What are the highest-paying IT jobs in Canada?

Julia Hornstein
Published: January 19, 2024

Canada's information technology (IT) sector is rapidly growing within the global landscape. Renowned for its innovation and skilled workforce, the Canadian tech industry has emerged as a key player in various domains, including artificial intelligence, software development, telecommunications, and clean technology.

Cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal have become epicenters for tech innovation, with a multitude of start-ups, research institutions, and multinational corporations. Notably, Canada has gained international recognition for its expertise in artificial intelligence, with research centers and companies contributing significantly to advancements in machine learning and deep learning.

For newcomers seeking opportunities in Canada's tech and IT sector, there is potential for a fulfilling and lucrative career. Canada has a wide variety of IT job opportunities and the demand for foreign skilled professionals in the tech sector is on the rise.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) holds category-based selection draws for Express Entry candidates. IRCC focuses on Express Entry candidates who have a strong French language proficiency or work experience in the following fields:

    • Healthcare
    • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
    • Trades, such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors
    • Transport
    • Agriculture and agri-food

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IRCC plans to put considerably more emphasis on recruiting STEM professions. In particular, between 28 per cent and 31 per cent of invitations that are issued through Express Entry are expected to go to people with recent experience in certain STEM jobs, such as software developers and data scientists.

In addition, software engineers ranked among the top five occupations to be given an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Randstad, a leading multinational recruitment agency, recently published an article titled 'IT roles that pay $100k a year or more', highlighting well-paid career paths in Canada's tech sector.

According to the report, the average IT role in Canada pays around $87,300 per year, with the top 10% of IT roles enjoying salaries averaging around $123,250 annually.

What follows is a look into the higher paying IT positions that usually pay over $100,000 annually.

Cloud Architect

Cloud architects have recently become the primary experts in cloud infrastructure, tasked with the design, planning, and establishment of a dependable cloud computing environment.

The role demands technical proficiency and an understanding of the interaction and collaboration of diverse technologies to deploy solutions effectively. In Canada, cloud architects can earn annual salaries ranging from $106,000 to $140,000, and these roles often include supplementary benefits such as bonuses and various forms of compensation.

IT Manager

IT managers are responsible for supervising teams or divisions of technical professionals, which may include information systems, networking, or help desk specialists. Effective team management necessitates strong communication and leadership skills.

Compensation for IT managers varies based on factors such as the team's specialization, size, and the organization they work for. In general, larger enterprises provide greater earning potential, with certain roles offering annual salaries exceeding $100,000.

Data Scientists & Data Architects

Data scientists can also be referred to as data analysts, depending on their role and the organization they work for. These IT professionals collect, manage, and analyse extensive sets of both structured and unstructured data. Their responsibilities usually include determining the relevance of data for specific queries or tasks, developing methods for storing and utilizing large datasets, identifying trends or patterns that can inform technological or business processes, and employing visual tools like charts and graphs to share essential information with stakeholders.

For data scientists with over five years of experience and a bachelor's degree, there is a high likelihood of annual salaries of $100,000 or more.

Linux/Unix Administrator

IT professionals specializing in Linux/Unix administration are currently in high demand, given that numerous organizations depend on this platform for their day-to-day operations. These professionals are responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining operating system parameters and settings and monitoring system performance.

In Canada, Unix/Linux administrators in IT roles can earn annual salaries ranging from $90,000 to $120,000. The increasing popularity of Linux suggests that these IT roles will become even more prevalent in the years to come, making them a good career option to pursue.

PMO Lead

A Project Management Office (PMO) Lead plays an important role within an organization, tasked with overseeing and enhancing project management processes and practices. This position involves providing leadership and guidance to project managers and teams, ensuring the efficient execution of projects in alignment with the organization's strategic goals.

PMO Leads collaborate closely with senior management, contributing significantly to project portfolio management, resource allocation, risk assessment, and reporting. Typically, they possess extensive experience in project management and may hold relevant certifications like PMP (Project Management Professional).

Compensation for PMO Leads is highly competitive, often starting at salaries exceeding $120,000 per year. Experienced PMO Leads with a proven track record may have annual incomes of $200,000 or more.

Project Manager (Infrastructure)

Infrastructure project managers oversee construction and development projects, ensuring they are completed on time, adhere to budget constraints, and comply with safety and legal standards. Responsible for the planning, execution, and successful conclusion of infrastructure projects, they manage diverse elements such as roads, bridges, buildings, utilities, and other essential components to a community's infrastructure.

Compensation for infrastructure project managers depends on factors like project size, location, and the manager's level of experience. However, it is customary for these professionals to receive competitive salaries, often starting at or exceeding $100,000 per year. For those with experience, annual incomes of $190,000 or more are achievable.

Project Manager (Software)

Software Project Managers are tasked with the planning, execution, and supervision of software development projects. The role requires collaborating closely with other teams, which include software engineers, designers, quality assurance professionals, and stakeholders. The managers also ensure the timely delivery of software projects within budget and making sure they meet specified functionality and quality standards.

Compensation for software project managers can vary significantly, influenced by factors such as industry, location, and level of experience. Given the heightened demand for qualified project managers in the technology sector, initial salaries often exceed $100,000 annually. With substantial experience and expertise, software project managers have the potential to earn annual incomes well in excess of $170,000.

Qualifications and skills needed for IT roles

High-paying IT roles typically demand a combination of education, experience, and certifications, however specific requirements can vary based on the role and the industry.

A bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field is often a minimum requirement. Some roles, especially in leadership positions, may require a master's degree.

In addition, relevant work experience is crucial. Many high-paying IT roles require several years of experience in a related position. It can be very valuable if you can show success in managing projects, leading teams, or implementing complex systems. It is important to have the knowledge and familiarity with the specific technologies or platforms that are relevant to the job.

There are some industry-recognized certifications that can significantly enhance your ability to secure a job. Examples include:

      • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): Focused on cybersecurity.
      • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP): Important for network professionals.
      • AWS Certified Solutions Architect, Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert, or Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect: Essential for cloud architects.

Where to find IT jobs in Canada

In Canada, a multitude of platforms and resources cater to individuals seeking IT jobs. Online job portals such as Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor are popular choices, which provide a wide range of IT positions posted by companies across the country. Specialized IT job boards like Dice Canada and Workopolis also provide tailored opportunities for tech professionals.

Networking plays a pivotal role in the Canadian job market, and platforms like Meetup and professional organizations such as the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) facilitate connections with industry peers and potential employers.

Additionally, career fairs, both virtual and in-person, offer valuable opportunities to interact directly with hiring managers and recruiters. You may explore the career pages of major tech companies in cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, as these major Canadian cities serve as hubs for the IT industry in Canada.

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