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Becoming an IT Professional in Canada

Friday | November 30, 2018 | by Karolin Givergis

An IT professional at work

One of the functions of information technology (IT) professionals is to manage the network servers of a company. Because nearly all businesses have network servers, the IT field touches on virtually every part of today’s economy. With their specialized education, skills, and training, IT professionals are in high demand. They would also do well to join a professional IT society, like Canada’s Association of Information Technology Professionals (CIPS) or the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC).

CIPS has been representing thousands of members since 1958. According to its website, the organization has established standards and shared “best practices for the benefit of individual IT professionals and the sector as a whole.” Its mentorship program aims at supporting both new professionals after they graduate from a CIPS-accredited program and immigrants who have an IT background. It also shares the practical experiences of successful IT professionals across Canada, highlighting the practices, pathways, and decisions that enabled their success. In addition, the CIPS community supports its members’ acquisition of soft skills—which are necessary to succeed in this field.

Besides certification, CIPS offers networking opportunities and accreditation of an IT post-secondary program. Be sure to check out its job board.

CIPS offers three professional IT designations:

  • Associate Information Technology Professional (AITP): AITP is considered a pre-professional designation. It’s for those who have recently graduated from an IT program at a university or college, but don’t yet have the required experience for the I.S.P. designation (see below).
  • Information Systems Professional (I.S.P.): This is Canada’s only IT designation that is recognized by law. It verifies an IT professional’s knowledge and technical background. I.S.P. standing has existed in Canada since 1989. It is legislated as a self-regulating designation in six provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia). Other provinces are working toward introducing similar legislation.
  • Information Technology Certified Professional (ITCP): In 2008, CIPS introduced the ITCP certification, which is for senior IT practitioners and academics who want to demonstrate to their employer, clients, students, and partners that, in addition to possessing IT knowledge, they understand how to effectively apply their experience to achieving organizational excellence.

About the ICTC

Besides familiarizing yourself with CIPS, as an IT professional, you may want to learn about the ICTC, a not-for-profit national centre that consists of a network of industry associations, educational institutions, and policymakers who represent the digital economy in Canada. It is an independent, neutral policy adviser to Canada’s business and government sectors. A leader in technology and labour market research, ICTC specializes in building programs and solutions for the digital economy.

To increase your chances of employment, at the interview stage, make sure you inform the employer about ICTC’s Ontario CareerConnect program. An employer may be eligible to receive a 50 percent wage subsidy for a candidate for up to 26 weeks.

ICTC’s GO Talent program helps internationally educated professionals who are “immigrating to Canada as permanent residents find employment in the IT sector before they arrive,” according to the ICTC website. Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), GO Talent provides professionals who have registered in the program with access to important labour market information, “as well as [the GO Talent] job portal platform that provides access to résumé and cover letter review; … job opportunities listed by [GO Talent] employer partners; … [and] information technology processional (ITP) certification, which validates skills, work experience, and education.” Find out more at the ICTC website under GO Talent.

Related articles:

Top 10 In-Demand Technology Careers

Mastering Soft Skills in the Workplace

Silicon Valley North: the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor

Tools to Help You Understand the Canadian Labour Market

Karolin Givergis

Karolin Givergis is Manager, Client Relations at World Education Services.