stuff". What do you do?

Haha, that’s definitely fair! I didn’t want to start rattling off too much on specific tech stacks.
Would it be okay if I messaged you the finer details?
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Old Sep 6th 2021, 10:51 am
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

Originally Posted by domainnamesandwich View Post

Haha, that’s definitely fair! I didn’t want to start rattling off too much on specific tech stacks.
Would it be okay if I messaged you the finer details?
Sure. It's a holiday here so you may not get an instant response.
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Old Sep 6th 2021, 5:44 pm
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

If by system adminstrator/infrastructure engineer you mean providing operational support to an organisation's IT systems then I did it. That meant everything from desktop support, managing mobile devices, phone system, cabling, email admin, firewalls, VPN, routers, switches, administering servers and all other tasks required to support a data center. This was before most things were on the cloud though. I could be expected to work at any time of the day. I'm not sure you would get the equivalent salary here starting out or even after a while depending on if you had some very specialised skill.
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Old Sep 6th 2021, 6:22 pm
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
Sure. It's a holiday here so you may not get an instant response.
That's really kind of you - I'll reach out at some point in the next couple of days!
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Old Sep 6th 2021, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

Originally Posted by jandro View Post
If by system adminstrator/infrastructure engineer you mean providing operational support to an organisation's IT systems then I did it. That meant everything from desktop support, managing mobile devices, phone system, cabling, email admin, firewalls, VPN, routers, switches, administering servers and all other tasks required to support a data center. This was before most things were on the cloud though. I could be expected to work at any time of the day. I'm not sure you would get the equivalent salary here starting out or even after a while depending on if you had some very specialised skill.
Thanks for the comment!

So a TLDR would be: I design, deploy and support IT infrastructure systems within organisations. These include Windows, Linux and COTS solutions. A small round-off would be:
  • VMware (anything from ESXi installation to VM creation)
  • Exchange on-prem / M365
  • DevOps - I deploy pretty much everything from code via Terraform for VMware
  • Cisco UCS Manager
  • Windows Server - Pretty much any role: AD, DNS, DHCP, ADCS, DFS, Group Policy etc.
  • RedHat 6-8 - 1st/2nd line support including IDM.
  • Server hardening to particular stands - CIS for example.
  • Cisco ASA management - VPNs, ACLs.
  • Enterprise AV solutions - Worked with Symantec.cloud and AVG.
  • Backup solutions - Worked with VEEAM/Arcserve in the past, both to tape and disk.
  • DR solutions - Using tools like Zerto to protect sites from DR scenarios.
  • Hardware/Software support for anything from Desktops to Servers.
So it sounds like a similar generalist role that you were performing, except I haven't done any end-user support for the past year. I'm more honed in now that I work for a big organisation - I used to be one of two in an IT department, in which we did everything.

This was before most things were on the cloud though
It depends what kind of shop and services are running.

Cloud in certain contexts is less viable than in others.

I could be expected to work at any time of the day
I'm permently on-call except for when I have specifically booked annual leave.

I'm not sure you would get the equivalent salary here starting out or even after a while depending on if you had some very specialised skill
Interesting. What would you say the reason for that is?

Many thanks for taking the time to respond, it's very much appreciated!

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Old Sep 7th 2021, 2:31 am
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

You have to watch using the term "Engineer".

It is a very restricted occupation in Canada, and usually used in terms of structural engineers, mechanical engineering, etc, ie, people with a Bachelor's degree (or higher) in Engineering. I don't think it is an approved term for IT.
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Old Sep 7th 2021, 7:43 am
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

Originally Posted by scilly View Post
You have to watch using the term "Engineer".

It is a very restricted occupation in Canada, and usually used in terms of structural engineers, mechanical engineering, etc, ie, people with a Bachelor's degree (or higher) in Engineering. I don't think it is an approved term for IT.
Good to know!

I do have a Bachelor's degree to be fair, but point taken. I personally wouldn't call myself an engineer, but it has been my job title and is the most reflective NOC title for what I do (NOC 2147).

Appreciate the input.
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Old Sep 7th 2021, 11:48 am
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

Originally Posted by domainnamesandwich View Post
Good to know!

I do have a Bachelor's degree to be fair, but point taken. I personally wouldn't call myself an engineer, but it has been my job title and is the most reflective NOC title for what I do (NOC 2147).

Appreciate the input.
In the trade Software Engineer is used interchangeably with Developer. I see comments on here objecting to that but that's like people objecting to rap being categorized as music.
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Old Sep 7th 2021, 12:00 pm
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Default Re: UK IT Professional seeking advice from fellow IT professionals expats in Can

Notwithstanding my recent foray into gainful employment, my background is in contracting so I don't know what permanent jobs typically pay. I would say that you are a sysadmin, Wintel or Unix, and, in the GTA, could expect to be quickly placed on a contract at fifty bucks to you. There's lots more money out there but you need a job straight away. A contract makes sense because:

- you don't want a bad career move on you CV, contracts don't count so you can take any work that comes along
- you have no history or reputation in Canada, clients are more relaxed about that with contractors as they're on an hour's notice

Watch out though, there's no work/life balance here. It's all work. So much so that when I took my job the person hiring went straight from "I'll give you n weeks vacation" to explaining the procedure for redeeming the unused days at the end of the year. People are expected to take vacation "at the end of the project" and there's always another project.
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